Blog

Bipartisan Members of Congress urge Illinois state legislators not to pass anti-conscience bill that violates federal law

By Americans United for Life
Friday, April 24th, 2015

A bill that would force pro-life health care providers in Illinois to promote and participate in abortion, SB 1564, passed the Senate and now moves to the House. Plainly bad policy, the bill would also violate federal law. A bipartisan letter from Members of the federal Illinois delegation urges state legislators to immediately cease consideration of SB 1564.

If the bill becomes law, pro-life doctors and pregnancy centers in Illinois, which exist solely to provide alternatives to abortion, would be forced to distribute information on where to obtain abortions.

The unnecessary and coercive policy could cost Illinois its federal funding.

The Members of Congress explain that the Illinois Senate-passed bill does more than problematically “gut the conscience protections currently enshrined in [Illinois law].” The bill would “stand in stark contrast to the requirements of superseding federal law, including the Church Amendment, the Coats-Snowe Amendment, and the annual Hyde-Weldon Amendment.”

Violating these longstanding federal laws would come with a heavy price tag for the people of Illinois. The Members of Congress write that “such legislation could seriously imperil funds for healthcare programs, including reimbursements under Medicare and Medicaid.”

SB 1564 is bad for everyone in Illinois.

AUL To Testify in Colorado to Protect the Rights of Unborn Victims of Violence

By Americans United for Life
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

MEDIA ADVISORY: AUL General Counsel Ovide Lamontagne to testify in support of Colorado SB 268, the “Offenses Against Unborn Children Act,” before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Room 352, in the State Capitol Building, Denver, Colorado.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-22-15) – “When Longmont, CO young mother-to-be Michelle Wilkins was brutally attacked and her 7-months-old unborn baby viciously cut from her body, you would think that the attack against both mother AND child would be fully prosecuted,” said Americans United for Life General Counsel Ovide Lamontagne, speaking in Colorado. “But while Ms. Wilkins’s attacker faces multiple charges, murder of Aurora, her unborn child, is not one of them because Aurora was not first born alive as required under current Colorado law. Based on AUL model legislation, SB 268, the ‘Offenses Against Unborn Children Act’ is necessary to provide legal redress for violence committed against an unborn child and close an inhumane loophole in Colorado’s existing criminal law.”

Currently in Colorado, an offender may not be held criminally responsible for the harm caused to an unborn child unless that child has first been born alive, meaning that an unborn child is completely denied protection under current provisions of the State’s criminal law, and the true loss experienced by grieving parents is ignored. Colorado SB 268 provides that unborn children, at every stage of gestation, are protected by Colorado laws prohibiting murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, vehicular homicide, assault, and vehicular assault. The law will not impact acts of abortion, which remain legal under Roe v. Wade.

“Colorado is out of step with most states where the loss of unborn life caused by a criminal act is prosecuted,” noted Lamontagne. 38 states now provide varying degrees of protection and justice for unborn children who are victims of violence, and 29 states provide protection for unborn children at any stage of gestation.

Such laws also address the sad reality that domestic violence often increases during pregnancy. It is estimated that 1 in 5 women will be abused during pregnancy. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, for example, in the State of Maryland, a pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of a homicide than to die of any other cause.

Click here to read Lamontagne’s complete testimony.

Alliance Defending Freedom Stands Up for Pregnancy Care Centers in Illinois

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Illinois is currently debating a bill, SB 1564, amending the state Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which would roll back conscience protections in the state for Pregnancy Care Centers and other healthcare facilities and professionals.

If passed, this bill would force pregnancy care centers to violate their conscience and go against their mission by requiring them to refer, provide, or transfer for abortions and other services.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel, Matthew Bowman, has written and circulated a letter supporting Pregnancy Care Centers and the work and service they provide women. He writes, “By violating the pro-life principles of pro-life physicians and medical organizations, the Amendment would deprive Illinois women of their choice of a medical provider that does not refer or arrange for abortions in any way.”

He goes on to say, “Pro-life pregnancy centers offer real help and hope to women and families who are experiencing a pregnancy and wish to make a choice other than abortion. They are non-profit organizations that provide their services for free to thousands of people in Illinois, saving taxpayers many thousands of dollars. Many pro-life pregnancy centers, including those among the undersigned, are actually medical facilities and/or they operate under the official supervision of a licensed physician. These centers offer free medical services in conjunction with their prolife information and assistance. Consequently when the Amendment requires medical facilities and physicians to refer or provide information for abortion, it forces them to engage in speech that directly contradicts their non-profit mission. This deprives thousands of women and family members of free medical and other services to make a choice that values life.”

