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Entries in Abortion (297)


AUL - Defending Freedom of Conscience 

Defending Freedom of Conscience

In response to the February 1, 2013 notice of proposed rulemaking from HHS, there will be a 60 day period for public comment on new proposed rules governing the “HHS Mandate,” which requires most employers to provide insurance coverage for life-ending drugs and devices.  AUL Action attorneys will be submitting written comments, and we will be encouraging and providing guidance to our grassroots supporters so that they can also stand up in defense of Freedom of Conscience.  AUL Action President and CEO, Dr. Charmaine Yoest calls the proposed rules a “phony compromise” which, in many important ways, provide less protection than the current version of the rules.  For our full legal analysis, read here.

Meanwhile, challenges to the HHS mandate continue in the courts, where there are currently 44 lawsuits involving more than 130 plaintiffs.  This Spring, AUL will file eight amicus curiae briefs in circuit courts across the nation to defend the Freedom of Conscience.

Members of Congress will be in their home district offices this week.  Please make a point to see them and tell them to fix the conscience-compromising issues in Obamacare.  Find out your member's office location via Govtrack.



In the States

Recently, AUL experts have promoted legislation protecting Freedom of Conscience in Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia.

In 2013, AUL has a bold plan to protect women and empower families.  Our Defending Life Strategic Initiatives Pre-Release is now available for download from


Read more.


 Attorney Spotlight:
Clarke Forsythe, J.D.

Clarke Forsythe is currently Senior Counsel for AUL, having served at AUL for twenty-eight years.  Forsythe has argued cases before federal and state courts and has testified before Congress and state legislatures. He is also a prolific writer on pro-life legal issues, having published more than 15 law review articles and book chapters, as well as articles in First Things, the Wall Street Journal, and National Review Online. He has also been published or quoted in The New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Wall Street Journal.  

Read more.


In the News

Denise Burke, Vice President of Legal Affairs, in the Christian Post.


Upcoming events:

Later this month three of our attorneys, William Saunders, Denise Burke, and Anna Franzonello, will be speaking at the annual research and strategy meeting of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) in Washington, D.C.


AUL - Phony Compromise 

Freedom of Conscience


Above:Dr. Charmaine Yoest & the AUL Legal Team.

On Monday, February 4, Americans United for Life filed our third amicus curiae brief supporting legal challenges to the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional “HHS mandate.” AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest noted “The Obama Administration is violating the American freedom of conscience by forcing private businesses to either pay for abortion-inducing drugs or risk going out of business. This is an unconstitutional overreach which tramples on the American Dream.”

AUL filed the brief before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Cyril Korte v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on behalf of Drury Development Corporation, Drury Southwest, Inc., and Drury Hotels Company, LLC, and six national medical associations including the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons and the Catholic Medical Association.  The Drury family of companies employs over 3,400 full-time employees. Read more.

On February 1 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) governing its mandate that employers provide insurance that covers (without a co-pay) life-ending drugs and devices such as ella. In response, AUL President and CEO, Dr. Charmaine Yoest called NPRM a “phony compromise.”  AUL Staff Counsel, Anna Franzonello also noted in her legal analysis that the “NPRM is even narrower than the protections it had previously entertained.”  She explains that the proposed “accommodation” fails to consider for-profits and non-religiously-affiliated organizations as worthy of the accommodation or an exemption. AUL continues to defend freedom of conscience, planning to file at least six more amicus curiae briefs in support of on-going challenges to the HHS mandate this spring.  

Read AUL’s response to the new proposed HHS rules.

Read Legal Analysis.


In the States

AUL continues to protect against prenatal discrimination as Missouri and North Dakota legislatures reintroduced our model ban on sex-selection abortions last week. This bill prohibits abortions for reasons of gender or genetic abnormality, ensuring that we build an inclusive community of citizens which welcomes all people regardless of gender or perceived abilities. Read more.

In line with an integral part of AUL’s strategic plan to empower families, Oklahoma has introduced a bill to enhance its parental consent law.  If passed, this will be one of the strongest parental involvement laws in the nation. Read more.


 2013 Life List


The annual AUL Life List continues to drive pro-life state policies.  Dan McConchie, Vice President of Government Affairs, was quoted in Bloomberg recently on the influence of the Life List stating, “We actually have states competing with each other to be the most protective in the country.” Read full article here.


