Samuel B. Casey, J.D., is a public interest lawyer well-known for his defense of the sanctity of human life. In this interview, he discusses the history and current state of abortion law in the United States.
Women in the United States have possessed a broad legal right to abortion since Roe v. Wade and its companion case were handed down by the Supreme Court in 1973. Outside of the abortion context, though, the unborn child possesses broad legal rights in American property, torts, and criminal law.
I believe that the decision to abort is responsible for far more sadness and family difficulties than the acceptance of a child with Down syndrome who truly does bring a family’s capacity for love to a whole new level.
Kimberly Stinnett learned from her obstetrician on May 9, 2012, that she was pregnant. Stinnett called her doctor’s answering service just two days later when she experienced fever and abdominal cramps. Karla Kennedy, M.D., called back and told Stinnett to report to the emergency room at a nearby hospital. Kennedy was not Stinnett’s regular obstetrician, but was sharing calls with him that weekend.
A group of pro-life doctors and pregnancy help centers in Illinois was granted temporary relief on December 20 from the conscience-compromising aspects of an amended state law that took effect on January 1.
This report outlines Charlotte Lozier Institute and Alliance Defending Freedom’s research in identifying waste, abuse, and potential fraud by Planned Parenthood affiliates and other abortion providers, particularly with respect to federal and state Title XIX-Medicaid reimbursements.
Jessica Duran underwent an abortion at Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO), an abortion center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in October 2012. Last week she filed a lawsuit against the abortion center and its licensed physicians in Second Judicial District Court for the County of Bernalillo.
In late November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that abortion in the United States has fallen to “historic lows” – with these most recent data revealing the lowest abortion rate since 1971, two years before the legalization of abortion nationwide via Roe v. Wade.
On June 25, 2014, France’s Superior Council of Audiovisual Content reprimanded four television channels for airing a 30-second version of Dear Future Mom during commercial breaks. Created for World Down Syndrome Day, the video features 15 young people diagnosed with Down syndrome. In the video, the young men and women respond to a concerned mother who has just learned her unborn child faces the same diagnosis.
With roughly 1.06 million abortions in the nation every year, abortion facilities have a need to dispose of approximately 2,700 baby bodies every day. This paper will examine the problems that occur when laws fail to hold abortion clinics accountable and when the clinics are allowed to choose methods of disposal that most benefit their businesses. It will also suggest a variety of changes that could be made to state laws to end some of the dangerous practices of the abortion industry.
A legislator in Indiana has announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban abortion in that state when its legislature convenes in January. In Texas, lawmakers introduced several pro-life measures on November 14, including a proposed amendment to the state constitution prohibiting abortion to the extent permitted by federal law.
A federal judge heard arguments on November 9 on Planned Parenthood’s challenge to an Indiana law requiring that an ultrasound be performed on a woman seeking an abortion at least 18 hours before the abortion is scheduled to take place.
The legal system since Roe v. Wade and through Planned Parenthood v. Casey has neglected to ask the question about the consequences of fetal personhood, fearing—rightly—the damage the answer could do to the right to abortion. But this insulation of abortion rights leaves the courts unable to rule consistently in a variety of cases where the fetal right to life has become lodged in law.
Innovative pro-life legislation signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence in March of this year is now facing extinction via the legal process.
A pro-life pregnancy help center (PHC) in Baltimore has won another legal victory in its fight against a city ordinance.
Imagine you live in San Francisco and decide to move to Flagstaff, Arizona. You meet a friend one evening at a social event, and during your conversation, mention your intention to move. Your friend expresses horror at the idea (even though he has never been). “But why,” he says “would you choose to live in Arizona? It’s hot and filled with deserts.”
Those watching the nation’s capital earlier this year witnessed three important events bearing on religious freedom and rights of conscience in the abortion debate.
In the years leading up to and following the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion nationwide, the federal government—primarily Congress—has enacted various measures governing the availability of federal funds for abortion and related services.
The treatment of women seeking abortions has arisen several times during the ongoing election cycle. Some abortion advocates claim that pro-lifers want to punish women seeking abortion. They argue that women were punished for having abortions before Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973, and that if Roe is repealed women will once again be subject to punishment.
Last Thursday, the March for Life hosted a Capitol Hill policy briefing to announce their theme for 2017: “The Power of One.” The event also highlighted the importance of the Hyde Amendment, featuring Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) senior policy analyst, Genevieve Plaster, M.A. and CLI associate scholar, Michael J. New, Ph.D. who provided policy background and explained the law’s measurable impact over the past 40 years.
On Friday, September 23, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee held a public hearing, “The Ultimate Civil Right: Examining the Hyde Amendment and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act,” which was hosted by the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.
Congress enacted the first Hyde Amendment on September 30, 1976. Its passage was one of the pro-life movement’s first major legislative victories. As such, now is an apt time to look back on the amendment’s history and analyze its impact during the past 40 years.
Whether the U.S. Constitution permits a government to prohibit abortion in the context of commercial surrogacy is a question of first impression. I have found no court decision directly addressing this issue under either the federal constitution or a state constitution.
Because abortion and abortion policies impact thousands of women’s and families’ lives every day, abortion policy must be grounded on the most accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date statistical information and health data.
Late Friday, it was announced that leading United Kingdom abortion agency Marie Stopes International will suspend a significant percent of abortion procedures following a surprise inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England.
Earlier this month in Ireland, a High Court judge ruled that the unborn child possesses “significant” rights by common law, by statute, and under the Irish Constitution. Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys went on to say that the unborn child enjoys rights “going well beyond the right to life alone” and that these rights “must be taken seriously” by the State.
Pharmacists Luke Vander Bleek and Glenn Kosirog faced a bleak situation in the summer of 2005: they either had to stock and dispense abortifacients or close up their shops.
Abortion ends the life of a unique human being. Children in Oklahoma public schools will learn that lesson beginning this fall.
Recently, the Atlantic published an article entitled “Why America is a Global Outlier on Abortion.” The author, Olga Khazan, wrote that the United States stands apart from the rest of the developed world due to restrictions to public funding of abortion.
Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (S. 304) by 245-182.
In June, while the U.S. Supreme Court was sentencing women to the modern-day abortion back alley, Kentucky’s Court of Appeals unanimously, though temporarily, stopped EMW Women’s Clinic from performing abortions.
On March 24 of this year Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law legislation that forbids doctors from performing an abortion, before or after the unborn child reaches 20 weeks of post-fertilization age, if the reason for the abortion is based on the “race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability.”
In his statement announcing his signing of the bill, Pence said, “I believe that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable—the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn.
Proponents of abortion are all about “choice.” Yet in many cases, it seems, a woman’s decision to procure an abortion does not feel like much of a choice at all.
The best estimates indicate that somewhere between 30 to over 60 percent of women seeking abortions in the United States do so under pressure—from the father of her child, her parents, her family members, friends, or employer. One study shows that up to 64 percent of women who had undergone an abortion reported that they were pressured to do so. What can be done to counteract this phenomenon of coerced abortions? Coerced abortions are especially harmful to women—not only does the voice of the unborn child, who cannot plead on his own behalf, go unheard, but also the voice of the mother is muted by outside pressure.
Now half a year since the opening of the 2016 Obamacare enrollment period, new state abortion mandates are just coming to light in New York. The Catholic Diocese of Albany and 12 other entities who have deeply-held objections to abortion were recently informed they had been covering elective abortions, unbeknownst to them, in their employer insurance plans under two state abortion mandates.
Ana Carolina Caceres is a journalist in Brazil. In a photograph in a recent story about her, she wears a garland of flowers, a simple necklace and a pleasant if somewhat nonplussed expression on her face. Caceres’ writing is clear and straightforward, as befits the blogger she is, but the story is not about her chosen profession – about what she does – but about who she is. Or rather a condition she has that some think should define her – or even have prevented her coming to birth.
Ms. Caceres was diagnosed at birth with microcephaly, the condition so much in the news as a result of a spike in cases associated with the spread of the Zika virus across Latin America.
Today I’m going to talk about three legal policies involving life protections for unborn children. I’m going to explain how each of these policies could actually be upheld under current Supreme Court abortion precedent. However, at the same time, each of these policies represents a serious challenge to current Supreme Court abortion standards by forcing the Court to consider and, hopefully, uphold policies that narrow the abortion right and call into question its continued legitimacy. But first, let’s step back and consider three basic points that help us put pro-life legislative initiatives into context.
The recent systematic review published by Gabrielle Saccone and colleagues joins the long list of over 150 studies over the past four decades which extensively document that having an induced abortion increases a woman’s risk of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies. Saccone et al. clearly document again what other authors have repeatedly published; a fact also acknowledged by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in their report on preterm birth in 2005. However, unlike the IOM, who hid the association on page 625 in Appendix B, Saccone places the facts in the open: “Prior surgical uterine evacuation for either I-TOP [induced termination of pregnancy] or SAB [spontaneous abortion] is an independent risk factor for PTB [preterm birth].” Translated, that means any time the womb of a pregnant woman is forced open, there is a risk of damaging the opening of the womb.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) and Americans United for Life (AUL) recently filed an amicus brief in a major lawsuit over the late-term abortion videotapes collected by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). This lawsuit involves a vital public policy question: Can an association of abortion providers like the National Abortion Federation (NAF) successfully block the release of videos that show members of their organization potentially engaged in encouraging, supporting or facilitating the acquisition and/or sale of body parts from the unborn during the abortion process?
