AUL - What's Next for Planned Parenthood?

In This Issue: The New Yorker discusses what's next for Planned Parenthood and the Supreme Court will decide a case involving the rights of posthumously conceived children.

From the New Yorker:
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What’s Next for Planned Parenthood?


In the prestigious and often left-leaning New Yorker, writer Jill Lepore this week examined Planned Parenthood’s current political dilemmas – and the organizations, such as Americans United for Life, that are giving it a run for its money. Looking at numerous pro-life actions taken over the last year, Lepore writes, “The campaign against Planned Parenthood has been unrelenting.”

Planned Parenthood’s recent troubles began earlier this year with the Live Action undercover videos produced by Lila Rose, said Lepore. The New Yorker noted “Charmaine Yoest, who heads Americans United for Life, has called Rose ‘the Upton Sinclair of this generation.’”

In a scholarly tone, Lepore recounts the history of Planned Parenthood from her perspective, noting that the heavy-handed Roe v. Wade ruling has done some damage to the cultural debate over both abortion and birth control.

“’Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, politics will never get better,’ New York Times Columnist David Brooks has written, insisting, ‘Justice Harry Blackmun did more inadvertent damage to our democracy than any other 20th century American.’”

Included in her comprehensive analysis of the last year is a look at AUL’s release of “The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood,” under the direction of Dr. Yoest.

Lepore writes, “Yoest, who is warm and friendly and smart and a mother of five, has a Ph.D. in politics from the University of Virginia, her dissertation examined parental-leave policy and gender equity in the academy.” She heads AUL after a number of high-level, political positions, noted the writer.

 Lepore attended the July Capitol Hill news conference in which Dr. Yoest and eight members of Congress called for an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of taxpayer dollars. Quoting news conference co-chair, Rep. Renee Ellmers, Lepore noted, “The issue today is, Should American taxpayer dollars be going to pay for abortion?”

Lepore’s 16-page analysis of Planned Parenthood’s very bad year is currently available on newsstands or click here.

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U.S. Supreme Court to tackle health care reform and the implications of assisted reproductive technologies

Supreme CourtThe current U.S. Supreme Court session is proving to be an exciting one, noted AUL attorney Mailee Smith this week in an analysis of recent events at the U.S. Supreme Court.  In addition to granting review of healthcare reform cases on Monday, the Court also granted review in Capato v. Astrue—a case involving the rights of posthumously conceived children.

In this world of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), the facts of this case are all too common.  Mr. Capato, facing chemotherapy for esophageal cancer that could render him sterile, deposited semen in a sperm bank, where it was frozen and stored.  Shortly after his death in 2002, Mrs. Capato began in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the sperm of her late husband.  She conceived, and gave birth to twins 18 months after his death.

While the facts of the case are fascinating, the bottom line is that the Social Security Administration denied Mrs. Capato’s application for surviving child’s insurance benefits on behalf of the twins.  The case has moved through the federal courts, and will now be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

AUL has not taken a stance on whether posthumously conceived children are entitled to social security benefits, and the issue involves analyses of state inheritance rights and insurance benefits.  But these cases demonstrate yet another area where technology has vastly outpaced the law.

For more analysis of these cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, click here.

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Saunders in Vienna
Bill Saunders in Vienna

This month, AUL’s Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel, William Saunders, addressed a conference in Vienna, Austria, with the theme “law and democracy.”  Saunders spoke about the laws in the U.S., particularly Supreme Court precedents, addressing very broad freedoms of expression (including picketing, which combines speech and conduct).  The audience was composed of young leaders, lawyers and others, from Central Europe and the Balkans, coming together to consider their laws in light of U.S. experience. Saunders' reputation on international Human Rights issues made him the choice for this prestigious assignment.

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Personhood In the News
Clarke Forsythe

Clarke Forsythe

The hotly debated personhood amendment defeated in Mississippi last week was a subject of massive media attention and analysis. Writers and editors took note of AUL’s expertise in evaluating the effectiveness of laws and initiatives, turning to AUL Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe for his perspective on the Personhood movement, both historical and in Mississippi.

For a look at AUL’s massive coverage on the topic, click here.

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In the News

Saunders was featured this week in the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, winner of the 2010 First Place Award for Excellence by the Catholic Press Association. The publication out now features a column from Saunders that details developments at the state, national and international levels affecting the inviolability of human life (including abortion, bioethics and end-of-life issues).
To read Saunders’ analysis, click here.