WASHINGTON, D.C. (10-01-12) – Americans United for Life’s premier legal team will file four, strategic amicus curiae briefs in October, making the case that women’s lives and our First Amendment freedoms deserve greater protection under the law. “For more than 40 years, AUL has been defending vulnerable unborn children and their mothers in strategic court cases,” said AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest, “these four cases are pivotal in our overarching strategy of accumulating victories and developing momentum toward the eventual overturning of Roe v. Wade.”
In the briefs to be filed this month, AUL attorneys will:
- Defend First Amendment freedoms of healthcare providers and all Americans,
- Argue in favor of regulations protecting women’s health and safety when they are given abortion-inducing drugs,
- Advocate for a 20-week abortion limitation that protects the health of women from the risks inherent in this dangerous procedure, and
- Address the issue of life-ending drugs being mislabeled as “contraception” in the healthcare law.
First Brief: Oct. 1
Greater Baltimore Clinic for Pregnancy Concerns v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
This case was filed in 2010 challenging a draconian city ordinance regulating pregnancy care centers (PCCs) and requiring them to display signs about services they do not provide. After the district court ruled in favor of the PCCs, the City appealed. On appeal, AUL filed a brief on behalf of Care Net, Heartbeat International, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, and various local pregnancy centers, demonstrating that PCCs abide by stringent standards and seek to provide the best care and counseling for women.
In June 2012, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the PCCs, holding that the speech of PCCs should be afforded the highest level of First Amendment protection. However, the City asked the entire Fourth Circuit to rehear the appeal, and the court agreed. AUL is filing an updated brief on behalf of its clients, once again demonstrating that PCCs provide important community services and operate according to stringent standards of professionalism.
Second Brief: Oct. 9
Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice v. Cline in the
Oklahoma Supreme Court
In 2011, the Oklahoma legislature enacted a measure regulating the provision of abortion-inducing drugs. The language is based on AUL’s “Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act,” which requires that abortion providers administer the dangerous abortion drugs only in the way approved by the FDA. At least 8 women are known to have died following use of the drugs in an off-label, unapproved manner.
An abortion provider and abortion advocacy group immediately challenged the law in an Oklahoma state court. AUL provided in-depth assistance to the office of the Oklahoma Solicitor General as he defended the case in the state trial court. However, for the first time in the state’s history, the judge created a “right” to abortion under the state constitution, and struck the regulations.
The State appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which took the case and asked for the parties to fully brief the issues. AUL will be drafting an amicus curiae brief advocates its own interests and the interests of Oklahoma legislators, including the sponsors of the original bill (Senator Greg Treat and Representative Randy Grau), in protecting women from the dangers of off-label use of abortion-inducing drugs and in seeing this groundbreaking legislation upheld. Specifically, the brief will detail the evidence supporting the regulations that was ignored by the trial court, as well as demonstrate that the regulations do not in any way impose an undue burden on women seeking abortions.
Third Brief: Oct. 10
Isaacson v. Horne in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
In 2011, the State of Arizona became the first state to enact AUL’s “Women’s Health Protection Act,” a limitation on abortion at/after 20 weeks gestation based on the risk to women and the pain felt by an unborn child. Abortion providers challenged the law in federal court. In July 2012, the federal district court denied the plaintiffs’ motions to enjoin the law, and ruled that it is a constitutional limitation on abortion.
The court cited findings from the law (provided to the state by AUL) related to the risk to maternal health at/after 20 weeks. The plaintiff-abortion providers then appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which entered an injunction pending the appeal in the case. In addition, the Circuit put the case on an expedited briefing schedule. AUL is filing an amicus curiae brief on behalf of national medical organizations, which demonstrates that risks to maternal health from abortion significantly increase at/after 20 weeks gestation; as such, the state acted within its proper discretion in enacting a law that works to protect women from the harms of abortion.
Fourth Brief: Oct. 12
Belmont Abbey College v. Sebelius/Wheaton College v. Sebelius
in the District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals
These two cases were filed in 2011 and 2012 (respectively) challenging the Obama Administration’s “HHS mandate,” which requires that employers provide coverage of life-ending drugs, such as “emergency contraception.” Earlier this year, the federal district court ruled that these cases were not “ripe” for consideration and/or that the schools did not yet have standing to sue—in other words, the court did not think the time was quite right for such challenges, because the Obama administration purported “safe harbor” means that they are not yet required to violate their beliefs and provide coverage for “emergency contraception” and other drugs and services to which they have conscientious objections. The cases were consolidated on appeal, and the Becket Fund (attorneys for the schools) asked AUL to file an amicus curiae brief. AUL’s brief will focus on the mechanism of action in “emergency contraception”—i.e., that it can work in a life-ending manner.