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What the New York Times forgot to say about abortion …

By Charmaine Yoest
Friday, August 29th, 2014

I wanted to be sure you saw that the New York Times, in a national profile piece out now for its weekend magazine, included Americans United for Life board member and prominent physician Dr. Monique Chireau in a long overdue discussion. Just how safe are chemical abortion drugs? And whom can you trust to tell you the truth? 

mcReporter Emily Bazelon wrote: “Monique Chireau, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Duke University School of Medicine and a board member of Americans United for Life, says the number of women who die or suffer serious complications from abortions may be higher than reported. ‘The truth is we have no idea what the rates of morbidity and mortality for abortions are in the United States, because the data system is flawed,’ she told me. Some states don’t accurately report, she said, and the numbers may not be dependable, because women who go to the doctor or emergency room with complications may be reluctant to say that they’ve had a medical abortion. ‘Despite all we may hear about abortion being a benign procedure, it’s really not,’ Chireau said of the pills.” 

Abortion harms women. In fact, abortion – including chemical abortion from life-ending drugs – should come with a warning label. Chemical abortions have resulted in deaths when women’s bodies became wracked with deadly infection. And women taking life-ending drugs are admitted to hospitals at a higher rate than women experiencing surgical abortion. 

Of course, the New York Times concluded otherwise. Looking the other way and disregarding the evidence, they breezily concluded that abortion is safe. 

That’s why our work is so essential. To learn about abortion, women can’t look to the abortion industry or its political allies. You can’t trust what they say about the harms women experience. 

Abortion data in the United States is VOLUNTARILY reported by abortionists  and some states don’t report at all

In contrast to most important health indicators – births, deaths, cancer, HIV, STDs, etc. – there is no national reporting law requiring that abortions or their complications be reported to national health officials or agencies. Our model legislation has been designed to address this void. And to require women and girls be given all the information available before having an abortion or taking a life-ending drug.

Thank you for helping us hold the abortion industry accountable for their egregious abuse of women, girls and the unborn. Your support enables us to help pass legislation that will force open their closed books, revealing the truth about how abortion harms women in the United States.

AUL Notes “New” HHS Rules for Obamacare Fall Short in Protecting ALL Americans’ Conscience Rights

By Americans United for Life
Friday, August 22nd, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. (08-22-14) – Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest said that the “new” HHS mandate announced today continues to violate American conscience rights. Yoest made the following statement, following news of the 8th Revision to the Health and Human Service mandates issued under Obamacare.

She said: “Once again HHS continues to violate the conscience rights of Americans while claiming just the opposite. Our own organization is a good example of the challenge posed: Americans United for Life is a public interest law firm that opposes life-ending drugs and devices required under the HHS mandate. Nevertheless, because we are not a faith-based group, we may be forced to purchase life-ending drugs and devices following the radical pro-abortion political agenda of this Administration.”

The mandate also creates a second-class citizenship status for people of faith by granting accommodations for some, but not others. Churches are exempt, but other religious employers with the same religious objection to life-ending drugs and devices, for example the Little Sisters of the Poor, are still required to participate in the life-ending drugs scheme devised by HHS. As Justice Kennedy observed in the Hobby Lobby decision, people of faith are still not treated equally under the mandate, and ‘the insistence of an agency such as HHS on distinguishing between different religious believers—burdening one while accommodating the other’ violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“During the debate over Obamacare, AUL argued repeatedly and testified to the need to protect the conscience rights of all Americans. Today’s regulations attempt to entrench and deepen the anti-life nature of Obamacare. Americans still need protection from the anti-life mandates interwoven into the fabric of the healthcare law.”

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.

Click here to read comments made by Americans United for Life to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Click here to learn more about healthcare that respects life.

Iowa Regulation of Dangerous Chemical Abortion Drugs Upheld, Protecting Women and Girls as Medical Doctors Recommend

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. (08-19-14) – An Iowa trial court today upheld a rule from the Iowa Board of Medicine that regulates chemical abortion by requiring that a physician physically examine a woman before providing abortion-inducing drugs. The physician-approved regulation, which was adopted by an 8-2 vote of the Board of Medicine, would protect women from potentially dangerous misuse, such as taking the drug too late in pregnancy or during an ectopic pregnancy, by requiring an in-person exam by a physician rather than a videoconference. This practice is sometime called “telemed abortion.”

“Women can die when life-ending drugs are carelessly administered,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “Iowa’s regulation and today’s decision demonstrates that doctors agree that chemical abortion can be dangerous for women and requires a careful examination. Providing these drugs without a physical examination by a physician amounts to nothing less than reckless gambling with the lives of women.”

