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Americans United for Life Assesses State Ballot Initiative Outcomes, Predicts Regrouping and Strong Comeback in Next Election Cycle for Life Issues

Thursday, November 6, 2008 General News J E 4
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CHICAGO, Nov. 5 Americans United for Life (AUL) today released analysis of the results of yesterday's life-related ballot initiatives. The election saw pro-life ballot initiatives on abortion defeated in California, Colorado, and South Dakota while initiatives legalizing physician-assisted suicide in Washington state and destructive embryonic stem cell research in Michigan were approved.



Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President & CEO of AUL said: "We applaud the work of those who strove to protect human life through state ballot initiatives this year. We will continue working at both the state and federal levels in the days ahead to advance the culture of life. These results do not square with an American electorate that is increasingly pro-life. The life movement will reassess and regroup for the next election cycle with new ways to communicate that even the weakest amongst us should be welcomed in life and defended in law."



California: Defeat of Proposition 4 (Parental Notice)

For the third time in six years, California voters failed to pass Proposition 4, or "Sarah's Law," an amendment to the California Constitution that would have protected parental rights and the safety of minors by ensuring that parents are notified of their minor daughter's abortion at least 48 hours prior to the abortion.



"The defeat of Proposition 4 is a loss for California parents and children who remain vulnerable to sexual abuse, coerced abortions, and inadequate care at abortion facilities," said Denise Burke, AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs. "Proposition 4 would have put California in line with the rest of the nation, as the vast majority of the states have enacted parental involvement laws."



Washington: Approval of Initiative 1000 (Physician-Assisted Suicide)

In Washington state I-1000 was approved by voters, making Washington the second state -- after Oregon -- to legalize physician-assisted suicide. The newly enacted measure creates financial incentives for healthcare insurance companies to deny coverage for life-saving treatment and to pressure vulnerable patients to choose physician-assisted suicide. In addition, the measure does not provide adequate safeguards for those suffering from treatable mental illnesses, and requires physicians participating in patient suicides to falsify death certificates.



"The approval of Washington Initiative 1000 poses dangers for the rest of the nation," stated J. Margaret Datiles, AUL Staff Counsel. "Now that physician-assisted suicide has been legalized in a state other than Oregon, assisted-suicide advocates will be working relentlessly to legalize the practice across the country."



Michigan: Approval of Proposal 2 (Embryonic Stem-Cell Research)

Michigan voters approved Proposal 2, the "Stem Cell Initiative." The amendment legalizes destructive research on human embryos, and will allow government funding for research on human embryos produced in fertility clinics.



"It's deeply troubling that a state would vote to legalize destructive embryonic stem-cell research at a time when research using adult stem cells is making such progress. It is truly a waste," added Smith.



South Dakota: Defeat of Initiated Measure 11 (Abortion Ban)

South Dakota failed to pass Initiated Measure 11, a constitutional amendment that would have banned abortions in South Dakota, except for those performed in cases of rape or incest, or when continued pregnancy severely endangers the woman's life or health. In 2006, South Dakota voters failed to pass a similar ban.



"Although ultimately unsuccessful, Initiated Measure 11 furthered the debate over the impact of abortion on women, the unborn, and our nation," said AUL Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe. "Given the mounting evidence of the negative impact of abortion, this is a discussion that we must continue to pursue in the days ahead."



Colorado: Defeat of Proposition 48 (Human Life Amendment)

Colorado voters failed to pass Proposition 48, the "Colorado Equal Rights Amendment," which would have amended the Colorado Constitution to define "person" as "any human being from the moment of fertilization," impacting actions undertaken by the State and its officials.



"As with the South Dakota abortion ban, the Colorado Human Life Amendment sparked needed debate and discussion within the pro-life movement," said Denise Burke, "We are confident that the pro-life movement will emerge from this election cycle stronger, wiser, and more determined."



About Americans United for Life

Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which every human being is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971. The Wall Street Journal has profiled AUL, and PBS' Frontline program chronicled AUL's successful efforts in Mississippi.



Media Contact

Matthew Eppinette

202-289-1479

matthew.eppinette@aul.org



SOURCE Americans United For Life
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