Americans United for Life protects and defends human life from conception to natural death through vigorous legislative, judicial, and educational efforts.
Americans United for Life uses a proven three-pronged strategy—Education, Legislation, and Litigation—to protect life through the law. Our comprehensive, beginning-to-end approach is reducing abortions and helping state after state become more pro-life every year.
We engage in statehouses, Congress, and the culture to raise awareness and build understanding about abortion, end of life, bioethics, and healthcare rights of conscience, educating lawmakers, administrative officials, and the American public with our comprehensive resources and unique message grounded in our legal expertise. As the legal architect of the pro-life movement and the nation’s premier pro-life legal advocates, we work deliberately and strategically through the law and legislative process on the state, national, and international levels to secure a comprehensive legal foundation for the protection of human life. We are a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization and hold the distinction of being the first national pro-life organization in America—incorporated in 1971, two years before the infamous Roe v. Wade decision.
Abortion–preventing the passage and implementation of laws permitting or expanding abortion, and pursuing regulations that are protective of the unborn.
Legal recognition and protection for the unborn (in contexts outside of abortion) such as unborn victims of violence protections and wrongful death causes of action.
Bioethics and biotechnologies including human cloning, destructive embryo research, and medically-appropriate regulation of assisted reproductive technologies.
Patient protection issues such as euthanasia, suicide by physician, pain management, and palliative care.
Since 1971, AUL has worked to change laws that threaten the lives of the unborn. At the same time, through our educational efforts, we work to change the hearts and minds of the American public so that all may recognize the dignity of human life.
AUL has achieved significant gains in pro-life legislation, particularly during the past 25 years. We are saving the lives of children in the womb through a systematic and strategic state-by-state effort, taking tactical steps that provide incremental gains today while laying the groundwork for much larger gains in the future.
While abortion laws typically reach the public consciousness through coverage of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, landmark cases are in fact the culmination of decades of persistent legal work to build precedent through small incremental victories.
Mississippi provides an excellent example of the effectiveness of an incremental, legal strategy to combat the evil of abortion. Over the past 15 years, Mississippi has adopted 15 pro-life laws. As a result, abortions in the state have decreased by nearly 60% and six out of seven abortion clinics have closed—leaving only one embattled abortion clinic in the entire state.
AUL actively advocates the systematic, incremental adoption and implementation of life-affirming laws in the states. We provide state lawmakers, state attorneys general, public policy groups, lobbyists, the media, and others involved in the cause for life with proven legal strategies and tools that will, step by step and state by state, lead to a more pro-life America. At the same time, we are laying the groundwork for protecting the unborn in the future, during the state-by-state battle that will follow Roe’s ultimate reversal.
AUL works to ensure that state and federal legislation protects the dignity of human life in the midst of the increasingly complex ethical challenges posed by medical research and biotechnologies.
Our priorities include the promotion of adult stem cell research. Every day, new treatments developed from adult stem cells are being used to treat real people suffering from once incurable diseases and serious injury. Others, while not cured, have made such progress that their illness or injury no longer dominates their everyday life, and they once again engage in life in a way they never thought possible.
To date, scientists have been able to help patients suffering from 73 different diseases and injuries—including brain cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, Crohn’s disease, lupus, heart damage, Parkinson’s, sickle-cell anemia, and end-stage bladder disease—using adult stem cells. Conversely, morally problematic embryonic stem-cell research has not helped a single human patient.
Despite these promising advances in adult stem-cell research, many scientists and politicians continue to seek unfettered freedom (and our tax dollars) for immoral uses of biotechnology in the hope of miracle cures. If we do not act with greater urgency, the abuse of nascent human life will become more entrenched and far more difficult to regulate. Powerful ethical and legal limits are needed to preserve and protect the sanctity of all human life.
Our attorneys are also engaged in research on the potential regulation of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including in vitro fertilization (IVF). With hundreds of thousands of so-called leftover embryos languishing in IVF clinics, it is critical that legislators provide meaningful oversight and regulation of IVF and other reproductive technologies.
When the movement to legalize suicide by physician gained steam during the 1970s, AUL’s attorneys warned that the legalization of the morally abhorrent practice would create a continuum in which the “right to die” would inevitably become the “duty to die.” Today, as euthanasia advocates wage a national campaign to export the practice of suicide by physician–lawful in only a handful of states–to all 50 states, AUL is committed to combatting its spread and preventing the devaluation of human life.
Healthcare Freedom of Conscience
AUL’s attorneys work aggressively to promote legal protections for healthcare freedom of conscience that affirm the need to for providers to give quality care to patients while maintaining their own autonomy in making ethical choices. Such protections acknowledge that certain demands of patients–particularly for procedures that are life-destructive and not life-saving–must not be blindly accommodated to the detriment of the rights of healthcare providers. Individuals and institutions do not lose their right to follow their moral and religious beliefs once they decide to enter the healthcare profession.
Those who oppose laws protecting freedom of conscience, primarily pro-abortion advocates and groups, typically couch their arguments with references to women’s right to healthcare access (including access to contraception). By doing so, they seek to compel providers to act in violation of their consciences. However, the use of the term “access” is a red herring, because, when a provider makes a conscientious objection, there is nothing to prevent a patient’s going to another (willing) healthcare provider for service.