During the litigation, Planned Parenthood admitted that, under its preferred method of chemical abortion, a physician never physically meets with a woman. Moreover, staff members—such as certified medical assistants (CMAs)—conduct physical exams or ultrasounds instead of doctors or other licensed healthcare providers.

Today’s decision acknowledged that chemical abortion is not safe for some women, and that the Board’s purpose was to ensure the health and safety of women considering chemical abortion by requiring physician presence. Such presence promotes the necessary physician-patient relationship and helps ensure examination by healthcare personnel trained to recognize the dangers inherent in the chemical abortion process.

The court also rejected Planned Parenthood’s arguments that the regulation is invalid under the U.S. Constitution, finding that the regulation poses no “undue burden” to women seeking chemical abortion in the state of Iowa.

AUL is a leader in assisting states seeking to rein in the abortion industry’s misuse of abortion inducing drugs. AUL’s model Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act, which prohibits “telemed abortion” and requires that abortion providers follow FDA restrictions when administering dangerous abortion-inducing drugs, can be found here. Currently, at least 14 states prohibit “telemed abortions.”

Click here to learn more about the health risks of abortion for women.

Americans United for Life Asks Ninth Circuit to Hear Evidence of Alleged Corruption at Planned Parenthood

By Americans United for Life
Friday, August 15th, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. (08-15-14) Americans United for Life filed an amicus brief in support of a petition for rehearing in the whistleblower case, Gonzalez ex rel. U.S. v. Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, asking the Ninth Circuit to reconsider its recent dismal and give the case its day in court. Victor Gonzalez, represented by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), has alleged that taxpayers were fraudulently billed millions of dollars, paid to Planned Parenthood affiliates of California. AUL filed its brief on behalf of Concerned Women for America, which represents taxpaying members nationwide.

“As AUL documented in The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood, misuse of taxpayer monies is a serious concern nationwide, deserving a thorough investigation,” noted AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “Publicly available state and federal audit reports document that Planned Parenthood’s corporate culture enables and encourages inappropriate billing practices through its affiliates and clinics across the nation. The allegations of former Planned Parenthood employees in several unsealed whistleblower lawsuits corroborate Mr. Gonzalez’s allegation. In fact, these lawsuits suggest that Planned Parenthood trains its employees to disregard the law and to engage in improper billing practices.”

In 2004, the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) audited Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties and found that the Planned Parenthood affiliate’s improper billing practice resulted in overpayment from the government of at least $5,213,545.92 in just one fiscal year. In 2008, an action against Planned Parenthood affiliates in California was brought by Victor Gonzalez under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. § 3729, on behalf of the United States of America, under the qui tam provisions of the FCA. Mr. Gonzalez’s complaint alleges that the over-billing practice was not limited to the San Diego affiliate.

During his employment as the Vice President of Finance and Administration with Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles (PPLA), Mr. Gonzalez was asked by Mary-Jane Wagle, then-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PPLA, to perform an assessment of the impact of these over-billing practices. The result of this assessment revealed approximately $2,144,313.17 in additional income from improper billing. This was the alleged financial impact for only one of the then-ten Planned Parenthood affiliates in California and only for one fiscal year.

Mr. Gonzalez estimates that, over a six-year period beginning in 1999, overbilling by Planned Parenthood’s California affiliates exceeded $180 million. As his complaint notes, “This conservative figure only takes into account the illegal and unscrupulous billing practices of [Planned Parenthood affiliates] within the state of California.”

The AUL brief notes that Mr. Gonzalez’s claims are sufficient for the case, but argues that additional state and federal audit reports, as well as allegations from other former employees, suggest a systemic problem at Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide, buttressing the plausibility of his claims.

Click here to read AUL’s brief.

Click here to learn more about The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood.

Click here to view the Planned Parenthood Exhibits.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest in the News

By Americans United for Life
Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Recent commentary by AUL’s President & CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest

Dr. Charmaine Yoest at ThinkProgress: The connection between work/life policies and the life issue

July 31, 2014

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…There may be the inklings of a coalition with religious conservatives and progressives on these issues. Charmaine Yoest, President of the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life (AUL) who has done past work on work/family issues, noted that her group doesn’t have the bandwidth to take them on. But they are issues she still cares about. “There really is connective tissue between work/life policies and the life issue,” she told ThinkProgress. “Because so much of it comes back to societal attitudes toward motherhood.” She pointed out that “the ideal worker is all designed around a kind of male approach to the workplace” that leaves little room for women to “invest time in particularly small babies.” While she doesn’t agree with spending more money on daycare, she pointed out that flexibility is important. That’s true in her own organization. “Every mom who works for AUL to one degree or another has negotiated some sort of flexible schedule,” she noted.

