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Politico Pro on AUL’s Legal Symposium

Excerpt from Politico Pro

If Congress someday manages to pass a ban on sex-selective abortions, it could be an ideal vehicle for bringing the next direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, legal experts argued Thursday at a forum sponsored by Americans United for Life.
That’s because, according to University of St. Thomas law professor Michael Paulsen, “It turns on its head this perverted notion that abortion rights are needed to protect equality of the sexes” — which was one of the principles used to uphold Roe in the landmark 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
AUL convened Thursday’s forum, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Casey ruling, just as the House was preparing to vote on a sex-selective abortion ban proposed by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). Though it got votes from the majority of the House, it failed to pass because it was brought up under rules requiring a two-thirds majority.
Enacting narrowly crafted abortion restrictions has become the foundation of the anti-abortion movement’s legal strategy in the years since Casey, explained AUL President Charmaine Yoest. Even though Roe remains law, she said, these limited restrictions are a way of “carefully and systematically moving towards a post-Roe era.”
If the time has come to challenge Roe head-on once again, she suggested that a case involving a sex-selective abortion ban could have an important virtue. The Casey ruling argued that Roe should be upheld in part because abortion is key to ensuring women’s economic and social equality — but laws primarily designed to protect “unborn women being targeted by abortion,” she said, could help make the case to the court that “women are the ones who suffer” by keeping abortion legal.
Congress would not have to enact such a law in order to set up this kind of legal challenge. Four states currently have similar provisions on the books, and bills are pending in 13 more.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was confronted with the logic the AUL speakers outlined during a press gaggle Thursday afternoon.