Not only does this bill violate and erode conscience protections for pro-life doctors and Pregnancy Care Centers, it also violates longstanding federal law, the “Coats-Snowe” amendment, 42 U.S.C. 238n (Public Health Service Act Section 245) and could jeopardize federal funding Illinois receives from Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.

The government should not force individuals to violate their deeply held moral convictions. Pregnancy Care Centers provide a great service to women and unborn children and they should be allowed to keep serving women and not be forced to violate their conscience in order to continue to serve.

Click here to read the letter supporting the work of Pregnancy Care Centers.

AUL Says Wrangling Over Human Trafficking Bill Illustrates Why the Hyde Amendment Must be Made Permanent

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-21-15) – As news of a compromise in the U.S. Senate broke, which will allow a vital bill designed to assist victims of human trafficking to proceed, Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest observed that wrangling over limited abortion funding through the Hyde Amendment should come to an end.

Dr. Yoest made the following statement: “It is past time to make the Hyde Amendment permanent. The agreement made to advance the bill is important for taxpayers because the Hyde Amendment will be applied to funds to assist victims. This will ensure that women who are victims of sexual trafficking get the help and healthcare services they need to recover and rehabilitate their lives, and that taxpayers are not forced to pay for abortions, which harm women and further victimize women oppressed by sex traffickers.

“Still, the need for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act has been illustrated by the delay in passing vital protections for women, men and children in a human trafficking bill. Making the Hyde Amendment permanent would end the practice of using a confusing patchwork of laws, many of which are temporary, to restrict taxpayer funding for abortion.”

AUL’s legal team has a long history of successfully defending the Hyde Amendment, protecting taxpayers from forced funding of abortion. In 1980, Americans United for Life won a historic victory for pro-life America when we successfully defended the Hyde Amendment in Harris v. McRae before the U.S. Supreme Court. AUL attorney Victor Rosenblum argued the case before the Court, resulting in a favorable decision and ending a four-year court battle. This important court decision upheld federal and state prohibitions on public funding of abortion except in the case of the life of the mother.

Click here to learn more about how the abortion lobby blocked aid to victims of sexual trafficking through their lobby efforts.

Click here to learn more about how the Hyde Amendment works, along with the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.

AUL-Based Bill Becomes North Dakota Law, Providing Enhanced Penalties for Those Exploiting Women and Girls Trapped in Human Trafficking

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

“Sex trafficking is modern day slavery,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “We must protect the women and girls victimized by those profiting from their misery.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-21-15) – “Human trafficking is a modern day horror that demands a coordinated and compassionate response. With the passage of enhanced penalties for those criminals who force the women and girls in their control to have abortions, North Dakota lawmakers are effectively addressing another tool criminals use to victimize the powerless,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. North Dakota SB 2275 is the 6th bill to become law during this legislative session, based partially on AUL model legislation found in Defending Life.

“Sex trafficking is modern day slavery. We must protect the women and girls victimized by those profiting from their misery. This law, which provided additional penalties for human traffickers, represents a true, bipartisan effort,” noted Dr. Yoest, “And AUL offers special thanks to the leadership of Rep. Dan Ruby, Sen. Lonnie Laffen, Sen. Randall Burckhard, Senator Joe Miller, Senator Oley Larsen, and Senator Larry Luick.” Before Governor Jack Dalrymple signed the law, it was passed unanimously by the North Dakota House and passed the Senate by 46 to 1.

During the debate over the bill, the prevalence of forced abortion among women and girls trapped in human trafficking was documented by the North Dakota Catholic Conference in a letter sent to lawmakers. This new law will provide enhanced penalties for individuals who are engaged in human trafficking and force or coerce their victims to have an abortion. If a trafficker were found guilty of coercing a victim to have an abortion, this law would add an additional prison sentence (up to 5 years) for that crime in addition to the other sex trafficking offenses they face.

Abortion harms women,” noted Dr. Yoest. “The time is now for our society to address the cruelty and evils of human trafficking, and to confront those who victimize women with forced abortions because they want to profit from their servitude.”