But some of those who killed off work/family leave the first time around still haven’t changed their minds. Buchanan hasn’t. “I don’t agree with another major federal undertaking,” he said when asked about how he viewed something like universal child care. “We’re talking about something that’s not remotely on the table.” But gone was the rhetoric around socialism and weakening the family; in its place were strictly fiscal concerns. “They country doesn’t have the money for any major national undertaking like this,” he explained.

Women’s rights advocates remain hopeful that the climate has changed enough, that people like Buchannan are far enough removed, people like Yoest are taking the helm, and some elected leaders have claimed the mantle, that these policies are taken seriously…

Click here to read the entire article >>

Dr. Charmaine Yoest at EWTN: Big Abortion drops “pro-choice” label

July 31, 2014

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Abortion advocates’ recent shift away from the term “pro-choice” could be due to improving medicine and technology showing the harsh reality and effects of the procedure.

“Health is a popular buzz word for abortionists, but is much weakened as medical science shows women’s health is harmed by abortion,” Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, told CNA.

A July 28 article in the New York Times detailed how abortion rights activists are beginning to change the pro-choice label to more vague terminology, saying that they do not want to limit the abortion spectrum to the term. The issue has been transferred to the general labels of “women’s health” and “economic security,” but advocates have still not found a suitable alternative name.

Yoest believes that abortion rights supporters are seeking another term as they are working to normalize abortion by creating the misconception that – since it is publicly funded – abortion is healthcare.

“The abortion industry is moving from choice to coercion, changing their strategy from mainstream abortion in culture to integrating it into healthcare,” she said.

Click here to read the entire article >>

AUL Files 19th Brief Defending the Rights of Those Burdened by Obamacare’s Anti-life Mandates

By Americans United for Life
Monday, August 4th, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. (08-04-14) – “Just like the Green family of Hobby Lobby and the Hahn of Conestoga Wood, who successfully defended themselves from the coercive Obamacare anti-life mandates, the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) faces a horrific ‘choice’ staying in business or violating their beliefs,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest, as AUL filed an amicus curiae brief today in the Eleventh Circuit in the case Eternal Word Television Network v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“The so-called ‘accommodation’ from the Obama Administration requires EWTN to arrange for and facilitate coverage for the life-ending drugs and devices to which it has a religious objection, violating their First Amendment rights.”

Important to note, while the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has expressly exempted churches and their auxiliaries with the same religious objections, they refuse to do the same for EWTN, which also objects to arranging for the purchase of life-ending drugs and devices.

Concurring in the Hobby Lobby case where respect for religious beliefs prevailed, Justice Kennedy noted that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act “is inconsistent with the insistence of an agency such as HHS on distinguishing between different religious believers—burdening one while accommodating the other—when it may treat them both equally by offering both of them the same accommodation.”

Ultimately, it is for the EWTN, not the Obama Administration or the courts, to determine whether what HHS has styled as an “accommodation” burdens their religious beliefs. The U.S. Supreme Court squarely addressed this point in the Hobby Lobby decision, holding that the Green and Hahn families “sincerely believe that providing the insurance coverage demanded by the HHS regulations lies on the forbidden side of the line, and it is not for us to say that their religious beliefs are mistaken or insubstantial.”

Including this case, Americans United for Life has filed 19 amicus curiae briefs in challenges to Obamacare’s HHS Mandate which includes requiring employers to offer life-ending drugs and devices in health insurance policies. AUL’s briefs presented analysis and arguments defending the constitutional rights of all Americans when it comes to healthcare purchases.

In its brief, AUL demonstrated that the life of a new human being begins at fertilization (conception), that so-called “emergency contraception” has a post-fertilization effect that can result in the end of his or her young life. In addition, forcing employers to provide coverage for such drugs violates their constitutionally protected freedom of conscience.

The brief was filed on behalf of Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Christian Medical Association, Catholic Medical Association, The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Alabama Physicians for Life,National Association of Pro Life Nurses, and National Association of Catholic Nurses.

Abortion is woven into Obamacare at multiple levels, making repeal of the law a pro-life necessity. The abortion-related provisions of Obamacare, include:

  • 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.

To understand how the Obama Administration put “The Con” in Contraception, click here.

To learn more about life-affirming healthcare, click here.

