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Anti-abortion rights leader talks strategy: It’s a ’50-state question’

The secret to ending abortion America is by shifting abortion rights to the states, said Americans United for Life‘s President Charmaine Yoest on a recent appearance on the PBS TV- and Web-news magazine “Need to Know.”

As the legal arm of the anti-abortion movement, AUL drafts model legislation, including legislation that would effectively ban abortion in that given state.

“This year has been absolutely remarkable,” Yoest said. “We have seen an unprecedented amount of interest among pro-life legislators to raise the bar and make progress at restricting the right to abortion.”

AUL has been more heavily focused on state legislation during this past session, as the organization believes that state efforts are more effective than federal efforts.

“The day after Roe, many people think that that’s the end of abortion, but actually it just becomes a 50-state question and you start looking in the state houses as to each state gets to decide for themselves how they want to regulate abortion.”

Many of the AUL-drafted bills that place increased restrictions to abortion have been passing through state legislatures, and Yoest credits this success with its “common ground” approach to regulating abortion: parental/informed consent laws, regulatory rules for clinics, banning so called “partial birth abortion,” and rules prohibiting federal funding of abortion.

“These are the issues that we work on because we think it’s really, really essential to continue developing this societal and cultural consensus over how we approach the life issue, and these are all slam-dunk home-runs that people don’t disagree about all that much.”

When asked why — if AUL’s ultimate goal is to end abortion — the organization does not advocate for or provide information on birth control, Yoest skirted the question and said promoting birth control would be “carrying water for the other side.”

“That’s not actually an issue that we address,” Yoest said. “There are differences of opinion on that.”

Watch the “Need to Know” segment:

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

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