CONSERVATIVE SPOTLIGHT: Americans United for Life

Americans United for Life (AUL) is devoted to exactly what the name implies: safeguarding the lives that the pro-life movement so valiantly seeks to keep sacred.

AUL began its work in 1971, playing some role in every pro-life case before the Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade.

Today, it serves as the oldest pro-life organization in the books. The president and CEO of Americans United for Life, Charmaine Yoest, is a long-time leader of the pro-life movement.

Among her past roles, most notable were her positions as a vice president of the Family Research Council and as a member of President Ronald Reagan’s White House staff.

She also worked alongside former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a strong pro-life candidate, on his 2008 presidential campaign.

Most recently, Yoest testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings of Sonia Sotomayor in July 2009.

AUL’s team of legal experts strives to influence the legislative process in order to protect life at both the state and national level.

On issues related to abortion, the organization works on legislation designed to protect women’s health.

One such measure is a bill mandating that abortion clinics protect the health and safety of their female patients and inform women of the health risks of abortion.

AUL is also pushing legislation protecting the conscience rights to of healthcare professionals and protecting the unborn from criminal acts like homicide.

While Roe v. Wade and “protecting the rights of the unborn” are the primary issues associated with the pro-life movement, AUL really seeks to go the extra mile, not confining themselves to the abortion battle.

On the parental front, AUL treasures family units in their efforts to keep medical decisions of children in the jurisdiction of parents.

AUL’s work extends into the scientific realm as well, trying to ban all forms of human cloning. Instead, the group would like to see research confined to adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and other stem cell research that affirms rather than destroys life.

Concerned with the rights of individuals both young and old, AUL is also working on legislation to prevent physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, life issues sometimes pushed under the rug by others in the pro-life movement.

To get their message large exposure, AUL broadly utilizes the media, both traditional and new, keeping its message alive in the rapid fire world of social media, where web traffic is ever growing. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr users are kept abreast of AUL’s activities.

AUL has been a go-to resource on pro-life current events because of the organization’s legal expertise and perspective on related issues.

Material from AUL’s experts has appeared in the nation’s most prominent newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal and AUL spokesmen have been featured on CNN and Fox News cable networks.

To especially reward those who join AUL on the front lines, each year the group hands out the Henry J. Hyde Defender of Life Award to one particular individual.

Hyde, the late former Republican representative from the 6th District of Illinois, is probably most recognized for the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortions in comprehensive healthcare services from the federal government.

It is in the spirit of Rep. Hyde’s legacy as a pro-life leader that the award is given.

This year, with the controversial healthcare bill’s having been passed by Congress, the Hyde Award went to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R.-Ohio).

Boehner was given the award for his leadership in the fighting to keep federal funding from going to pay for abortion.

According to AUL, Boehner is also known for his pro-life work in his home state of Ohio, where efforts are less likely to make headlines. Upon receiving the award, Boehner mentioned Hyde as one of his heroes.

Currently, AUL has its hands quite full with recent rumblings at the Supreme Court.

On their website, AUL’s legal experts have undertaken to highlight the abortion records of President Obama’s most recent nominees, targeting both Sonia Sotomayor and Solicitor General Elena Kagan and forcing Planned Parenthood and the ACLU to fight back.

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