 Attorney Spotlight:
Mailee Smith, Staff Counsel for Americans United for Life

Ms. Smith’s abortion-related areas of expertise include informed consent, ultrasound requirements, abortion bans, and medically-appropriate regulation of Mifeprex (the RU-486 regime). She also brings legal expertise to the area of bioethics, such as bans on or regulation of destructive embryo research, human cloning, and human egg harvesting.

Mailee also works on AUL’s amicus curiae briefs.  AUL’s most recent brief on behalf of Drury Hotels and six national medical associations defends freedom of conscience against the threats inherent in the HHS mandate. 

Read more.



In the News


Staff Counsel, Anna Franzonello in Politico.

VP of Government Affairs, Dan McConchie in a Bloomberg article. 


  On the Horizon 


AUL continues to protect freedom of conscience and plans to file at least six briefs this spring in challenges to the HHS mandate.  Currently, the American people have brought more than 40 legal challenges to the mandate involving more than 110 plaintiffs. 



AUL - Watch Video of AUL's Roe Symposium 

Roe Symposium Video Now Online

Our recent symposium, The Future of Roe: Women, Health and Law in the Obama Era is now available on our website.

This symposium, held January 24, 2013 at the National Press Club, examines the political, medical and legal impacts of abortion on women and American culture.  Distinguished speakers include Americans United for Life President and CEO, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, commentator Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard; Gerard Bradley of Notre Dame Law School; Dr. Monique Chireau of Duke University School of Medicine; Dr. Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University; Dr. Donna Harrison, Director of Research and Public Policy for AAPLOG; Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Institute; Helen Alvaré of George Mason Law School; Laura Garcia of Boston College; and a special message by disabilities spokesperson, Joni Eareckson Tada.


AUL Demands Real 1st Amendment Protections as HHS releases "Phony Compromise" Regulations in Obamacare

“The Obama Administration is trying to gerrymander the regulations but continues to leave most Americans without their Constitutional freedoms,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (2/1/13) – “With another phony compromise, the Obama Administration continues to insult the intelligence of the American people and trample our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights,” said AUL’s President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest, as the Health and Human Services Department released additional regulations for Obamacare. “Our Freedom of Conscience, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment has been violated by Obamacare and these new regulations do not resolve the offense.” At issue are Obamacare mandates which force Americans to purchase insurance coverage for life-ending drugs and devices mislabeled as contraception as well as engage in other abortion-related activities.

“Today’s phony compromise from Health and Human Services only serves to illustrate the problem with Obamacare,” said Dr. Yoest. “The Obama Administration is trying to gerrymander the regulations but continues to leave most Americans without their Constitutional freedoms. The regulation is clear that the Obama Administration’s intent is to limit religious liberty to houses of worship. Meanwhile Christian universities, for-profit businesses - like the Bible publisher Tyndale and Hobby Lobby - or individuals are still forced to subsidize Big Abortion. The Obama Administration’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) violates the First Amendment Conscience rights of Americans, and that must be stopped.”

More detailed analysis of the regulations will be available within the hour at

As the pro-life source of model legislation, AUL developed an opt-out bill that has been used by eight of the 18 states that have opted-out of offering insurance plans that cover abortion in the state Exchanges required under Obamacare. AUL has also filed amicus briefs in the following on-going cases, arguing that parts of Obamacare are not Constitutional because of violations of First Amendment Conscience Rights: Belmont Abbey College v. Sebelius, Wheaton College v. Sebelius, Nebraska v. Sebelius, and O’Brien v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  In addition, AUL filed a joint brief with other pro-life allies in United States Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida before the United States Supreme Court. For more on AUL’s efforts to protect Conscience rights, click here to learn more and view a unique video, “Who put THE CON in contraception?”

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Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971.

AUL's legal team has been involved in every abortion-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court including the successful defense of the Hyde Amendment. AUL also publishes Defending Life, the most comprehensive state-by-state legal guide of its kind, which is distributed annually to legislators across the nation.

Recently, Americans United for Life detailed the facts on taxpayer-funding of abortion during the debate over federal health care legislation, provided legal assistance to states working to opt out of abortion provisions created by federal health care law, and has played a major role in educating policymakers on the record of President Obama’s then-nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.


AUL Releases 2013 Life List, Honoring New Life Leaders as AUL Legislative Models Make their Mark in the 50 States 


Also Out on the 40th Anniversary of Roe: AUL Life List All Stars Commend Legislative Achievements in 2012

“This analysis of cumulative successes across the country illustrates the effectiveness of AUL’s models, laying the foundation for rolling back and reversing Roe v. Wade,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (1/17/2013) – Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest released AUL’s annual “Life List,” a well-respected ranking of the 50 states based on their on-going legal efforts to create and sustain a culture of life. While the “Life List” notes legislative accomplishments from the previous year, it also takes into account each state’s cumulative record in defending and protecting the lives of their citizens – from conception to natural death.

