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AUL - Chipping Away at Reproductive Rights, and Proud of it

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This is a long article but it's very worth reading the whole thing. I've quoted some sections that are particularly chilling/egregious. It centers on anti-abortion activist Charmain Yoest and her organization, Americans United for Life, or AUL. Charmaine Yoest and AUL were behind 22 of 86 antiabortion laws passed this year.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/20 ... -new-voice

Ms. Crouse says the family was never issue-focused when Ms. Yoest was a child, and that abortion was not a topic of conversation in the house. Faith was viewed first and foremost as the critical foundation for living "authentic lives" and treating friends and strangers alike with kindness. Ms. Yoest says she has never had an abortion and that she would never consider it. But when it comes to prevention of unwanted pregnancy it's worth noting that she is less forthcoming. Contraception is not part of the AUL platform. And abortion foes often disengage on this question – because the use of birth control suggests sexual activity that is not purely procreative. For her part, Yoest bristles when asked about her personal use of it. She says she believes there should exist some "zones of personal privacy."

Yoest does note that the stresses she and her husband endured during her fourth pregnancy added nuance to her thinking about the politics – and humanity – of the abortion issue; he was out of a job, finances were tight, and they had to sell their home.

"You could search and search and search and never find me minimizing the choice that some women make, because I do completely understand the panic, the fear of how are you ever going to be able to handle the situation," she says.

But what about rape? Or when a mother's life is at risk as a result of the pregnancy?

In the case of the former, Ms. Yoest says that she is sorry for the pain of the mother. But heaping tragedy on tragedy is no solution. Abortion, she says, "only adds more irrevocable sorrow."

And in the latter circumstance: "If a woman is facing a pregnancy that threatens her life, I would make sure she knew a real pro-life doctor who would treat her and her baby as two patients," she says. "If a baby dies in the process of trying to save a mother's life, as long as the intention is to save both lives, then there is no moral system in the world that sees that as equal to elective abortion."

Yoest says she believes, and she points to data her adversaries would readily dismiss, that the majority of women who have abortions regret their decisions and that there exists a heightened risk of drug and alcohol dependence, suicide and psychiatric admissions for women who have had an abortion, and increased risk of premature birth for later pregnancies.

"Every single human being has crisis points in their lives, you have to come to grips with that," she says. "You have to figure out how to put your life back together and move forward. The thing that's exciting to me about pregnancy is that even in the most awful circumstances, there's a redemptive opportunity and a hope that comes from new life."

I love how no one else should have privacy or the right to make their own decisions, but she doesn't want to talk about her own choices.

When a pro-abortion rights president is in the White House, the push at the state level is always more intense, observes Jordan Goldberg, state advocacy counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York. But she says she is "deeply troubled and of course angered by the agenda" AUL and others are pursuing.

"I don't know that I would be too proud of it if I were them," she says of AUL's collection of model bills. Ms. Goldberg says legislation passed so far this year – including AUL-backed clinic regulations so restrictive that in Kansas, for example, all three abortion providers would have had to close their doors – make it impossible for women to access the range of health-care services they need.

Not only will they stop women from having access to abortions, they'll take away STI screening and treatment, pap smears, and mammograms, too, if at all possible. No matter how warm and fuzzy the image they project is, these people are not pro-life.

There is a divide in the antiabortion movement, meanwhile, about this approach. Some believe officials should strive to overturn Roe v. Wade – and that anything less is missing the point. Others, including Yoest, suggest that in the short term they can do much to reduce the number of abortions performed by pushing these types of initiatives and cuts to funding of Planned Parenthood, among other proposals. Avoiding a Supreme Court fight – where a decision about abortion would probably fall to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who signaled in a 2007 ruling that he has hesitation about later-term procedures but whose commitment is not yet clear – has strategic benefits.

AUL has avoided involvement in some of the bills that, if challenged, could get batted down by the nation's highest court. Among them, a South Dakota measure requiring women to wait 72 hours for an abortion. The initiative also requires a visit to a crisis pregnancy center where a woman would be advised of her alternatives. A judge has imposed a temporary injunction.

Yoest says this of her group's incrementalist strategy: "You don't have to overturn Roe to actually make progress at the state level." One option is to let Roe "crumble under its own weight and become irrelevant," she says.

Chip, chip, chip.

The antiabortion movement is having success in dictating the national conversation about abortion, says Kathryn Kolbert, the civil rights attorney who successfully argued the landmark 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey before the Supreme Court. Ms. Kolbert views the initiatives being pushed by AUL and others as "totally draconian," including, she says, a relentless push to defund Planned Parenthood, an effort AUL renewed in July with gusto. With half a dozen GOP members of Congress by her side, Yoest issued a report – titled The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood – suggesting that lawmakers worried about the debt ceiling and America's fiscal crisis shouldn't be providing public tax dollars to an abortion provider.

And more removal of womens' access to health care, despite the fact that zero tax dollars go to Planned Parenthood to provide abortions. This is blatant dishonesty and fear mongering. The infinitesimal amount of government funding that PP receives is not what is dragging the economy down. It is saving womens' lives, but AUL doesn't care about that.

AUL has a plan and it's working.

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