Care Net and Americans United for Life Applaud Passage of Colorado Resolution Honoring Pregnancy Centers

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-21-15) – Care Net and Americans United for Life joined the Colorado State Legislature today in praising the work of pregnancy care centers in a special resolution recognizing the work of volunteers across the state.

Pro-life advocates and legislators honored the service and loving support of volunteers who daily care for mothers, fathers, and their children, born and unborn, assisting them at a pivotal moment. Senators Kevin Lundberg and Larry Crowder sponsored the resolution with the support of the CFA Foundation and Colorado Family Action.

The resolution recognizes the “life-affirming impact of pregnancy resource centers on the women, children, and men and communities they serve” and the “integrity and compassion” with which they provide those services.

“Pregnancy centers are often the only place in a community that women and men can count on for comprehensive support when faced with a pregnancy decision,” said Roland C. Warren, president and CEO of Care Net. “Pregnancy centers don’t just help women and men choose life, but also give them the material, emotional, and spiritual support they need to give abundant life to their children and families. Therefore, we wholeheartedly join the Colorado State Legislature in praising the courageous work of pregnancy centers in Colorado and across the country.”

“Building a culture of life takes place on many fronts, as caring people show that working for a day in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law begins with helping mothers during their pregnancies,” said AUL’s General Counsel Ovide Lamontagne who was present in Colorado at today’s passage of the resolution. “Pregnancy Care Centers are a powerful force within the pro-life community, providing love and support for women and their families.”

The resolution is based on the “Joint Resolution Honoring Pregnancy Centers,” available in AUL’s 2015 Model Legislation & Policy Guides. Dozens of states have passed similar resolutions in recent years praising the work of pregnancy centers, which are also known as crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers.

Pregnancy Centers are local, nonprofit organizations that provide compassionate support to women and men faced with difficult pregnancy decisions. Services provided by centers may include pregnancy decision coaching by trained advocates, free pregnancy tests, information about pregnancy options, material resources, and post-decision support (including parenting education and abortion recovery groups).

Founded in 1975, Care Net supports one of the largest networks of pregnancy centers in North America and runs the nation’s only real-time call center providing pregnancy decision coaching. Acknowledging that every human life begins at conception and is worthy of protection, Care Net offers compassion, hope, and help to anyone considering abortion by presenting them with realistic alternatives and Christ-centered support through its life-affirming network of pregnancy centers, organizations, and individuals. Learn more at www.care-net.org.

CONTACT:
Care Net
– Vincent DiCaro, vdicaro@care-net.org
Americans United for Life – Kristi Hamrick, press@aul.org

Ground-Breaking Arkansas Informed Consent Law, Based on AUL’s Model, Trusts Women to Decide if They Want to Choose Life

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Ground-Breaking Arkansas Informed Consent Law, Based on AUL’s Model, Trusts Women to Decide if They Want to Choose Life

“Already more than 80 babies have been born, following the chemical abortion reversal process,” said AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “No medical reason exists to deny mothers the opportunity to choose life by sharing with them all their options.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-7-15) — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s signing of HB 1578, “The Women’s Right to Know Regarding Abortion” Act, made his state the second to expand Informed Consent requirements to include information that chemical abortion may be reversed, if a woman acts in time. Based on model legislation from Americans United for Life, Arkansas joins 31 other states in trusting women with more complete medical information about abortion and becomes the second state to include information on the impact of life-ending drugs on a woman’s body.

“Already more than 80 babies have been born, following the chemical abortion reversal process,” said AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “No medical reason exists to deny mothers the opportunity to choose life by sharing with them all their options.”

“A ‘choice’ is not truly a ‘choice’ unless informed,” continued Dr. Yoest. “The political leadership of Arkansas and Arizona are trail blazers, trusting women to decide if they want to choose life for their baby. Our thanks go out to Arkansas Rep. Robin Lundstrum, the Arkansas Family Council, and other pro-family leaders who fought to give women a true choice. As life-ending drugs now end the lives of 1 in 4 unborn children, it’s clear that Big Abortion is fighting informed consent laws to protect their profit margin.”

Without a doubt, informed consent laws are constitutional, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld this vital health and safety standard. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court upheld a Pennsylvania informed consent law that required providers to give women information on the nature of the procedure; the health risks of the abortion and childbirth; the probable gestational age of the unborn child; and that printed materials are available describing the unborn child and providing information about medical assistance for childbirth, child support from the father, and agencies which provide adoption or other services.

