2014 "Life List" Crowns the “All Star” States That Attack Women’s Rights Best

What Women Really Think
Jan. 14 2014 11:31 AM

AUL’s “Life List” Crowns the “All Star” States That Attack Women’s Rights Best

Planned Parenthood is more concerned about its bottom line than about women, according to Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Americans United for Life, one of the most powerful opponents of reproductive health care, released their 2014 "Life List" today, celebrating the states that have done the most to deprive women of access to safe, legal abortion. The press release announcing the list—which Louisiana tops as the "most protective state," followed by Oklahoma, Arkansas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Texas—is an absolute masterpiece in smarmy bad faith. The premise? That safe, legal abortion needs to be chipped away for women's own good. "Each of AUL’s All Stars enacted life-saving legislation to protect mother and child from an abortion industry more committed to its financial bottom line than protecting women from a dangerous procedure that is too often performed in substandard facilities," writes Charmaine Yoest, the president of AUL. 

AUL is one of the architects of the popular strategy, which is employed by their "All Stars," of writing phony health regulations that serve no other purpose but to shut down clinics. For all its concern about women's health, however, AUL does not seem to care very much that not having an abortion means developing a condition known as child birth that usually requires hospitalization and much more invasive medical interventions than the extremely low-complication abortions AUL works to wipe out. Reading the press release, one gets the impression that abortion is something women just do because some marketer told them it was cool. Pregnancy, child birth, and the illegal means women turn to when they can't access legal abortion all go unmentioned. 


What is unclear is if anyone is fooled by this disingenuous pose of concern for the health of people who were, until recently, casually regarded by anti-choicers as murderers for wanting to terminate their pregnancies. On the "are you kidding me" scale, the claim that safe abortion must be ended to protect women falls somewhere between GOP claims to have an alternative health care plan and the assertion that the Civil War was not fought over slavery.

Regardless of whether there exists someone naive enough to buy this, however, the facts remain: Actual medical experts like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have denounced the phony health regulations aimed at shutting down abortion clinics, because the regulations "erode women’s health" by denying women "the benefits of well-researched, safe, and proven protocols." Child birth is 14 times more dangerous than legal abortion. (Not that child birth in the U.S. is particularly dangerous, with a fatality rate of 1 in 11,000. It's just that abortion is that safe.) Abortion is no more an "industry" than any other kind of medical care—including prenatal care and high-cost child-birth care—and, in many cases, it's provided by nonprofits like Planned Parenthood. Shutting down access to legal abortion drives desperate women into the black market, and illegal abortion, unlike legal abortion, does have a high fatality rate.

One of AUL's "All Stars"—probably Texas—will likely be in front of the Supreme Court soon, peddling the lie that legal abortion needs to be regulated out of existence for women's own good. Let's hope the obvious bad faith on display will be too much for the justices to sign off on. 

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.