Americans United for Life Responds to Supreme Court's Denial of Review in Life Cases: A Huge Victory for Choose Life Plates in Arizona, Disappointment in Missouri and New Jersey Cases

Monday, October 6, 2008 General News
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CHICAGO, Oct. 6 In response to the U.S. Supreme Court announcement that it will not grant further review to life-related cases from Arizona, Missouri, and New Jersey, Americans United for Life (AUL) made the following statements.

Arizona Life Coalition v. Stanton requires that Choose Life license plates be offered in Arizona.

Denise Burke, AUL's Vice President & Legal Director said: "This is a huge victory for 'Choose Life' license plates. By denying review, the Court has affirmed that Arizona and other states cannot deny Choose Life license plates simply because of their pro-life message."

AUL filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit on behalf of pregnancy care centers arguing that the Arizona Life Coalition was discriminated against when the state failed to grant its petition for a "Choose Life" license plate. The Ninth Circuit agreed, and the State of Arizona subsequently petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

AUL's amicus brief before the Ninth Circuit is available at

As cases involving "Choose Life" license plates are still pending in New Jersey, New York, and Oklahoma, AUL's Staff Counsel Mailee Smith remarked, "We are hopeful that the Court's denial of review will signal to those courts that states cannot discriminate against 'Choose Life' license plates."

In addition, the Court denied review in Roe v. Crawford, a Missouri case where a female prison inmate has successfully argued that she has a right to be transported at state expense for an elective abortion. At issue was a Department of Corrections policy prohibiting such transport.

"By denying review, the Supreme Court is allowing a prisoner to unilaterally demand that she be transported for a controversial elective procedure where the associated costs will ultimately be borne by the taxpayers," stated AUL Vice President & Legal Director Denise Burke. "The Court is also ignoring the state's interest in protecting women from the negative consequences of abortion --- especially those women who are in custody and under the care of the state."

AUL filed an amicus brief on behalf of Missouri legislators arguing in favor of the prison policy. The Eighth Circuit sided in part with AUL, agreeing that the denial of elective abortions does not constitute "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Eighth Amendment, and even stating that elective abortions do not constitute medical need. However, the court ultimately agreed with the inmate that her Fourteenth Amendment "right" to abortion means that the state must transport her for abortion.

AUL's amicus brief before the Eighth Circuit is available at

Finally, the Court also denied review in Acuna v. Turkish, a New Jersey case where an abortionist failed to adequately counsel and answer a woman's questions before her abortion.

"This case underscores the dire need for comprehensive informed consent laws. Had the abortionist in this case been held to this type of legal requirement, Ms. Acuna would have received the information she needed in making the abortion decision," stated AUL Staff Counsel Mailee Smith.

To date, New Jersey, 17 other states, and the District of Columbia do not require that women receive any information pertinent to making the abortion decision.

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


SOURCE Americans United For Life

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