Over the past two years, several states have enacted legislation intended to punish criminal violence against pregnant women, and to provide legal protection for women who defend their unborn children against such attacks. Abortion-rights activists, however, claim that the laws -- based on model legislation proposed by Americans United for Life -- would actually authorize violence against abortion providers.
Mother Jones promoted that distortion today in an article by Nick Baumann and Daniel Schulman with the misleading headline: "Revealed: The Group Behind the Bills that Could Legalize Killing Abortion Providers." The article offers a conspiratorial take on the Pregnant Woman's Protection Act, saying the laws are "part of a campaign orchestrated" by AUL (which, in fact, has been very public about its advocacy).
"Research shows that pregnant women are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse," said Denise Burke, AUL's vice president of legal affairs. "It is tragic that the pro-abortion lobby maligns efforts to protect these women."
In a statement, Burke cited statistics about violence toward pregnant women, including a 1998 study that found "pregnant women are 60.6 percent more likely to be beaten than women who are not pregnant." Burke said "a pregnant woman is more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause. And case after case has demonstrated that husbands or boyfriends are often the perpetrators of pregnancy-associated violence and that this violence is often directed at the unborn child or intended to end or jeopardize the pregnancy."
The Mother Jones article claiming the AUL model legislation targeted abortionists was promoted at Huffington Post, and Burke said: "Pro-abortion groups and their allies in the media, including Mother Jones and the Huffington Post, appeared to have intentionally distorted their reporting . . . in an attempt to further their own political agendas. Their actions are not only dishonest, but they do a grave disservice to the hundreds of thousands of pregnant woman who are assaulted or killed every year in this country."