This week Bloomberg Businessweek featured the work of Americans United for Life in two articles. Below are excerpts of the two articles.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Politics & Policy – July 11, 2013
“When North Dakota’s Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple signed the nation’s most restrictive abortion law in March, Bette Grande was thrilled. The Republican state legislator had spent months lining up support for a bill that makes it illegal for women to end a pregnancy because the fetus is shown to have Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities. Set to take effect in August, the law also bans abortions once a heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks.
Anti-abortion activists praised Grande’s work. “It’s the right thing to do,” she says. “I don’t worry about the political fallout; I worry about the life of the unborn child.” Yet she concedes the campaign wasn’t quite homegrown. She didn’t come up with the legal justification for the legislation or all the arguments to persuade fellow lawmakers to sign on. A lot of that was provided to her by a group of activists 1,500 miles away in Washington. Americans United for Life gave Grande a cut-and-paste model bill it had drafted, along with statistics and talking points—“good, factual information regarding abnormalities and the discrimination that occurs inside the womb,” she says. “My colleagues didn’t need a whole lot of persuasion after that.”
Familiar in Washington for its 40-year effort to make abortions harder or impossible, Americans United for Life is now having more success outside the capital, offering itself as a backstage adviser to conservative politicians trying to limit state abortion rights. The group’s leaders say they hope Grande’s success will give encouragement to lawmakers in other places, including Texas and North Carolina, that are debating anti-abortion bills AUL is helping to promote. “Our organization has attempted to inject, if you will, a bit of competition between the states,” says Daniel McConchie, vice president for government affairs. The group ranks states by how much they’re doing to reduce abortions (Louisiana ranks first; Washington, 50th). “People come to us and say, ‘What else do we need to do to boost our ranking?’ ”
So far this year, 17 states have enacted a total of 45 new restrictions on abortion, many of them with AUL’s help. The group is explicit about its larger goal: to provoke a Supreme Court challenge to one or more of the state anti-abortion laws, giving the court’s conservative justices a chance to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. “In order for the court to actually reconsider Roe, it has to have an active case before it,” says McConchie. “So we work with legislators to pass laws that will essentially spark the right kind of court challenge and give them the opportunity to reconsider the question.”
…The bottom line: In the first six months of 2013, 17 states passed a total of 45 new restrictions on abortion. AUL is providing a blueprint.” [Click here to continue reading]
Bloomberg Businessweek: News from Bloomberg – July 9, 2013
“…Americans United for Life, a nonpartisan Washington-based legal group that has worked for more than four decades to overturn abortion rights, had drafted a model bill to achieve just what Grande was seeking.
“I saw that they had information that I could use in my testimony — good, factual information regarding abnormalities and the discrimination that occurs inside the womb, aborting 90 percent of these babies,” Grande said in an interview.
It’s a role Americans United for Life is playing to fuel a wave of state-level efforts to restrict abortions and chip away at the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court (1000L) ruling that made the procedure legal. So far this year, 17 states have enacted 45 new curbs on abortion. In addition to providing legislative language and data, the Washington group created a state ranking system to stoke an anti-abortion arms race of sorts among Republican governors and legislators.” [Click here to continue reading]