THE 2013 LIFE LIST honors the accomplishments of the top ten most pro-life states: 1. Louisiana, 2. Oklahoma, 3. Pennsylvania, 4. Arkansas, 5. Arizona, 6. Nebraska, 7. Indiana, 8. Missouri, 9. Georgia, 10. Virginia. To view the complete list, click here.

Most improved this year was Arizona, moving from No. 14 to No. 5 as a result of becoming the first to enact AUL’s groundbreaking “Women’s Health Protection Act,” prohibiting abortions at or after 20 weeks gestation based on growing medical evidence of the risks of late-term abortions on women’s health as well as the pain experienced by an unborn child.

dl_new1.jpg“Americans United for Life has been leading the way in innovative legislation that protects women and girls from a profit-hungry Big Abortion industry, bloated with taxpayer dollars,” said Dr. Yoest. “I predict that we’ll see a large number of bills this year that also work to protect the First Amendment Freedom of all Americans who do not want to be forced into business with Big Abortion.”

AUL is the premier source for innovative, life-affirming legislation and will soon release Defending Life, its annual guidebook on abortion, bioethics, healthcare freedom of conscience, and the end of life, which includes AUL’s cutting-edge model legislation. Supported by this innovative tool, AUL was active in 8 of the top 10 states including: Oklahoma (#2), Arkansas (#4), Arizona (#5), Nebraska (#6), Indiana (#7), Missouri (#8), Georgia (#9), and Virginia (#10). Nationally, AUL helped enact 19 pro-life bills in 2012.

“LIFE LIST” ALL STARS: New this year, the AUL Life List All Stars commend legislative contributions during the 2012 state sessions. With outstanding track records of pro-life successes, the AUL All Stars are Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, Virginia, and South Carolina.

  • Arizona became the first state to enact AUL’s “Women’s Health Defense Act,” prohibiting abortions at or after 20-weeks gestation based on the well-documented dangers of late-term abortions to women’s health and the pain experienced by unborn children.
  • Georgia enacted a prohibition on abortions at or after 20-weeks gestation and revised the state’s reporting requirements for late-term abortions, requiring an abortion provider to report the medical diagnosis that necessitated the procedure. Georgia also enacted a measure that includes abortion clinics, or “reproductive healthcare facilities,” in the definition of mandatory reporters for suspected child sexual abuse. 
  • New Hampshire legislators overrode Governor John Lynch’s veto of a prohibition on partial-birth abortion, joining 19 other states that have also banned the dangerous and grisly practice.
  • Virginia enacted an ultrasound requirement that is based, in substantial part, on AUL’s model language.  Recognizing that the performance of an ultrasound is the “gold standard” of patient care, the measure requires the performance of an ultrasound before an abortion and that the woman be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound and have it explained to her.
  • South Carolina became the eighth state to enact AUL’s “Abortion-Mandate Opt-Out Act,” prohibiting insurance plans that cover abortions from participating in any Exchanges (required to be operational in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”) operating within the state.

For more on the AUL All Star track records of 2012 successes, click here.

The 2012 state legislative year produced significant victories for Life across the United States, building on 2011’s historic progress and laying the groundwork for future victories in 2013 and beyond.  Through its state representatives and other significant relationships with state-based allies, AUL actively worked in 39 states to enact life-affirming laws and to defeat anti-life initiatives.  In 2012, AUL realized several important victories for life, including the enactment of 19 life-affirming laws.

TRENDS IN LEGISLATION: In 2012, the most popular abortion-related legislative measures included prohibitions on government funding and insurance coverage for abortion, legislation and resolutions related to pregnancy care centers, informed consent for abortion, ultrasound requirements, restrictions or regulations on abortion-inducing drugs and so-call “telemed” abortions, and abortion clinic regulations and other abortion provider requirements.

Importantly, there was a nearly 40 percent increase in the number of measures introduced to protect healthcare freedom of conscience.  Moreover, as a result of a substantial increase in the number of bills related to pain management and palliative care, measures related to end-of-life issues increased nearly two-fold.

For more on AUL’s “Life List” and the “Life List” All Stars as well as for information on Defending Life’s model legislation, click here.

Join Us in Washington, D.C. as We Remember 40 years of Roe v. Wade


Please click here for more information.