Regarding the science of the chemical abortion reversal process, the possibility was first detailed by Dr. George Delgado in a peer-reviewed study, based upon a well-established medical procedure that is used in other areas of healthcare—specifically, methotrexate and “leucovorin rescue.”

In a chemical abortion, the drug mifepristone is used to starve the unborn child of progesterone, which is vital for development. To “reverse” the effects of the mifepristone, a pregnant woman’s body is flooded with progesterone. For more on the science of abortion reversal, click here.

To learn more about other health risks of abortion for women, click here. To learn more about AUL’s cutting edge, model legislation, click here.

Arkansas Uses AUL-Based Language to Protect Young Girls from an Abuser’s Coercion

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Arkansas Uses AUL-Based Language to Protect Young Girls from an Abuser’s Coercion

“This law puts the needs of young girls being abused before the desires of predators and abortionists who want to cover up the crime. Thanks to the efforts of pro-family and pro-life leaders in the state, criminals will not be able to easily forge a parent’s signature to cover up a crime,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-03-15) — With his signature, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison signed into law a historic measure, based on legal language from Americans United for Life, to protect young girls from manipulative, sexual abusers. Arkansas HB 1424 becomes “one of the strongest parental consent laws in the nation, designed to close loopholes that allowed sexual predators to cover their crimes by pressuring young girls to have an abortion and forging parental consent,” said AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

“This law puts the needs of young girls being abused before the desires of predators and abortionists who want to cover up the crime. Thanks to the efforts of pro-family and pro-life leaders in the state, criminals will not be able to easily forge a parent’s signature to cover up a crime,” said Dr. Yoest.

Among the strengthened parental involvement provisions, abortion providers must receive notarized consent from a legal parent or guardian before performing an abortion on a minor. This will help ensure that the correct person has consented to plans to perform an abortion on a minor, a requirement that is challenging for abortion providers to subvert. The parent or guardian must be provided an emergency number in case something goes wrong with the abortion, and the measure includes a detailed disclosure form that addresses all of the dangers posed by abortion, that must be signed by both the minor and her parent.

“In most states, parents or guardians must authorize ear piercings, and yet have been too often prevented from even knowing about a child’s abortion surgery or the deadly administration of life-ending drugs,” noted Dr. Yoest. “Given the health risks of abortion to women and girls, this effort to involve adults provides true, loving engagement.”

For more on the dangers of abortion, click here. For more on AUL’s cutting edge legislation, found in Defending Life, click here.

Arkansas Uses AUL-Based Language to Protect Taxpayers from Funding Abortion

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Arkansas Uses AUL-Based Language to Protect Taxpayers from Funding Abortion

Arkansas SB 569, based on AUL language, “will separate taxpayer funds from the coffers of abortionists, protecting taxpayers from being forced to pay directly or indirectly for abortions, and funding better medical care for women,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-03-15) — Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest commended Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison for signing into law Arkansas SB 569, based on AUL language that “will separate taxpayer funds from the coffers of abortionists, protecting taxpayers from being forced to pay directly or indirectly for abortions, and funding better medical care for women.”

“Big Abortion has moved from choice to coercion, forcing people to support their grisly industry. But Arkansas legislators, led by sponsor Sen. Gary Stubblefield with help from AUL, the Arkansas Family Council, and pro-life leaders, worked together to pass SB 569, preventing the abortion industry from building their profit margins at the expense of taxpayers,” said Dr. Yoest. “This legislation also protects the First Amendment Conscience Rights of Americans, who do not want to be entangled with an industry that harms women and destroys unborn life.”

Rather than the funds going to abortion providers, the monies will go to full service medical facilities, where women receive more complete care not offered by abortionists.

“By sending women to a full service medical center, rather than an abortion clinic, women receive actual healthcare that respects life and treats the complete person,” noted Dr. Yoest. In fact, Planned Parenthood’s internal surveys show that approximately 70% of women who visit their clinics do not follow up with referrals to other medical facilities for important health needs, and Planned Parenthood does not offer breast care or other general health services.

