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Looking Back, Looking Forward: Pro-life Strategy and Jurisprudence for the 21st Century

Last Friday, Advocates for Life, AUL’s new initiative for pro-life law students across the country, in conjunction with Columbia Law Students for Life, sponsored a daylong legal symposium, “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Pro-life Strategy and Jurisprudence for the 21st Century.” The symposium examined some of the most dynamic and evolving areas of abortion law to offer an in-depth look on how current controversies fit into pro-life jurisprudence and how their resolution will impact the pro-life movement.

As abortion has become the fundamental human rights issue of our time, a panel appropriately addressed the history of abortion law in America and how to successfully overturn these laws. Dwight Duncan, professor at the University of Massachusetts School of Law, “looked back” tracing the history of abortion law in the United States. Clarke Forsythe, Senior Counsel with Americans United for Life, discussed the best strategies to end abortion moving forward. You can listen to part of Mr. Forsythe’s talk here.
Alliance Defense Fund’s Matt Bowman and Steve Aden, as well as Pierro Tozzi, formerly with the Catholic Family and Human Right’s Institute, addressed “Legalized Abortion in the Medical Profession: Protecting the Conscience Rights of Health Care Providers.”

Columbia Law professor Carol Sanger and University of St. Thomas Law professor Teresa Collett debated whether fetal ultrasound requirements present an undue burden on women seeking an abortion, or whether these laws are necessary for women to be fully informed before consenting to an abortion procedure.
Other highlights of the day’s speakers included William Saunders, Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs at AUL, and Pierro Tozzi, formerly with the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. They addressed abortion law beyond our borders. You can listen to some of Mr. Saunder’s talk on the “ABCs of an International Right to Abortion” here.

Professor Mark Rienzi, from Catholic University School of Law, and Christopher A. Ferrera, from the American Catholic Lawyers Association spoke on the First Amendment rights of sidewalk counselors, an important topic for many Americans.

A panel focusing on what pro-life lawyers and law students can practically do for the pro-life movement featured Amy Uehlmen, professor of law at Fordham University School of Law, Mark Rienzi, professor of law at Catholic University School of Law, and Kellie Fiedorek, with Americans United for Life.

The day closed with a reception, where Dr. Charmaine Yoest gave the keynote address. She challenged the attorneys and law students to awaken Americans to the reality that Roe v. Wade is built on the premise that women need abortion in order to succeed. Dr. Yoest encouraged those present that we are winning the culture battle in America and she inspired the audience with her closing words to “be advocates for life.”

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