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Mississippi Lawmakers Embrace Protections for Mothers and Unborn Children in Bill Limiting Abortion at 5 months of Pregnancy

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

“Such common-sense limits on a dangerous procedure represent the views of the vast majority of Americans and the realities of abortion’s deadly consequences so late in pregnancy,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-01-14) – Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest commended the courage of the vast majority of Mississippi Legislators who today voted overwhelmingly “to put the lives and health of mothers and children first,” by passing mother-child protections in MS H 1400, a bill that would limit abortion after 5 months of pregnancy. The bill, substantially based on AUL model legislation, passed the Mississippi House by 90-21 and the state Senate by 41-10. It now proceeds to Governor Phil Bryant who is expected to sign the bill into law.

“Late term abortions are deadly for both mother and child,” noted Dr. Yoest. “A woman seeking an abortion at 20 weeks (five 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. Such horrendous statistics show the wisdom of the Mississippi legislators who moved today to enact common-sense limits on a dangerous procedure.”

Legislation protecting both mother and children from abortion industry abuses and the negative impact of abortion represents a national trend. Mississippi is one of six states this session considering late-term abortion limits, including Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina and West Virginia.

“I want to commend State House Representative Andy Gipson and State Senator Joey Fillingane, who led the way in pulling together pro-life majorities in support of a measure that will protect women from such horrific deaths witnessed in clinics across the country,” said Dr. Yoest.

Click here for more on the dangers of abortion for women and their unborn children.

Click here for more on AUL’s Women’s Protection Project and other model legislation.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Cutting-Edge Protections for Women from Dangerous Chemical Abortion Drugs as well as Life-Saving Clinic Regulations

By Americans United for Life
Thursday, March 27th, 2014

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“An all-woman panel of judges understood that common-sense limits on abortion are both legal and desirable for protecting women from abortion industry abuses,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-27-14) – Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest applauded a decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in which a Texas regulation of chemical abortion drugs and requirements for hospital admitting privileges were upheld, as the appeals court reversed the lower court decision in Planned Parenthood v. Gregory Abbott. “Women in Texas will now be protected from abortion industry misuse of life-ending drugs and will be provided greater protections from deadly events inside under-regulated, under-monitored and under-supervised clinics, run by profiteers,” said Dr. Yoest. “I’m not surprised that an all-woman panel of judges understood the nuances of laws designed to protect women.”

AUL filed an amicus brief (available here) in the case demonstrating that the Supreme Court supports regulating life-ending drugs that can harm women as well as end the lives of unborn children. The chemical abortion law was based in part on AUL’s model legislation. Such legislative efforts to regulate deadly life-ending drugs are on the rise. Currently 14 states have laws regulating chemical abortion in varying degrees, while four more are exploring similar common-sense limits in 2014.

“The Fifth Circuit has affirmed the efforts of pro-life leaders in Texas who cared enough to work for common-sense protections for women,” said Dr. Yoest. “We know that at least eight women have died of severe bacterial infection following their use of deadly, life-ending drugs when following abortion providers’ off-label recommendations. Today’s decision is a green light for other states to follow the lead of Texas and enact provisions prohibiting such misuse of dangerous abortion-inducing drugs.”

Texas’ chemical abortion regulation, along with a provision requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, were part of HB 2, a Texas bill passed during a special legislative session in 2013. Planned Parenthood challenged the provisions, and a federal district court ruled that the chemical abortion regulation posed an “undue burden” for some women.

Texas filed an expedited appeal with the Fifth Circuit, simultaneously asking that Circuit to postpone the district court’s opinion and allow the laws to go into effect during the appeal. The Fifth Circuit agreed, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied an application by Planned Parenthood to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s decision. Now the Fifth Circuit has given its final answer, upholding the state’s regulation of chemical abortion and allowing Texas to protect women’s health by reining in the abortion industry’s misuse of abortion-inducing drugs.

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

Click here to learn more about the health risks of abortion to women, whether surgical or chemically induced.

