Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D. is President & CEO of Americans United for Life (AUL), the legal architects of the pro-life movement. AUL’s legal strategists have been involved in every life-related case before the United States Supreme Court beginning with Roe v. Wade. AUL is the pioneer of the state-based model legislative strategy, which has increased exponentially with significant victories in the past few years. AUL’s legal strategy works both to save the lives of the unborn, while also confronting the so-called “reliance” interest adopted by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey: the false idea that women “rely” on abortion to succeed in American society.
Under Dr. Yoest’s leadership, AUL has pursued and refined a unique mother-child strategy that looks at the interests and vulnerabilities of both, protecting them from abortion industry abuses. According to the New York Times, “Taken together, these new state laws are hugely effective…” With such a track record, the Christian Science Monitor observed that some abortion advocates consider her “Public Enemy Number One” … but with a style all her own.
“This mother of five…has set the stage for sweeping antiabortion victories at the state level on the strength of her seeming candor, warmth, and camera-ready smile,” noted CSM, calling her “pro-life’s kinder, gentler face” and that “she represents the changing face of the antiabortion movement.”
Similarly, a profile piece featured in the New York Times magazine, described a “deft reframing of the abortion debate that has put Yoest at the center of anti-abortion politics and enabled her to help push through the greatest number of abortion restrictions since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.”
Her approach is exemplified in AUL’s Women’s Protection Project, a cutting-edge package of legislation, found in AUL’s Defending Life, known as the legislative “playbook” for office holders. This followed up Dr. Yoest’s coordination of AUL’s explosive exposé in July 2011, “The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood,” which documents known and alleged abuses occurring behind the closed doors of the nation’s largest abortion provider, an effort that resulted in a Congressional investigation.
Dr. Yoest was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees Judge Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Dr. Yoest has also provided Congressional testimony on other occasions before both the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as before state legislative bodies.
Dr. Yoest began her career in the White House during the Reagan Administration and served as a Senior Advisor to the 2008 Huckabee for President Campaign, after leading as Vice President of Communications at Family Research Council, one of the largest pro-family public policy organizations in the country. While there she edited and co-authored FRC’s “Free to be Family” report, a compendium detailing data on family breakdown.
On announcing her appointment, Governor Huckabee observed that Dr. Yoest “brings with her an in-depth knowledge of the issues and policy expertise, as well as over two decades of experience in the conservative movement.”
A regular political commentator, Dr. Yoest has appeared on all of the major networks and cable outlets. She is also the co-author of Mother in the Middle, an examination of childcare policy, published by HarperCollins, and is currently working on a second book related to modern feminism, with the working title, Women Alone.
Previously, Dr. Yoest served as the Project Director of the Family, Gender and Tenure Project at the University of Virginia, a nationwide study funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She was also a recipient of Mellon, Olin, Bradley, and Kohler Fellowships.
Dr. Yoest has a Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Virginia. She and her husband, Jack, live with their five children in the Washington, DC area.
Charmaine writes at her blog, CharmaineYoest.com.
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