Americans United for Life (AUL), the legal architects of the pro-life movement, has launched the Infants’ Protection Project which features eight pieces of AUL model legislation expertly crafted to protect unborn children to the greatest extent permitted by the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court abortion jurisprudence. The Infants’ Protection Project is the companion to AUL’s Women’s Protection Project.
These two critically important projects are naturally complementary. Both contain model legislation designed to protect unborn children and their mothers, exposing the lie propagated by the abortion industry that a woman’s interests are often at odds with those of her unborn child. The Infants’ Protection Project and the Women’s Protection Project contain model legislation intended to ensure that women contemplating abortions are fully informed, are free from coercion, and receive proper care.
The Infants’ Protection Project also includes model legislation protecting unborn infants from eugenics, barbaric late-term abortion procedures, and pain; affording legal protection and recognition to unborn children outside of the context of abortion; ensuring that mothers facing a poor prognosis for their unborn children are informed about the availability of hospice care for their families; and recognizing a deceased unborn infant’s right to a dignified treatment, including a respectful burial.
State laws recognizing the dignity of unborn infants outside of the context of abortion have long been upheld as constitutional. For more than 40 years, states have enacted laws recognizing an unborn child as a potential victim of a third-party assault including homicide, battery, and other crimes. These commonplace laws evince the states’ substantial interest in protecting the lives of unborn infants in contexts other than abortion. Similarly, AUL’s Unborn Infants Dignity Act and Unborn Wrongful Death Act recognize unborn children as legal “persons” who are entitled to specific legal protections, without placing limitations on abortion.
The legislative models in the Infants’ Protection Project that regulate abortion are also constitutional. From its inception in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to its articulation in the 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart case, the abortion “right” announced by the U.S. Supreme Court has been explicitly qualified. Affirming what it considered the essential holding of Roe, the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey asserted that “it is a constitutional liberty of the woman to have some freedom to terminate her pregnancy… The woman’s liberty is not so unlimited, however, that from the outset [of pregnancy] the State cannot show its concern.”
In Roe, while the Court established a federal constitutional “right” to abortion, it simultaneously expressed that “[t]he State has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other medical procedure, is performed under circumstances that [ensure] maximum safety for the patient.” In Casey and Gonzales, the Court continued to affirm its “essential holding” that states have a “legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman.”
This means that states can enact abortion regulations and restrictions aimed at protecting the health of the mother even in the earliest stages of pregnancy. Significantly, the AUL model legislation featured in the Infants’ Protection Project simultaneously protect unborn children and their mothers. For example, the Women’s Health Defense Act and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act protect unborn infants from barbaric and painful practices, while also protecting their mothers from the dangers inherent in later-term abortions. The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act and the Perinatal Hospice Information Act protect unborn children from being aborted because they are an undesired sex or have genetic abnormalities or life-limiting conditions, while also protecting their mothers from the well-documented psychological trauma that can follow aborting for these reasons.
Importantly, writing in Stenberg v. Carhart, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that the “[s]tates also have an interest in forbidding medical procedures which, in the State’s reasonable determination, might cause the medical profession or society as a whole to become insensitive, even disdainful, to life, including life in the human fetus.” It is legitimate to affirm “that medical procedures must be governed by moral principles having their foundation in the intrinsic value of human life, including life of the unborn.” Prohibiting or limiting abortions performed for eugenic or other immoral reasons, as well as abortions performed later in pregnancy, clearly satisfy this commonsense principle.
The Infants’ Protection Project features eight pieces of expertly crafted AUL model legislation that provide legal recognition and protection of unborn children and affirm their humanity:
- Unborn Infants Dignity Act ensuring that every mother of a deceased unborn infant is given the opportunity to ensure that her child is treated with dignity and respect; that all deceased infants receive respectful treatment; and that the bodies of aborted infants are not exploited for scientific or pecuniary gain.
Deceased unborn infants deserve the same respect as other human beings. Tragically, many states do not ensure that miscarried, stillborn, or aborted infants are treated with dignity, such as receiving proper burials. Many states also fail to require fetal death reporting and the issuance of fetal death certificates for unborn infants lost early in pregnancy, and do not offer their grieving parents Certificates of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth or similar legal documents. The Unborn Infants Dignity Act remedies these deficiencies.
Click here to read our analysis of the Constitutionality of the Unborn Infants Dignity Act
- “Missouri Preamble” providing that each life begins at conception; that unborn children have protectable interests in life, health, and well-being; and that parents have protectable interests in the life, health, and well-being of their unborn children. Further, the Act provides that all state laws shall be interpreted to extend every protection to unborn children not prohibited by the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court jurisprudence. It is based on a 1986 Missouri law.
- Women’s Health Defense Act limiting abortions at or after five months of pregnancy based on the pain felt by unborn children and the substantial risks these abortions pose to women’s health.
- Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act banning the unnecessary and barbaric partial-birth abortion procedure and modeled after the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carhart.
- Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act banning abortions performed solely for reasons of sex-selection or genetic abnormalities such as Down Syndrome.
- Perinatal Hospice Information Act ensuring that every woman considering an abortion after receiving a life-limiting fetal diagnosis is aware of the availability of perinatal hospice.
- Born-Alive Infant Protection Act protecting all infants born alive during abortions or attempted abortions and including appropriate penalties.
- Unborn Wrongful Death Act permitting a wrongful death claim in the death of an unborn child, at any stage of development or gestation, remedying both the lack of wrongful death laws in some states and the lack of comprehensive protection provided by most existing state laws.
The legal and policy experts at AUL look forward to assisting state legislators and policymakers in implementing the legislative and policy goals of the Infants’ Protection Project and Defending Life!