AUL Commends Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Pro-Life Legislators for Protecting Hoosiers from Forced Funding of Abortion-related Coverage

By Americans United for Life
Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-26-14) — Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest commended Indiana Governor Mike Pence and leading pro-life legislators for enacting a measure that protects Hoosiers from forced funding of abortion-related services via their health insurance plans.

This week Governor Pence signed into law HB 1123, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Thompson, which is based on AUL model legislation. The bill prohibits “accident and sickness insurance policies” from covering abortion in most circumstances except through a separate rider. This law makes Indiana the ninth state to prohibit private insurance plans operating within their states from covering most abortions.

“As the abortion industry has moved from choice to coercion, especially in Obamacare mandates, pro-life legislators have rallied to protect Americans from funding morally objectionable practices,” said Dr. Yoest. “Also at stake are the growing number of women harmed by abortion as a callous industry seeks to keep profits high. It’s vital to separate these abortion profiteers from commandeered financial support.”AUL’s Legal and Government Affairs teams worked closely with pro-life allies including Indiana Right to Life and the Governor’s office on this bill.

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

Click here for more information on AUL’s cutting-edge model legislation, found in Defending Life.

AUL Observed Chief Justice Roberts Clearly Understood the Life Issues at Stake for Companies like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

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“With the clock ticking on oral arguments today, Chief Justice John Roberts underscored the crucial issues of this case — that Americans are being compelled to comply with anti-life policies or face business killing, job killing fines,” said AUL’s Ovide Lamontagne who attended today’s oral arguments.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-25-14) — Americans United for Life General Counsel Ovide Lamontagne attended oral arguments today in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, having overseen the filing of 19 amicus curiae briefs related to life and conscience issues raised in Obamacare, including those in this case. On leaving the court, Lamontagne made the following observations: “It took 90 minutes of discussion before the heart of the case was addressed. Ultimately Chief Justice John Roberts accurately focused on the issue before the court: the religious objection by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties to pay for life ending drugs and devices.

“In response to a hypothetical question from Justice Anthony Kennedy who asked the Solicitor General Donald Virrilli whether a for-profit employer could be forced to pay for abortion coverage, Virrilli tried to distinguish the hypothetical, but Chief Justice stopped him in his tracks. The Chief correctly stated that Justice Kennedy’s hypothetical is exactly what the case before the Court is all about.

“He noted that people of faith could easily and honestly take the view that the devices and drugs in question were abortifacients. The Solicitor General tried to dodge the question by saying states and other government entities had defined emergency contraception and other devices differently, but Chief Justice Roberts pressed Virrilli appropriately and highlighted exactly what the issue the case involved was.

“During discussion, the government unsuccessfully argued its ‘parade of horribles’ with the help of some of the Justices. But in then end it was clear that the majority of Justices were not convinced that Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which occupied a lot of the discussion) applied only to individuals and religious corporations. RFRA applies to all ‘citizens,’ individual and corporate.

“Paul Clement’s final arguments were compelling. He emphasized that the government failed the least restrictive alternatives analysis and did indeed impose a substantial burden on corporate employers, particularly sub-chapter S corps.

“Justice Breyer along with Justices Kennedy, Alito, Scalia and Roberts posed challenging questions regarding the government’s position. In the end, it appeared Attorney Paul Clement and his clients, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods had a significantly better argument and position.”

During news events at the Supreme Court prior to the arguments, AUL’s President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest noted that the case reflects “a fundamental shift in tactics by abortion advocates, moving Americans from ‘choice’ to coercion as people are forced to fund and facilitate life-ending drugs and devices or face punishing, crippling, job-killing fines. This administration put ‘The Con’ in contraception, by hiding an anti-life agenda in the construction of the Affordable Care Act and forcing Americans to fund anti-life drugs mislabeled as contraception.”

Click here to read a national column by Dr. Yoest addressing the issue at stake.

Click here to read AUL’s analysis of the case.