“Mother-Child” Pro-life Strategy Remained Popular in 2014 State Legislative Sessions, Notes AUL

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

“The abortion industry should be warned that the time is now to hold them accountable for their horrific treatment of mothers and their unborn children,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “In just the last four years, AUL and our sister organization, AUL Action, have helped enact 74 life-affirming measures, fully one-third of all the protective measures enacted since 2010.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (07-29-14) – Pro-life legislative advances continued in the 2013-2014 state legislative sessions as “common sense health and safety standards appeal to the humanity of pro-life legislators and their constituents who care about all the people harmed by abortion,” said Americans United for Life’s President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “Successes in this legislative season indicate that the mother-child strategy exemplified by AUL’s Women’s Protection Project continues to be a proven legal blueprint for protecting women and their unborn children from a largely unregulated, unrestricted, and unrepentant abortion industry.”

AUL’s 2014 State Legislative Session Report (available here) shows tremendous gains nationwide with at least 56 new life-affirming legal requirements, including at least 41 protective measures related to abortion, enacted. Among the popular pieces of legislation were requirements for hospital admitting privileges for abortionists so that women in a medical emergency will receive continuity of care, AUL’s unique effort to promote perinatal hospice and on-going legislation to disentangle scarce taxpayer dollars from the abortion industry.

AUL’s legal and policy experts helped enact 11 new pro-life measures in 2014. In just the last four years, AUL and our sister organization AUL Action have helped enact 74 life-affirming measures, fully one-third of all the protective measures enacted since 2010.

“Our ongoing efforts to hold abortion providers legally and morally accountable for complying with basic, common sense standards for safeguarding women’s health and safety, for providing women with accurate and complete information about the harms of abortion and life-affirming alternatives, and for cooperating with law enforcement when women and girls have been abused continue to gain prominence,” explained Yoest, “especially as evidence mounts of the abortion industry’s victimization of and callous disregard for the interests of women it claims to champion.”

AUL and our sister organization AUL Action have distributed more than 850 copies of the Women’s Protection Project booklet (available here) in more than 20 states and worked with legislators and allies in 11 states on legislative measures derived from the component legislation featured in the booklet.

For example, in another banner year for life in Oklahoma, the state strengthened an existing law regulating abortion-inducing drugs, enhanced its current abortion facility regulations, and enacted an admitting privileges requirement. All of these measures were based on AUL model legislation highlighted in the Women’s Protection Project. Meanwhile, using AUL’s Women’s Health Defense Act, Mississippi prohibited abortions at or after five months of pregnancy based on concerns for maternal health and the pain experienced by an unborn child. Both states also enacted perinatal hospice information requirements with the help of AUL.

At least 41 states considered more than 270 measures related to abortion this year, even as some predicted a slower legislative schedule leading up to an election year. This year’s most prominent legislative trends relating to abortion included:

  • AUL’s Women’s Protection Project gaining a significant and life-saving “foothold” in states across the nation, featuring AUL’s unique enforcement module.
  • Bans on dangerous late-term abortions, admitting privileges requirements for abortion providers, and a variety of legislative measures that disentangle American taxpayers from the abortion industry, remained popular.
  • Perinatal Hospice bills, another unique AUL effort, gaining traction as a growing number of states considered legislation requiring that a mother receive information on perinatal hospice or related services following a life-limiting diagnosis for her unborn child.

AUL, and our sister organization AUL Action, are the recognized architects of the successful state-based, pro-life legal strategy sweeping the nation and of the pro-life movement’s most comprehensive and protective model legislation, published annually in Defending Life (available here).

Debunking the Myths of FOCA 2.0

By Americans United for Life
Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

The Federal Abortion Expansion Act Deceptively Packaged to Appeal to Women, but Designed to Exterminate Protective Laws

By Anna Franzonello and Mary Harned, AUL staff attorneys

Holding a hearing on S. 1696, deceptively titled “The Women’s Health Protection Act,” the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary heard many myths from abortion proponents about the “need” for S. 1696’s evisceration of all life-affirming legislation. Essentially this is FOCA 2.0, another federal attempt to expand abortion policy, while also destroying pro-life legislation and blocking new life-protecting efforts.

Below are a sampling of myths along with the truth about the radical and dangerous impact of S. 1696.

Myth: Life-affirming laws are enacted “…under the false pretext of health and safety.”

Fact: A substantial body of peer-reviewed scientific literature documents that induced abortion is associated with significant risks and potential harms to women.  Time and time again, the abortion industry has proved—at the cost of women’s lives and health—that it places profit as its top priority and it should not be left to self-police its dangerous practice.

