Americans United for Life Behind Many State Antiabortion Laws

July 11, 2013 — Americans United for Life, a Washington-based legal group that opposes abortion, is the driving force behind many state antiabortion-rights laws that have advanced this year, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

For over four decades, the group has worked to support state-level efforts to restrict abortion and chip away at the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. The group helps state lawmakers draft antiabortion-rights bills and provides language and data to support the measures.

For example, this session, AUL helped North Dakota Rep. Bette Grande (R) write a bill (HB 1305) -- which Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) eventually signed into law -- that bans abortions sought because of genetic defects, such as Down syndrome. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, 17 states have enacted bills aimed at restricting abortion this year, many of which have triggered legal battles.

Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, said, "There is a long-term strategy by abortion opponents to focus on the states, and it is reshaping the landscape around abortion." She added, "We are seeing these bills become law all across the country -- well over half the states have enacted some sort of abortion restrictions in the last three years."

State Ranking System

AUL also created a state ranking system in an effort to encourage governors and Legislators to pass more abortion restrictions.

AUL Vice President for Government Affairs Dan McConchie said, "Our organization has attempted to inject, if you will, a bit of competition between the states, and that has been good, because at the end of the day, not every state has done everything possible that can be done to reduce abortion and boost the long-term effort to get the court to overturn Roe" (Davis, Bloomberg Businessweek, 7/9).