Obamacare puts “The Con” in Contraception by forcing Anti-Life policies and “Punishing, Crippling Job-Killing Fines” as Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Hobby Lobby Case

By Americans United for Life
Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

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“This administration put ‘The Con’ in contraception, by hiding an anti-life agenda in the construction of the Affordable Care Act and forcing Americans to fund anti-life drugs mislabeled as contraception,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-25-14) — Americans United for Life, having filed 19 amicus curiae briefs related to life and conscience issues raised in Obamacare, noted that oral arguments today before the U.S. Supreme Court address in part “a fundamental shift in tactics by abortion advocates, moving Americans from ‘choice’ to coercion as people are forced to fund and facilitate life-ending drugs and devices or face punishing, crippling, job-killing fines,” noted AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “This administration put ‘The Con’ in contraception, by hiding an anti-life agenda in the construction of the Affordable Care Act and forcing Americans to fund anti-life drugs mislabeled as contraception.” In this case, AUL filed an amicus curiae brief in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius in defense of freedom of conscience. A decision is expected by the end of the Court’s term in June.

Dr. Yoest made these remarks during a news conference in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. She continued:

“The pro-abortion intent of the Affordable Care Act is seen clearly. Hobby Lobby actually faces more debilitating fines by providing its employees with life-affirming health insurance than it would if it provided no health insurance at all,” said Dr. Yoest. “Neither Conestoga nor Hobby Lobby oppose all contraception, but filed suit because the HHS mandate forces them to provide drugs and devices mislabeled by the FDA as ‘contraception’ but are actually known to have life-ending effects.”

Notably, advocates of these drugs and devices, including Dr. James Trussell of Princeton and the Guttmacher Institute, recently authored an article “Embracing post-fertilization methods of family planning: a call to action” in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. In the article, cited in our brief, they assert, “we should openly acknowledge” and even “celebrate” the post-fertilization, life-ending mechanisms of action of these drugs and devices.

In November, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the Conestoga case after the Third Circuit denied a Mennonite business owner a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the mandate. Simultaneously, the Court agreed to review the Hobby Lobby case after the Tenth Circuit granted the Hobby Lobby family business an injunction against the coercive HHS mandate. Although these cases come before the U.S. Supreme Court as one win and one loss for religious freedom, 52 of 59 lower federal court decisions on the merits of these cases have supported freedom of conscience.

Dr. Yoest noted: “In AUL’s two briefs, we continue the fight to preserve the freedom of conscience in the United States. It is a complete affront to the Constitution to force private companies to violate their conscientious beliefs in order to maintain and grow their businesses. This is truly the battle of our time to protect the liberties guaranteed to us over 200 years ago. And this Constitutional conflict should come as no surprise to anyone, as AUL and others repeatedly argued for conscience rights protections while the healthcare laws were being drafted by abortion advocates.”

Conestoga Wood Specialties is a Pennsylvania business owned by a Mennonite family and operated according to the owners’ Christian beliefs. Hobby Lobby is an Oklahoma-based national arts and crafts retailer founded and run by David Green and his family. The Greens attribute God’s grace for Hobby Lobby’s success and over the course of four decades of expansion the Green family’s Christian faith has remained an integral part of the business.

AUL’s brief, available here, demonstrates that the life of a new human being begins at fertilization (conception), that so-called “emergency contraception” has a post-fertilization effect that can prevent a new human being from implanting in the uterus, and that forcing employers to provide coverage for such drugs violates their constitutionally protected freedom of conscience.

The brief was filed on behalf of AUL’s clients, Drury Development Corporation, Drury Southwest, Inc., Drury Hotels Company, LLC, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Christian Medical Association, National Catholic Bioethics Center, Physicians for Life, National Association of Pro Life Nurses, and National Association of Catholic Nurses.

Click here to learn more about “The Con in Contraception” and life-affirming healthcare.