The pro-life movement cares about both mothers and their babies and therefore supports the health and safety standards contained in the laws that S. 1696 would strike down and prohibit.

Whether accomplished by an invasive surgical procedure or by taking a combination of potent drugs, abortion carries inherent physical risks of harm for women. Numerous, well-documented studies in peer-reviewed international medical journals have found increased risks after abortion.

Even the nation’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, acknowledges on its website the undisputed risks of immediate complications from abortion including blood clots, hemorrhage, incomplete abortions, infection, and injury to the cervix and other organs. Abortion can also cause missed ectopic pregnancy, cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, renal failure, metabolic disorder, or shock. Immediate complications affect approximately 10 percent of women undergoing abortions.

History shows that unregulated abortion, or unenforced abortion regulations, sets the stage for substandard clinic conditions to compound these risks.

The babies and women killed and injured by abortion are not mere data points. They are more than simple statistics. Life affirming legislation aims to protect these real mothers and their children who are all human beings with human dignity.

The truth is that S. 1696 would invalidate hundreds of life-affirming laws under the false pretext of “health and safety.” The only thing it would accomplish is to shield the abortion industry from efforts to protect women and their unborn children.

Myth: “[D]ata show that abortion, even after the first trimester, carries a lower risk of serious complications than vaginal births, cesarean sections, and even plastic surgery procedures such as facelifts and liposuction.”

Fact: Abortion is always deadly for at least one person, the baby, and data shows that risks to women increase with gestational age.

The “abortion is safer than childbirth” myth relies on U.S. abortion data that is incomplete and unreliable. Unlike abortion-related deaths, pregnancy-related deaths are systemically sought, identified, and investigated. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has cautioned medical professionals not to make comparative statements based on CDC data.

The comparison is also misleading because abortion-related and pregnancy-related deaths are simply not counted the same way. Consider the following: a woman who undergoes a first trimester abortion, experiences profound depression, and four weeks later commits suicide would not be counted as an abortion-related death.  However, because any death that occurs during or 6 weeks after a pregnancy is considered pregnancy-related, a woman who carries a pregnancy to term, similarly suffers depression and commits suicide would be considered a pregnancy-related death.

Even according to pro-abortion advocates, abortion complications are known to be under-reported for other reasons, including barriers in state reporting requirements, stigma.

It is undisputed that the later in pregnancy an abortion occurs, the riskier it is and the greater the chance for significant complications.  Gestational age is the strongest risk factor for abortion-related death.  A woman seeking an abortion at 20-weeks (5-months) is 35 times more likely to die from abortion than she was in the first trimester.  At 21 weeks or more, she is 91 times more likely to die from abortion than she was in the first trimester.

Myth: “Global evidence indicates that where abortion services are restricted and unavailable, abortions still occur and are mostly unsafe.”

 

Fact: Studies have shown that where abortion is restricted, maternal mortality rates have decreased.

For example, a May 2012 study out of Chile that examined trends in maternal death both when abortion was legal in Chile and after abortion was prohibited found that death rates did not increase after abortion was made illegal. While abortion was the leading cause of death for a pregnant woman between 1957 and 1989–the time period in which abortion was legal– maternal mortality decreased from 41.3 deaths per 100,000 live births when abortion was legal, to just 12.7 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births after abortion was made illegal. Today, Chile has a lower maternal mortality rate than the United States and it has the lowest maternal mortality rate in all of Latin America.

Another study that compared maternal mortality rates in Ireland (where abortion is illegal) to England and Scotland (where abortion is legal) found that maternal mortality rates were much lower in Ireland than in England or Scotland.  Specifically, in Ireland, there are 1-2 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, whereas in England/Wales there are 10 deaths per 100,000 live births, and in Scotland there are 10-12 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The “global” comparison that the abortion lobby wants to draw is misleadingly based on countries with overall poor medical care. These women around the globe deserve help with improving true medical care, not “legal” abortion as a substitute to addressing their and their babies’ real health needs.

Myth: “Ob-gyns who perform miscarriage completions in their office practices are not subject to these onerous requirements, despite the fact that they are performing the same medical procedure as abortion providers…”

Fact: As Dr. Monique Chireau testified, induced abortion differs significantly from dilation and curettage in a non-pregnant patient for a variety of reasons, including differences between the pregnant and non-pregnant uterus, the presence of the fetus, increased risk for perforation, bleeding and infection, and the consequences of incomplete evacuation of the uterus.

Myth: Admitting privileges laws are “not medically justified” and “do not promote women’s health or safety, and run counter to sound medical practice and opinion.”