Protecting freedom of conscience is also necessary to avoid added stress on an already overtaxed healthcare system. Experts project that current shortages of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals will worsen, failing to meet future requirements. The threats of legal action, and other pressures to compel healthcare providers to participate in procedures to which they conscientiously object, would make such an already dangerous shortage disastrous. If the government forces healthcare professionals to choose between conscience and career, we will lose doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who are already in short supply, especially in rural parts of the country. We will also effectively bar competent young men and women, desperately needed, from entering these vital professions. Without a doubt, the health of the nation demands protecting individual freedom of conscience.
Legal Recognition of the Preborn and Newly Born
In addition to their work to end abortion, AUL’s attorneys work to protect the unborn and provide legal recognition for unborn and newly born children in many other ways. They help legislators enact state protections for unborn victims of violence, which permit the prosecution of assailants for nonfatal assaults on the unborn. Other pro-life model legislation that AUL develops and promotes includes providing a civil cause of action in the death of an unborn child because of the negligence of a third party (such as a drunk driver), and requiring that infants who survive an abortion are given proper medical care and attention.
Americans United for Life, the nation’s premier pro-life legal team, works through the law and legislative process to one end: Achieving comprehensive legal protection for human life from conception to natural death. The nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization holds the unique distinction of being the first national pro-life organization in America— incorporated in 1971, before the infamous Roe v. Wade decision.
AUL’s legal team has been involved in every abortion-related case before the U.S. Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade, including AUL’s successful defense of the Hyde Amendment before the Supreme Court. AUL’s legal expertise and acumen set the bar in the pro-life community for the creation of effective and defensible pro-life positions. At the state, federal and international levels, AUL works to advance life issues through the law and does so through measures that can withstand judicial obstacles so that pro-life laws will be enforced. AUL knows that reversing Roe v. Wade can be accomplished through deliberate, legal strategies that accumulate victories, build momentum, and restore a culture of life.
A Leader in the States
But AUL’s distinction extends beyond federal measures. AUL works at the state level to craft tailored strategies and legislative tools that will assist state and local officials as they defend and protect life. In all fifty states, AUL’s team has worked with governors, legislators and pro-life leaders to ensure that everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law. AUL’s representatives in the states are on the frontlines of the policy debates, while AUL attorneys craft model legislation and legal analysis, as well as provide expert testimony on critical life issues being debated in the states.
An example of success: since 1985 AUL has spearheaded efforts both to educate about and to pass Fetal Homicide Laws and protections for Unborn Victims of Violence. As a result, 36 states —and counting — have passed the historic provisions
A Leader in Print
Comprehensive analysis and state-by-state insight are extraordinary resources that AUL makes available to pro-life leaders, attorneys and officeholders nationwide. The source: DEFENDING LIFE, an annual guide which details the life initiatives underway in all of the 50 states, analyzes many important issues, provides model legislation, and compares the 50 states in the well-publicized “Life List,” which ranks the states based on the status of all life issues at play.
Defending Life has been unparalleled in pointing the way to protecting women now, to limiting the abortion license created by the Supreme Court, and to preparing the ground to overturn Roe.
A Leader on Campus
AUL is taking its pro-life message to law schools through Advocates for Life, building networks of future lawyers and helping develop and train the next generation of pro-life leaders. To equip them, AUL experts created the Constitutional Law and Abortion Primer as a resource for students who are learning how to turn their pro-life conviction into pro-life legal expertise. And law students contribute their enthusiasm and ideas to the work of AUL at the state and local levels.
A Leader Around the Nation
Advocates for Life, the nationwide network of pro-life attorneys, is building a presence in the legal community to enable pro-life lawyers to network, to learn from one another and to provide protections for all in every state.
A Leader Around the World
AUL is defending life around the world. Though human rights belong to all human beings, anti-life forces seek to develop “international law” to provide for a “right to abortion” that agenda-driven U.S. judges will, in turn, impose upon us. AUL, joining with pro-life lawyers around the world, fights this at the United Nations, in international courts, and in other countries. Our groundbreaking Latin American version counterpart to Defending Life was published in 2011. And, our attorneys regularly consult with pro-life allies in other countries to assist them in passing pro-life laws.
A Leader Among Leaders
AUL’s expertise leads to many opportunities to make a case for life and the legal foundation that supports this gift we share. AUL experts speak and write for news outlets and at events nationwide. And AUL’s name appears thousands of times each month in the media as the complicated legal issues surrounding life are debated. You can find AUL on television, in print, and on informative websites every day, from the New York Times to Fox News. And AUL has been innovative in getting its message out through online events, innovative media strategies and award-winning advertising.
An Award-Winning Viewpoint
The national vantage point of AUL’s operation makes it uniquely qualified to recognize and honor pro-life leadership for accomplishments at state, federal and international levels, often achieved in partnerships with AUL’s team. Among the leaders who have accepted AUL’s honors for their consistent and effective efforts to protect life are the legendary Rep. Henry Hyde, Gov. Haley Barbour and U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner.