“Casey ranks among the worst Supreme Court decisions in our history, but a refocused and persistent pro-life movement crafted a legal strategy that transformed the landscape of American abortion policy in the last two decades,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (05-31-12) – “Confronted by a significant setback when the Supreme Court reaffirmed abortion on demand in the Casey decision twenty years ago, the pro-life movement refocused our efforts with a sophisticated legal strategy that is carefully and systematically moving us toward a post-Roe era,” said Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest on Thursday, during AUL’s legal symposium “Deconstructing Casey.” In advance of the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, AUL brought together leading legal scholars to analyze the impact of that pivotal ruling on abortion-related laws today.

AUL is uniquely positioned to analyze Casey: as the legal arm of the pro-life movement, AUL has a track record of pro-life victories achieved in part by strategic use of Casey and evidenced by AUL’s model legislation, available in Defending Life, now in its 7th edition.

During a panel discussion, Dr. Yoest observed that there are only three states in the country that have not passed abortion limitations in the aftermath of the Casey decision.  “The map of abortion-related regulations is now a patchwork quilt of laws defending life across the country. These victories reflect the concerted work of committed pro-life legislators, and pro-life Americans, determined to restore a culture of life in America.  Our state-by-state progress is effectively overturning the substance of Roe, despite the Casey decision’s failure to do so.”

Dr. Yoest headed the distinguished panel, which was moderated by AUL’s William Saunders, J.D., and addressed the following concerns with Casey’s current impact on the law:

From Michael Stokes Paulsen, J.D. Distinguished University Chair & Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas, in Minneapolis, MN, scholar, author, speaker

“Like Roe before it, Casey recognized an essentially absolute constitutional right to obtain or commit an abortion of a human life – that is, a right to kill a living human embryo or fetus. That right has no basis in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution.  In Casey, a majority of the Court appeared to concede that Roe v.Wade had been a fundamentally illegitimate decision, yet decided to adhere to it anyway, with full awareness of its moral and human consequences, for the petty stated purpose of preserving public perceptions of the Court’s authority and prestige.  Casey thus stands as the most craven, most deliberate, most intentionally lawless act of judicial violence in our nation’s history, worse even than its nearest rival, the Court’s infamous 1857 decision in Dred Scott.”

From Erika Bachiochi, J.D. Former Bradley Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Religion and Politics at Boston College, author, speaker

“We are told by abortion rights legal scholars, Justice Ginsburg foremost among them, that women can only reach their full potential, can only achieve social and economic equality with men, if we have widespread access to abortion. But this equality argument for abortion rights sets up the male–wombless–body as the norm for gender equality–a view that has actually impeded women’s authentic social equality because it casts pregnancy and motherhood as a burden and threat to women’s progress. Ordinary women and men don’t see their equality with one another diminished by women’s unique capacity for childbearing…”

From Clarke Forsythe, J.D. Senior Counsel for Americans United for Life, author, Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of the Supreme Court’s Creation of the Right to Abortion (forthcoming 2013):

“One of the most important aspects of the Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey is also one of the most overlooked:  the Justices changed their rationale for abortion rights from history to sociology–the reliance interests of women in abortion as a back up to failed contraception.  The “reliance interests” are undercut by a number of facts that have become clearer in the 20 years since the Casey decision. If Roe was overturned today, abortion would be legal in 42-43 states tomorrow, simply because there are no enforceable prohibitions in those states.  In addition, there have been dozens of medical studies from countries around the globe showing that abortion threatens women’s health and that abortion has significant long-term risks.”

For more on Casey, click here.