Dr. Yoest observed: “The data in Planned Parenthood’s recently released Annual Report shows that chemical and surgical abortions, along with profits, increased at Planned Parenthood. In fact, 94 percent of its pregnancy related ‘services’ are abortion. Meanwhile, under Cecile Richard’s leadership, the kinds of services touted in its advertising are all down, including cancer screening and prevention, breast exams/breast care, adoption referrals, and prenatal services.” To learn more about Planned Parenthood’s billion-dollar business, click here.

During the healthcare debates, a Quinnipiac University National Poll found that more than 7 out of 10 Americans agree that their taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for abortions — including both people who identify themselves as pro-choice and pro-life.

Abortion is woven into the healthcare law at multiple levels, making repeal of the law a pro-life necessity, including:

  • Failing to prohibit the use of federal tax dollars for abortion, abortion coverage, and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.
  • Pretending that the Hyde Amendment protections were enough to prohibit direct payment for abortions.
  • Permitting federally subsidized Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) to provide abortion coverage through the state insurance exchanges required in all 50 states.
  • Failing to prohibit all multi-state qualified health plans from providing coverage for abortion.
  • Including a “preventive care” mandate that is being used to force coverage of drugs and devices known to end life.
  • Failing to provide comprehensive First Amendment conscience protections for individuals, employers, and insurance companies that have religious or moral objections to abortion.

For more on the dangers of abortion, click here. For more on AUL’s cutting edge legislation, found in Defending Life, click here.

AUL’s Work to Protect Pregnant Women in the Workplace Wins Support of Supreme Court

By Americans United for Life
Wednesday, March 25th, 2015


From left: Peggy Young’s attorney Sharon Gustafson, Peggy Young, AUL General Counsel Ovide Lamontagne outside the Supreme Court following the December 3, 2014 oral argument.

“The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Young v. United Parcel Service is a victory for pregnant women who put the needs of their unborn children first in the workplace, and for all women who have asked for the same accommodations at work that other employees receive,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-25-15) – “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Young v. United Parcel Service is a victory for pregnant women who put the needs of their unborn children first in the workplace, and for all women who have asked for the same accommodations at work that other employees receive. Fair is fair,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. The case involves the federal “Pregnancy Discrimination Act,” which was designed to protect pregnant mothers at work. “Women should not suffer discrimination in the workplace and risk losing their jobs because they are having a baby. And pregnant mothers should not be treated differently and denied accommodations offered to other employees,” Dr. Yoest noted.

Peggy Young, a pregnant mother, was a driver for UPS. Though other workers received a “lighter duty” accommodation for conditions like sprained ankles, Ms. Young was denied an accommodation during her pregnancy, in violation of the federal PDA. Ms. Young lost in the two lower courts, and today the United States Supreme Court reversed their decisions in favor of Ms. Young. Ironically, during the course of the legal action, UPS changed its policy to grant “light-duty” to pregnant employees. The case drew widespread attention as pro-life advocates agreed with abortion supporters that pregnant women deserved protection in the workplace.

AUL Senior Counsel Clarke D. Forsythe was instrumental in organizing an amicus brief filed on behalf of 23 pro-life organizations in the case and served as co-counsel in the case along with AUL General Counsel Ovide M. Lamontagne. Other co-counsel on the brief are Carrie Severino (counsel of record) and Jonathan Keim of the Judicial Education Project, and Professor Thomas Berg and Professor Teresa Collett of the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

To read more on the AUL brief, click here.

“One of the unfortunate cultural consequences of the Supreme Court’s 1973 sweeping decision in Roe v. Wade was that it resulted in considerable economic and social pressure on some pregnant women to abort.  Roe’s supporters taught that abortion is a quick, easy, less-expensive choice and pushed women to ignore their desire for children. Workplaces hostile to the needs of pregnant women added to that pressure,” said Dr. Yoest. “AUL stands with women, working to ensure that their fundamental right to choose life is not only protected in law but is accommodated in the workplace.”

At the national level, a bi-partisan coalition in Congress introduced the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1977. The PDA had two primary goals: to reduce pressure on women in the workforce to have an abortion, and to protect the health of pregnant mothers and their unborn children during employment. Almost all states after Roe enacted their own version of pregnancy discrimination acts.  And, today, at least 15 states have some form of legislation prohibiting coerced abortions.

To learn more about the case, click here to read Forsythe’s op-ed on the case in USA Today.

View The Blog Archive
Blog Archives: