Mary E. Harned, J.D.Associate Scholar
Mary E. Harned served as an Investigative Counsel with the Select Investigative Panel of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, where she coauthored reports examining the fetal tissue industry. Formerly, Mary was Staff Counsel with Americans United for Life, where she authored numerous articles for Defending Life (AUL’s annual publication), op-eds, blog posts, congressional and state legislative testimony, and federal administrative comments. She also crafted original model legislation and supporting materials to aid state and federal legislators in advancing policy objectives within her expertise. Mary appeared in the media in her role at AUL, including Fox News, CBN, National Review Online, The Washington Times, The Daily Caller, Lifenews, and numerous radio programs and print interviews.
Mary formerly served as Chief Counsel to U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), where she advised and assisted Dr. Coburn on policy issues within the Senate Judiciary Committee’s jurisdiction and on all judicial nominations, including those of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to that, she served as a Counsel to U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Mary graduated cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Law, and received her B.A. in political science from the University of Alabama, where she served as president of the campus pro-life organization. Mary also served as a board member and counselor for the local pregnancy care center, and as Chairman of the College Republican Federation of Alabama.
She lives with her husband and children in northern Virginia.
In post-Dobbs America, lawmakers in abortion-promoting states are predictably repealing their paltry life-affirming statutes and solidifying the special legal status that their states afford to abortion.
Every state with strong pro-life laws allows doctors to intervene to save a woman’s life in a medical emergency.
In Iowa and Mississippi, state supreme court decisions have created an additional impediment to the enforcement of the states’ abortion bans.
Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington have amplified or codified a special status for abortion in their state law.
With the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court last October, pro-life advocates are more optimistic that the Court will uphold legal protections for unborn children and their mothers. However, so far this term the Court has not taken any significant action.
Abortion advocates have always vehemently opposed laws that limit taxpayer funding for abortion. The Hyde Amendment, which Congress has applied to the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services for nearly all of the last 45 years, draws their greatest contempt, because it prohibits the use of federal and state matching Medicaid funds for most abortions—and has likely saved 2.4 million lives. However, for many years the abortion industry grudgingly tolerated lawmakers who supported the Hyde Amendment, for principled or pragmatic reasons, as long as they remained in lockstep with the rest of their abortion agenda.
Abortion advocates contend that the United States Supreme Court is on the precipice of reversing Roe v. Wade—the conservative justices are simply waiting for the arrival of another like-minded colleague, and they may find that person in Judge Amy Coney Barrett. An honest review of recent decisions by the Court, however, simply fails to support this belief. Instead of building a case for Roe’s demise, the Court has managed to make abortion jurisprudence even murkier for legislators and lower courts trying to determine the constitutionality of abortion laws, while otherwise refusing to make substantive decisions in abortion cases.
Abortion advocates—seeking to exploit the COVID-19 crisis to advance unfettered access to abortion-inducing drugs—found a friend in federal court. In mid-July, Judge Theodore D. Chuang issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from enforcing certain health and safety practices that abortion providers are required to follow when prescribing the only FDA-approved abortion drug regimen.
Abortion advocates have found a new ally—COVID-19. During this intensely stressful time, the vast majority of Americans are focused on protecting their health and the health of loved ones, neighbors, and vulnerable members of their community. The abortion industry, however, is seizing on this national emergency to promote their agenda.