A profile of Americans United for Life by Kate Sheppard appears in the September/October 2012 issue of Mother Jones.
Its team of lawyers has written dozens of model bills, which are collected in a playbook, Defending Life, and delivered to every state and federal legislator.
All told, 92 anti-abortion restrictions were passed throughout the country last year, an all-time record; AUL can claim credit for 24 new laws. So far in 2012, 13 laws promoted by AUL or based on its model legislation have been passed. Invasive vaginal ultrasounds in Virginia? That was AUL’s bill. Trying to shut down all the abortion clinics in Kansas? That was AUL, too.
“Our model legislation enables legislators to easily introduce bills without needing to research and write the bills themselves,” AUL’s website boasts.
After further in-depth discussion of some pieces of model legislation , The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood is discussed:
Indeed, AUL’s greatest success may be its push to take down America’s largest abortion provider. In July 2011, AUL released “The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood,” a 174-page report detailing dozens of alleged abuses, ranging from poor patient care to the misuse of federal funds. Two months later, the House Energy and Commerce Committee started looking into Planned Parenthood’s “compliance with federal restrictions on the funding of abortion.” A spokesman for Rep. Cliff Stearns, the Florida Republican heading the investigation, confirmed that the AUL report was a contributing factor in the decision to launch the probe. (AUL’s legislative arm gives Stearns a 100 percent pro-life vote rating.) Stearns’ investigation, in turn, inspired Susan G. Komen for the Cure to cut funding for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics.
Sheppard closes with the following:
Ultimately, AUL would like to see the Supreme Court legally enshrine its restrictions—all in the name of protecting women. “It’s really, really critical that we start establishing this in the legislative record,” Yoest tells me. “Repeatedly, the Supreme Court has turned away from the threat that abortion poses for the baby, because the Supreme Court has said repeatedly they’re concerned about the woman. So we basically want to say to the court, ‘We share your concern for women. You need to look at the fact that abortion itself harms women.'”
There are some updated statistics since the article was written as it relates to the number of bills passed so far this year.
From the article:
So far in 2012, 13 laws promoted by AUL or based on its model legislation have been passed.
The facts on 2012 so far from an AUL blog post last week:
They said it couldn’t be done. Pro-abortion commentators were convinced that the sweeping pro-life achievements of 2011 could not continue because 2012 marked an off-year legislative session, leading up to an election. But through our state representatives and other significant relationships with state-based allies, AUL actively worked in 39 states to enact life-affirming laws and to defeat anti-life initiatives. In 2012, AUL realized several important victories for Life, including the enactment of 19 life-affirming laws.
Additionally, Sheppard’s mischaracterizes a Virginia ultrasound bill:
A controversial version of this prefab legislation was introduced in Virginia this spring. Only after abortion rights supporters pointed out that it could effectively require doctors to stick a wand in pregnant women’s vaginas did its Republican sponsors amend it to require abdominal ultrasounds.
In February, AUL’s Mailee Smith wrote about this subject
But without merit, abortion proponents are claiming that this standard of care provision requires a transvaginal ultrasound in the first trimester, comparing the technique to rape.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
These bills require abortion providers to perform ultrasound in the way it is performed in the community. Do abortionists regularly use transvaginal ultrasound in the first trimester? NO. Do obstetricians regularly use transvaginal ultrasound in the first trimester? NO. To the contrary, the usual procedure is to perform an abdominal ultrasound.
Abortionists typically perform ultrasound (abdominally) before abortion.
New York magazine also discusses the Mother Jones article:
Today Mother Jones takes a closer look at the anti-abortion strategies of Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life. The organization whose research prompted Komen to defund Planned Parenthood now plans to take down Roe v. Wade, one state at a time.