Fact:  As Dr. Chireau explained, all too often women with induced abortion complications are told to go to an emergency department by a practitioner who not only does not live in the area, or have admitting privileges to a local hospital, but also has no clinician backup, or transfer agreement in place. This would constitute malpractice in any other scenario. Physicians practice within a regulatory framework that exists to protect both their patients and themselves. Physicians also are usually part of a professional community.

Benefits of benefits of physician credentialing and a professional community include:

  • Admitting privileges imply a level of ethical and clinical competence in the practice of medicine. In order to be credentialed at a hospital, practitioners must have demonstrated competence in their specialty. The credentialing process helps identify practitioners who have a trail of injured patients, actions by state medical boards, history of criminal behavior, substance abuse problems, or adverse malpractice actions.
  • Hospital credentialing helps protect patients from unscrupulous or incompetent practitioners.
  • Physicans to physician communication (handoffs) improves outcomes. Handoffs are one of the most frequently identified causes of poor patient outcomes. The analogy is to a baton being passed correctly in a relay race.
  • Admitting privileges allow for physician discipline where needed.
  • Physicians who are part of hospital staff are willing to backup their colleagues.

There are 4 main reasons why abortionists and abortion activists oppose credentialing.

  1. It subjects abortionists to scrutiny of their clinical practice.
  2. Many abortionists can’t meet the ethical and clinical standards required for hospital credentialing.
  3. They are not part of a medical community and can’t get references.
  4. They do not want to undergo peer review and possible discipline.

Myth: “Mandatory performance of an ultrasound is not an accepted medical practice or standard of care…this practice does not add to the quality or safety of the medical care being provided.”

Fact: Ultrasounds serve the essential medical purpose of confirming the presence, location, and gestational age of a pregnancy. Ultrasounds also help to diagnose ectopic pregnancies that, if left undiagnosed, can result in infertility or even fatal blood loss.

The National Abortion Federation (NAF) lists “undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy” as one of “[t]he main complications” of chemical abortions. Notably, NAF states that “providers must remain vigilant to detect this complication,” and explains that “experienced sonographers using a transvaginal probe” are an important means to rule out an ectopic pregnancy.

A study on early abortions (prior to 6-7 weeks gestation), published in 2003, surveyed 113 abortion providers including 74 Planned Parenthood affiliates that performed abortions, and found these clinics routinely use vaginal ultrasounds before an early abortion. The study even credits “vaginal ultrasonography” as one reason that “early abortion” has become what it considers a “safe and practical option.”

In Texas Medical Providers Performing Abortion Services v. Lakey,the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2011 Texas ultrasound law, finding that performing an ultrasound and checking for fetal heartbeat are both “routine measures in pregnancy medicine today” and viewed as “medically necessary” for the mother and unborn child.

Unfortunately, as the following example from a Virginia Board of Medicine demonstrates, not all abortion providers have followed the medical standard:

“Without performing diagnostic tests to ascertain the gestational age of the fetus, instead relying only on a bimanual pelvic examination, that he believed showed a twelve (12) week fetus, Dr. Abofreka began a termination procedure on Patient A. After applying suction several times, Dr. Abofreka realized that the pregnancy was greater than the twelve (12) weeks gestation he estimated on examination. He then stopped the procedure and performed a sonogram which showed the gestational age was approximately twenty-four (24) weeks…” Abofreka v.Virginia Bd. of Med., 2007 WL 2301727 (Va. Ct. App).

Pregnant women have experienced complications from abortion procedures due to the abortion provider’s failure to perform a timely ultrasound.

Myth: Ultrasounds and their descriptions are “cruel and inhumane” and treat women “like second class citizens”

Fact: Allowing women the opportunity to view their ultrasounds serves an important role in providing informed consent, enabling women to exercise true choice.

Upholding the Texas ultrasound law, the Fifth Circuit noted,

The point of informed consent laws is to allow the patient to evaluate her condition and render her best decision under difficult circumstances. Denying her up to date medical information is more of an abuse to her ability to decide than providing the information.

The disclosure of the ultrasound, the fetal heartbeat, and their medical descriptions are, as the Fifth Circuit ruled, “the epitome of truthful, non-misleading information.”

Moreover, when asked if they would prefer having an ultrasound examination before an abortion, at least one study found that the majority of women would choose to have an ultrasound and simultaneously view the image. See Bamigboye et al., Should women view the ultrasound image before first-trimester termination of pregnancy? 92 So Afr Med J. 6, 430 (2002). Another study found that most women (86.3%) who chose to view the ultrasound found it a positive experience. See Wiebe et al., Women’s perceptions about seeing the ultrasound picture before an abortion, 14 The Eur J. Contracept & Repro Health Care 2, 97 (2009).

