Opinion: 40 Years After Roe v. Wade, A Pro-Life Perspective
On Tuesday's PBS NewsHour, we revisit the hot-button issue of abortion and debate its move from federal courts to state governments. Our guests are Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, and Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro Choice America.
They both wrote op-ed columns for us. You can read Charmaine's below and Ilyse's here.
Charmaine Yoest is president of Americans United for Life.
For many years after the Roe v. Wade decision, common sense regulations of and restrictions on abortion were not permitted, and news of pro-life bills being introduced or enacted during state legislative sessions was as rare as a Haley's Comet sighting.
Today, it is the norm.
In fact, in the 40 years since Roe erased the abortion laws in all 50 states -- making abortion legal through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason -- state legislators across the country have diligently worked to return legal protections to women and girls. In recent years, momentum on behalf of protecting innocent human life has never been stronger, evidenced by the fact that states now routinely pass large numbers of new pro-life laws annually.
The pro-abortion industry think tank, Guttmacher Institute, recently reported that in 2011, lawmakers passed a record-breaking 122 provisions, followed by the second-highest number ever passed, 92 provisions in 2012.
Americans United for Life (AUL), the legal architects of the pro-life movement, has been at the forefront of this effort. The core of AUL's state-by-state strategy revolves around promoting commonsense, protective measures, developed in model legislation that policymakers can use as a template to guide their efforts at the state level.
On the 40th anniversary of Roe earlier this year, Gallup detailed an increasingly pro-life America. "While the issue remains highly divisive, there's been a 32-point turnaround in those labeling themselves 'pro life' versus 'pro choice' in the national Gallup Poll since the mid-1990s," noted The Columbus Dispatch.
One reason for the public's increasing support for new life-affirming laws is illustrated by the case of Kermit Gosnell, whose Philadelphia "house of horrors" abortion clinic was responsible for multiple deaths and where conditions were so deplorable that the first responders to the facility had to leave and come back in hazmat suits to protect their own health.
These unsettling horrors strengthen the argument that state legislation is urgently necessary, common sense and lifesaving. Women and girls are suffering in modern-day "back alleys" run by the abortion industry with little to no oversight, regulation or accountability to their patients or to the communities where they are located.
The Gosnell situation is not unique. Over the last three years, at least 15 states have initiated investigations into abortion clinics and individual abortion providers for providing substandard patient care -- poor care that, in some cases, has resulted in women's deaths. In response, over just the last three years, eight states have enacted new comprehensive abortion clinic regulations or made significant improvements to existing regulations.
Popular bills at play right now across the country include those regulating abortion clinics as ambulatory surgical centers, engaging parents or guardians in abortion surgery decisions for young girls and ensuring that sexual predators are not using abortion to cover up their crimes, requiring life-saving ultrasound tests before dangerous procedures, and requiring medical care for infants born-alive as a result of a botched abortion.
The U.S. Constitution does not give abortionists the right to maim and kill women and girls in substandard clinics. Increasingly, the public and legislators are acting on the truth that commonsense limits on abortion are necessary to save lives.
Expect to see more protections for women and girls in future headlines.
Dr. Charmaine Yoest is president and CEO of Americans United for Life.