Press Releases


Entries in Abortion (304)


AUL Action Calls for NO Vote on Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals 

Halligan "is unqualified to sit on such a prestigious court because of her conduct in office, using her position in state government to advance radical, pro-abortion legal theories against the constitutional rights of pro-life citizens," said AULA's Dr. Yoest. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (03-01-13) – Americans United for Life Action President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest called for the U.S. Senate to vote no on cloture on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in what will be a scored vote on life. “Halligan shows signs of being the quintessential judicial activist,” noted Dr. Yoest.  “She is unqualified to sit on such a prestigious court because of her conduct in office, using her position in state government to advance radical, pro-abortion legal theories  against the constitutional rights of pro-life citizens."  

Cloture is likely to be filed on her nomination, followed by a vote next week.

Halligan’s abortion activism came to light when she used her position as Solicitor General for the state of New York to bring the weight of her office against peaceful pro-life protestors. In 2002, in the Supreme Court case of NOW v. Scheidler, Halligan attempted to squash the First Amendment rights of private citizens who opposed abortion, and tried to intimidate and bankrupt them by expanding the reach of the federal Hobbs Act and the federal civil RICO (racketeering) law. Halligan urged the Supreme Court to adopt NOW’s unprecedented legal theory that public protest that diminished the business of abortion clinics constituted federal “extortion.”

 For 10 years, from 1985 to 1995, AUL was co-counsel for Joseph Scheidler in NOW v. Scheidler and thereafter filed amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court against the expansion of Hobbs Act extortion and RICO, defending the constitutional rights of Americans to peacefully assemble and peacefully protest.

Halligan’s role in the case was extraordinary because she attempted to persuade the Supreme Court that the history of New York law was essential to a proper interpretation of the Hobbs Act/RICO and that her position at Solicitor General of New York gave her special insight and influence in interpreting New York’s extortion law.

The Supreme Court threw out the case twice and eventually rejected Halligan’s position 8-1.  Even Justice Ginsburg, the most liberal member of the Court, authored a concurring opinion rejecting Halligan’s attempt to stretch the Hobbs Act to apply to abortion protestors.  Ginsburg wrote, “The Court is rightly reluctant, as I see it, to extend RICO’s domain further by endorsing the expansive definition of ‘extortion.’

“Halligan admittedly ‘provided substantial assistance’ in filing the brief on behalf of New York and inserting herself into this effort to sever pro-life Americans from their Constitutional rights,” said Dr. Yoest. “Her willingness to twist laws--designed to confront organized crime--against peaceful protestors demonstrates why Americans United for Life Action is calling for a NO vote. The Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade wrongly took the issue of life out of the hands of voters through an activist court. Halligan’s nomination represents the possibility of further judicial activism on abortion, and she must not be allowed to receive a lifetime appointment to the Court of Appeals.”

AULA will send a letter to members of the U.S. Senate to urge a NO vote on cloture on Halligan’s nomination.


AUL Action is the legislative action arm of Americans United for Life, a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision since 1971 is a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law. AULA played an important role during the Health Care Reform debates because of its opposition to taxpayer funded abortion, which included pivotal advertising campaigns in 14 congressional districts and extensive work on Capitol Hill. AULA's efforts during the last two Supreme Court confirmation events led to Dr. Yoest being asked to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee twice. 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.


AUL - Protect Your Constitutional Rights 

Dear Friend of Life,

The Obama Administration keeps trampling on our religious liberties. Attacking the Freedom of Conscience of Americans could now be called its modus operandi.

Don’t be fooled. The Administration’s new purposed “faith exception” to the HHS Mandate does nothing to protect our First Amendment Rights... as the legal team at Americans United for Life (our sister organization) quickly pointed out, it amounts to nothing less than a phony compromise - an all out assault on our conscience rights and religious liberties!

AUL Action is working hard to expose this assault and defend our First Amendment Freedoms. Pro-life employers and employees, Christian colleges, and the family-run businesses of religious persons are just a few of the many groups who remain in the Obama Administration’s pro-abortion crosshairs.

We can't let them get away with this! Follow this link to help us fight back with a contribution of $50, $100, $250, or more for life!

If this assault on our Constitutional rights doesn’t stop, you and thousands of like-minded pro-life citizens may soon be forced to pay for other’s abortion drugs and devices.

This is why we are involved in EIGHT court cases this Spring to defend the Freedom of Conscience.

In the next few months, AUL is filing amicus curiae briefs in EIGHT federal circuit court cases across the nation and AULA will be raising public awareness of this appalling assault. These EIGHT cases include: 

  • Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius (10th Circuit)
  • Catholic Diocese of Nashville v. Sebelius (6th Circuit)
  • Grote Industries LLC v. Sebelius (7th Circuit)
  • Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc v. HHS (7th Circuit)
  • Autocom Corp v. Sebelius (6th Circuit)
  • Newland v. Sebelius (10th Circuit)
  • Annex Medical, Inc. v. Sebelius (8th Circuit)
  • Weingartz Supply Co. v. Sebelius (6th Circuit)

But we can't fully fund this pro-life work without an infusion of funds, and that's why I'm writing to you today.

So please follow this link to help us fight back with a contribution of $50, $100, $250, or more. Contribute to life!

Let's send a clear message to President Obama, Planned Parenthood and the Big Abortion lobby: forcing people to pay for insurance covering life-ending drugs is not healthcare for women!

AULUntil all are welcomed in life and protected in law,
Charmaine Yoest
Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Americans United for Life Action

P.S. Our religious liberties are guaranteed by the Constitution, but this phony compromise to the HHS mandate proves the Obama Administration doesn't care. If allowed to continue, pro-lifers and people of faith may be forced to pay for insurance that covers life-ending drugs, like ella, against their will. So please follow this link to help us fight back with a contribution of $50, $100, $250, or more. Thanks - Charmaine


Americans United for Life Action


                                                        655 15th St NW | Ste 410 | Washington, DC 20005

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.