Myth: Life-affirming laws are “seeking to make an end run around public opinion.”

Fact: Public opinion supports the common sense, common-ground laws this bill would eliminate. The truth is S. 1696 is the end-run around public opinion.

A 2013 Gallup poll found that “perception that pro-choice position dominates contrasts with even split in actual views.” But even the percentages of Americans who would self-describe as “pro-life” and “pro-choice” when asked a general question fail to tell the full story. When asked specific questions about abortion and abortion legislation, a truer picture of a pro-life America emerges.

The vast majority of Americans believe that abortion should be either illegal in all circumstances (20%) or legal only under certain circumstances (52%). Only 26% believe that abortion should be legal under any circumstances.

It has been clear for more than two decades that most Americans support common sense limits on abortion.  For example:

  • Polling consistently shows that strong majorities believe abortion should be illegal in the second three months of pregnancy (64-71%) and last three months of pregnancy (80-86%).
  • 69-78% support a law requiring a woman seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours before having the procedure done.
  • 69-74% support parental consent.
  • 87% support informed consent laws, requiring doctors to inform patients about the possible risks of abortion before performing the procedure.
  • 86-88% support a law requiring doctors to inform patients about alternatives to abortion before performing the procedure.

Myth: “Year after year poll after poll shows that a strong majority of Americans favor retaining the protections of Roe v. Wade.”

Fact: As explained above, polls clearly demonstrate that Americans strongly disapprove of Roe v. Wade’s “abortion-on-demand” regime. But there is a second pernicious myth contained in this statement, that S. 1696 would merely codify Roe. In truth, S. 1696 is far more radical than the highly criticized Roe opinion, excluding the possibility of the life-affirming legislation which polls show the American public overwhelmingly supports.

The controversial 1973 opinion has been modified by subsequent cases, but even Roe itself is not as radical as the proposed legislation. Roe recognizes as a legitimate state interest the protection of unborn human beings; S. 1696 makes absolutely no mention of the unborn.

The Roe Court also found that the State’s legitimate interest in regulating abortion to protect maternal health, “obviously extends at least to [regulating] the performing physician and his staff, to the facilities involved, to the availability of after-care, and to adequate provision for any complication or emergency that may arise.”

Preceded by the phrase “at least,” these examples clearly set a floor, not a ceiling, of the “obvious” interests a State has in protecting maternal health. Notably, the Roe Court’s list of the minimum “obvious” examples of measures advancing women’s health goes beyond regulating the abortion procedure itself and extends to regulations that would ensure the availability of post-abortive after-care treatment and emergency care in the case of complications.

The abortion “right” announced in U.S. Supreme Court cases, including Roe, is not a right to the existence of abortion clinics. In fact, Roe expressed concern with what it called “abortion mills,” noting that their reported negative impact on women’s health “strengthens, rather than weakens, the State’s interest in regulating the conditions under which abortions are performed.” Roe, 410 U.S. at 150.

Elevating mere “access” to an abortion clinic over the long-recognized State interest in protecting maternal health does the reverse. It virtually immunizes abortion clinics from regulation if their failure to comply would close their doors.

In the over forty years since Roe, there are numerous examples demonstrating that regulation of abortion clinics is necessary.  The trial of now-convicted murderer Dr. Kermit Gosnell brought some attention to the tragic impact that the “legal” abortion industry has had on women’s health.  Gosnell’s clinic was not an aberration. In fact, since 2009, abortion providers in states such as Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas that have enacted admitting privileges requirements, along with other states, have faced investigations and/or have been cited for violating state laws governing the provision of abortions.

However, states would be impeded from enacting new legislation or even enforcing existing laws that protect women against these dangerous providers if S. 1696 were enacted, predicating the legality of a health regulation upon its impact on mere “access” to abortion clinics.

Contrary to the assurances made in Roe, and subsequent cases Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Gonzales v. Carhart, S. 1696 would permit abortion clinics, particularly in states with a limited number of abortion clinics, to run unregulated practices and perform abortions through all 9 months of pregnancy.