AUL Urges West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to Protect Mothers and their Unborn Children from Dangerous Late-Term Abortions

By Americans United for Life
Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

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“Protecting women and their unborn children from the ravages of unsafe abortions
should always be a bi-partisan effort,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-12-14) – Americans United for Life this week urged West Virginia Governor Ray Tomblin to protect mothers and their unborn children from the dangerous repercussions of late-term abortions, asking him to sign a bill already passed by Democratically-led state house and senate legislators. “Protecting women and their unborn children from the ravages of unsafe abortions should always be a bi-partisan effort,” said AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “We commend the state leaders in West Virginia who showed their concerns for women with this vote, and ask the governor to join them in this historic effort.”

In a letter provided to the governor and his staff, AUL General Counsel Ovide M. Lamontagne, J.D. discussed sometimes deadly abortion procedures that can have severe health complications for women after 5 months of pregnancy as well as causing pain for the unborn child.

“Limiting abortions at 20 weeks is not only constitutionally sound, but it also protects women from the harms inherent in later-term abortions,” noted Lamontagne.

“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 an abortion than she was in the first trimester.”

Click here to read the letter to Gov. Tomblin.

To learn more about the health risks of abortion for women, click here.

Taxpayers Continue to Oppose Big Abortion’s Move from Choice to Coercion When it Comes to Funding

By Americans United for Life
Thursday, March 6th, 2014

cnn poll

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-06-14) – Noting a CNN poll out today indicating that a clear majority of Americans oppose public funding of abortion, Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest urged lawmakers to enact measures, such as the “No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” recently passed by the U.S. House, as well as support on-going efforts related to the anti-life policies embedded in Obamacare. “Ending public funding of abortion is the most obvious common ground in America,” said Dr. Yoest. “This poll underscores the need to protect American taxpayers from coerced funding of abortion and life-ending drugs and devices. Given what we know about the dangerous, even deadly, impact of abortion on women and their unborn children, we must act to end the forced participation in taxpayer funding of Big Abortion.”

“Politically insulated and coddled by powerful, partisan friends and allies, the abortion lobby and its business interests have prospered on taxpayer funds and subsidies,” said Dr. Yoest. “Consider this, the nation’s largest abortion provider Planned Parenthood received more than $540 million in taxpayer monies, nearly half of its $1.2 billion in revenue. How many people realize that so many millions in taxpayer monies support the abortion industry leader? And how many people understand that coercive polices in Obamacare compel the support of a life-ending agenda, such as the HHS mandate?”

To learn more about the health risks of abortion for women, click here.

For more on how taxpayers fund Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, click here.

For more on AUL’s Women’s Protection Project, designed to protect both mother and child from abortion industry abuses, click here.

Nebraska Governor Signs Pregnancy Center Proclamation Honoring Woman-Centered Efforts

By Americans United for Life
Thursday, March 6th, 2014

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-06-14) – Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest commended Governor Dave Heineman who is scheduled to sign the “Pregnancy Center Proclamation” today to honor the work of woman-centered Pregnancy Resource Centers that equip pregnant women with options counseling, medical services, material assistance and support. The Proclamation was based on AUL model legislation. “Anchoring Americans United for Life’s Mother-Child strategy is our admiration and support for Pregnancy Resource Center volunteers who provide care and assistance to expectant mothers as they work through their options,” said Dr. Yoest.

Twelve pregnancy centers are expected to participate in Gov. Heineman’s signing ceremony in the Governor’s hearing room, part of a “Together for Life” event taking place today. AUL worked with five other organizations to honor the work of pregnancy centers in Nebraska including the Nebraska Family Alliance, Nebraska Catholic Conference, FreedMen, Lincoln Crisis Pregnancy Center, and Nebraskans United for Life.

In addition to the proclamation signing, the pregnancy center volunteers and pro-life leaders in attendance will be introduced to the Legislative body in the chamber, engaging in a day-long program designed to introduce them to office holders across the state.

“Abortion should come with a warning label,” said Dr. Yoest. “The dangers of this procedure for women both short and long term need to be addressed. And making a real difference in the lives of pregnant women today are the caring volunteers in pregnancy resource centers who journey with an expectant mother through all the decisions, addressing all the needs, and becoming friends along the way.”

