Yoest: Arizona 20-Week Gestational Ban Written With Kennedy In Mind


Emily Bazelton’s insightful profile of American United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest is a detailed and colorful picture of a woman she frames as waging a “cheerful” war on abortion. The New York Times piece also includes a very interesting tidbit about the upcoming court challenge over Arizona’s 20-week gestational abortion ban, which will be heard by the Ninth Circuit on Monday.

According to Yoest, regardless of the outcome next week, AUL considers it a win.

Yoest was also involved in pushing for Arizona’s Mother’s Health and Safety Act, which passed in April and bans abortions after 20 weeks because the risks of medical complications rise around this point in pregnancy — in other words, supposedly to protect women’s health…From Yoest’s perspective, the Arizona litigation is win-win: if the Ninth Circuit strikes the law down, the case could be bound for the Supreme Court, where Yoest hopes that Justice Kennedy would take kindly to the idea that the law was written to help women.

“I’m thinking about flying to San Francisco to hear the argument in the case because that’s such a signature piece of legislation for us,” she said about the Arizona law. “Expanding its reach to other states will definitely be one of our priorities.”

Yoest makes it clear that the legislation was written with the dual intent both of offering the Supreme Court an opportunity to decide that “fetal pain” could be a new cut-off point for banning abortion (despite the medical inaccuracy of the claims), as well as an opening for the court to extend the state’s interest in promoting fetal life to an interest in “protecting” women who are pregnant from potential harm—something Yoest believes Kennedy of all the justices would be willing to consider.

Roe very seriously could be in jeopardy just 40 years after being put in place.

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