Senate Considering Federal Abortion Expansion Act in Benign Sounding Bill that Radicalizes Abortion law

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Americans United for Life Board Member details health risks of abortion for mothers and their unborn children in Senate Judiciary Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. (07-15-14) – The benignly named but deadly Women’s Health Protection Act took center stage today in a Senate Judiciary hearing in which the realities of S.1696 became clear. “This dangerous legislation could invalidate virtually any type of current state health and safety regulation and the kinds of common-sense regulation of abortion that has strong momentum across the country,” noted Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “Going even further, S.1696 would also prohibit the future enactment of laws designed to protect mothers and their unborn children from abortion industry abuses and trample Americans’ conscience rights.”

Detailing the health risks of abortion for women, Duke University Assistant Professor of Clinical and Epidemiological Research, Dr. Monique Chireau, addressed Senate leaders as part of the panel discussion of the proposed law. The distinguished physician and AUL board member noted that the bill “does nothing to protect women but everything to protect the abortion industry from oversight and accountability.”

Dr. Chireau’s testimony (available here) detailed for the Committee a substantial body of peer-reviewed scientific literature documents showing that induced abortion is associated with significant medical and psychological risks for women.

Debunking the myth that abortion is “good” for women, Dr. Chireau examined the many harmful impacts of surgical and chemical abortion, including a 2011 meta-analysis of the data that included 22 studies and 877,181 women, which found “[a]n 81% increase in mental health problems including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide was noted in women who had induced abortion. The risk for mental health problems was increased 55% in women who had induced abortion compared with those who gave birth.”

The Committee also heard from Dr. Chireau about “the lack of oversight, reporting, data collection and monitoring of the abortion industry in the United States.” These deficiencies, Dr. Chireau testified, “have masked, understated and distorted the true extent of harm to women caused by [abortion.] This lack of accountability has contributed to other social ills as enabling the cover-up of the sexual abuse of minors, human trafficking and the exploitation of women.”

This legislation is the latest version of FOCA (the Freedom of Choice Act). S. 1696 is actually FOCA 2.0 and recklessly empowers abortionists to set the standard of care for their patients with no oversight from the state and no effective remedies for the abortion industry’s deficiencies and frequent malfeasance.

In fact, enactment of S. 1696 would invalidate hundreds of abortion-related laws specifically including:

  • Abortion bans (e.g. 20 week or 5 month gestational limits, sex-selection bans, etc.),
  • Health and safety standards for abortion clinics,
  • Admitting privileges requirements,
  • Regulations on abortion-inducing drugs,
  • Reflection periods and other informed consent requirements,
  • Ultrasound requirements,
  • Limitations on the use of state funds and facilities for abortion.

Click here for more information on the health risks of abortion for women.

Alaska Joins Majority of States Protecting Unborn Children and their Parents from the Wrongful Acts of Others

By Americans United for Life
Thursday, July 10th, 2014

alaska gov signs bill

Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest commended Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell who today signed into law Alaska SB 200. The new law provides a civil right of action for wrongful death of an unborn child at any point in the pregnancy. The new law, based in part on AUL model legislation, provides a civil remedy to parents when someone causes the death of their unborn child against their will, while fetal homicide laws provide a criminal penalty. “Everyone should agree that pregnant women and their unborn children should be protected from violent or negligent acts of another,” said AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “Alaska office holders showed great compassion in creating new, civil protections for grieving parents.”

“Alaskan parents also owe a debt of gratitude to State Senator Lesil McGuire and State Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, two women who understand that unborn children should be protected against violence and negligence in the womb, and parents deserve to have their unborn child’s loss recognized in the law,” noted Dr. Yoest.

With Alaska’s new law in place, 28 states and the District of Columbia permit a wrongful death action if an unborn child was viable at the time of his or her death, including: AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, DC, HI, ID, IN, KS, KY, MD, MA, MN, MT, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, VT, WA, and WI. Thirteen states allow suits for a pre-viable unborn child: AL, GA (limited to quickening), IL, LA, MI, MS (limited to quickening), MO, NE, OK, SD, TX, VA, and WV.

Ten states still require live birth (and bar a cause of action for the death of the unborn child unless the child is born alive and dies thereafter): AK, CA, FL, IA, ME, NJ, NY, TN, UT, and WY.

AUL has long championed both wrongful death and fetal homicide laws to protect unborn children and their parents.

Fetal homicide laws recognize a violent act taken against a pregnant woman that kills her unborn child as homicide. When the mother and her child die, there are two, separate homicide victims. AUL’s legal experts laid the intellectual groundwork to enact fetal homicide laws nationwide. At the time of the Roe decision in 1973, only three states enforced these protective laws. Today, 38 states have fetal homicide laws in place, and 29 of these laws protect the unborn child from conception.

For more on AUL’s Unborn Wrongful Death Act, or other model legislation, click here.

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