The history of the pro-life movement has received precious little attention from either journalists or academics. In 2014, Dr. and Mrs. John C. Willke published Abortion and the Pro-Life Movement: An Inside View which is the first truly comprehensive history of the modern pro-life movement. Their book first explores the history of pro-life activism before Roe v. Wade and then devotes a chapter to every year after 1973. This year, Daniel K. Williams, associate professor of history at the University of West Georgia, published Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade, a helpful augmentation to the Willke’s book.
Yesterday 75 members of Congress, led by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration demanding answers to questions about the FDA’s surprise approval of relaxed protocols for the distribution of the abortion-inducing drug regimen known as Mifeprex. The changes, announced on March 30, significantly increase the duration of pregnancy at which the drug regimen may be administered, raising it from 49 days (7 weeks) from the last menstrual period (LMP) to 70 days (10 weeks) post-LMP.
On April 20, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives will hold a hearing on “The Pricing of Fetal Tissue” in response to information brought forth by the Center for Medical Progress’ undercover video exposé.
Charlotte Lozier Institute’s new associate scholar Catherine Glenn Foster, J.D. has been invited to testify as an attorney on the federal statutes governing fetal tissue research. Below is a preview of her testimony.
On April 14, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HR 4924, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2016, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks. The bill would prohibit discrimination against the unborn based on the preference of sex or race alone. Charlotte Lozier Institute associate scholar Anna Higgins, J.D. testified in support of the bill, and summarized her newly published paper on sex-selection abortion.
Despite advances in civil rights and the recognition by most developed nations that discrimination on the basis of sex alone is inherently unjust, a very real and pervasive form of sex discrimination is still permitted and practiced in the world today. Prenatal sex discrimination crosses cultural, ethnic, and national lines. It is practiced with impunity in many countries, including the U.S., via sex-selective abortion – choosing to abort a preborn child based solely on the child’s sex.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed the regulations for RU-486, the “abortion pill,” allowing its use up to 70 days into pregnancy, three weeks past the previous guidelines. On the same day, Abby Johnson’s The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories, was officially released. One chapter in particular stood out as especially timely in regards to the news: “Medication Abortion.”
The Minnesota Department of Health publishes an extensive and organized annual abortion report that presents important public health information, including demographic statistics, while protecting the anonymity of women. Additionally, Minnesota reports the volume of abortions performed at each clinic in the state.
Minnesota’s abortion trends provide a glimpse of what is happening to the abortion market on a national scale. Similar to national trends, the total number abortions in Minnesota has decreased, one abortion clinic has closed, several have merged, and Planned Parenthood increasingly dominates the market.
Yesterday, during an MSNBC townhall event with Chris Matthews, presidential candidate Donald Trump was asked if he believes in “punishment for abortion” to which he replied that there should be “some form of punishment.” When asked whether this applied to women who have had abortions, Mr. Trump replied in the affirmative, though he later clarified that he believes only abortionists should be held accountable.
Pro-life groups have quickly, and with a united voice, used this incident to clarify that the pro-life movement has never advocated, in any context, for the punishment of women who undergo abortion, but rather acknowledges that abortion harms and exploits women.
It’s hard to believe the Obama Administration is still fighting the nuns over abortion and contraception.
The Little Sisters of the Poor object on religious grounds to the government hijacking their health insurance plan to provide contraceptives including some that can cause abortions.
They’ve filed a lawsuit and today the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case.
This year, the theme is “’My Friends, My Community’ – The benefits of inclusive environments for today’s children and tomorrow’s adults.” Highlighting the many ways in which people with Down syndrome are included in society is a noble goal – one which should naturally encompass the inclusion of unborn babies who are prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome and who have all too often become vulnerable to abortion.
Today is a very special day for all those living with Down syndrome and for all those who love them. Today is a day to celebrate the special gifts those living with Down syndrome bring to our human family. It is also a day to celebrate the progress made from a time when those living with Down syndrome were shunned, feared, and most often hidden away in bleak and often squalid institutions. So much has changed for the better, but there are still many challenges to overcome.
On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, the Arizona House Judiciary Committee panel held a hearing to consider SB 1474, introduced by Sen. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) to prohibit fetal tissue trafficking. After the hearing, the panel voted to pass the bill, which will now head to the full House.
Charlotte Lozier Institute Vice President and Director of Research, Dr. David Prentice, Ph.D. submitted the following written testimony in support of the legislation.