To learn more about the health risks of abortion for women, click here.

African American Community Spearheads Legislative Efforts to Protect Women from Abortion Industry Abuses

By Americans United for Life
Thursday, February 13th, 2014

BgXnLKXCIAAEqANIn an attempt to protect Illinois women and girls from abortion industry abuses, a statewide coalition of black pastors, national and state leaders stood together on Thursday, pledging their efforts to win passage of two key pieces of legislation so that the death of a young Illinois woman will not be in vain. The coalition announced the Women’s Health and Safety Project, which will work for passage of, HB 5462, and HB 5463, aimed at curbing abortion industry abuses.

The state-wide effort launched in memory of Tonya Reaves, the 24-year-old African American mother who bled to death in July 2012, following a botched abortion at Planned Parenthood’s premier Michigan Avenue facility in Chicago. The Illinois Pastors’ Outreach Project formed in response to Tonya’s suffering as well as the suffering of the women in their community.

Rev. Ceasar LeFlore, Bishop Lance Davis, Illinois State Representatives Tom Morrison and Jeanne Ives, Dr. Ashley Harrell, Blacks Against Abortion Group, and distinguished members of the clergy stood together in Chicago’s Thompson Center, at a press conference pledging to work together on behalf of the women in their state.

AUL’s Vice President of Government Affairs Dan McConchie was at the press conference. “The importance of the partnership of women and the African American community in promoting these bills was not lost on the audience. This was an example of the community coming around women injured by abortion and declaring that this should never happen again.”

The laws seek to protect women from meeting Tonya’s horrific fate. HB 5462 requires that abortion facilities meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, and HB 5463 requires full informed consent about the risks of abortion before a woman can undergo the procedure.

Both of these outstanding bills will make strides in protecting the health of women in Illinois and saving lives. Abortion carried inherent risks to women and it ends the life of an unborn child. One in ten women are affected by an immediate complication from abortion.   Approximately one in five of these women face complications that could be life threatening. Tonya Reaves was one of these women, and Planned Parenthood was not equipped to handle the complication, which resulted in her death.

Americans United for Life commends the African American Community and Representatives Morrison and Ives for their leadership on behalf of Illinois women. We stand with these leaders and we look forward to doing what we can to ensure the enactment of this important legislation.

Oklahoma House Committee Approves Compassionate Perinatal Hospice Bill

By Americans United for Life
Friday, February 7th, 2014

nicu_babyThe Oklahoma House Committee on Public Health approved a perinatal hospice bill (OK HB 2685) to provide any woman seeking an abortion for an unborn child diagnosed with a fatal condition to be informed about perinatal hospice. It is partially based on Americans United for Life model legislation.

In those cases where an unborn child will not long survive birth, perinatal hospice offers loving support, both medical and social, to cope with the diagnosis. Beginning long before birth, perinatal hospice typically includes multiple ultrasounds so that parents can experience the life of their child to the fullest before birth.

After delivery the perinatal hospice seeks to allow the family optimum time with their child.  Parents and family members hold the baby and collect mementos such as hand and foot molds.  Healthcare providers emphasize the non-anomalous features of the baby and provide comfort and palliative care as needed.

Of the parents presented with the option of perinatal hospice, the vast majority opt to savor the few precious moments, days, or months with their baby in a loving and supportive environment. Just recently an Illinois family’s story about their decision to bring a their baby to term who had Trisomy 18 went viral worldwide along with pictures and video. Here’s the UK’s Daily Mail story.

The bill sponsor, Rep. Randy Grau, is a long-time friend of AUL and a stalwart leader in the protection of human life, from conception till natural death. His bill would provide a truly compassionate option for parents facing a life-limited prenatal diagnosis.

Should Oklahoma enact this legislation, it will join Arizona, Kansas, and Minnesota as states that offer parents a compassionate response to a horrifying diagnosis.

Click here for AUL’s Perinatal Hospice Information Act and other model legislation.

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