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Meet ALEC's Equally Despicable Anti-Choice Cousin -- AUL

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abortions, abuse, americans, candidates, congress, constitution, corruption, cover-up, dishonesty, elections, Govtfearmongering, healthcare, lies, news, politics, propaganda, republicans, SupremeCourt )

- 2225 days ago -
When statehouses across the country started passing abortion bans at the seemingly arbitrary threshold of 20 weeks, was it a mere coincidence? When the "right to know" bills that required mandatory ultrasounds -- sometimes transvaginal ones -->

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Kit B (276)
Monday April 16, 2012, 5:20 pm
Photo Credit: Sarah Seltzer

When statehouses across the country started passing abortion bans at the seemingly arbitrary threshold of 20 weeks, was it a mere coincidence? When the "right to know" bills that required mandatory ultrasounds -- sometimes transvaginal ones -- before abortions were introduced or passed, in state after state, from Virginia to Texas to Pennsylvania, was that a matter of chance?

Of course not: none of these trends were the product of diabolical mind-sync on the part of anti-choice legislators. Instead, these bills arise from the tradition of blueprint legislation -- the practice of borrowing bill prototypes or model bills from a central national entity and then adapting them for introduction in statehouses. The practice is used on both sides of the aisle, but is particularly insidious in the case of anti-choice bills, part of the "war on women"-- the campaign to erode Roe until it's all but nonexistent.

Blueprint legislation has come to light recently thanks to the spotlight on the right-wing, corporate American Legislative Exchange Council, and in particular ALEC's hand in the proliferation of dangerous "stand your ground" laws, like Florida's, and discriminatory voter ID legislation.

ALEC has taken a hit in recent days as progressive activists, including ColorofChange and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, have convinced major companies -- among them Mars, McDonald's, Wendy's, Kraft, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Intuit, plus the Gates Foundation -- to drop their affiliations with ALEC in light of the Trayvon Martin case.

Anti-ALEC campaigns have been a huge success for progressives so far. But with the spotlight shining so strongly on ALEC, many Americans may not realize that ALEC isn't the only organization of its kind. Another group that's been responsible for plenty of alarming legislation is Americans United for Life -- ALEC's anti-choice cousin.

From the pushback against healthcare reform to the efforts to delegitimize Planned Parenthood to the late-term abortion battles of the late aughts, AUL's imprimatur is almost always there. Each year, the group puts out a publication, Defending Life, which in the group's own words, "combines our model legislation, expert analysis, and 50 state report cards into a single nonpartisan guide for legislators, policy makers, the media, and interested Americans."

Like ALEC, AUL has been gaining a lot of state-level traction since the arrival of the Tea Party in 2010. Much of the reporting we've done at AlterNet this past year and a half on the erosion of reproductive rights and healthcare for all has focused on documenting legislative gains by anti-choice factions in state legislatures.

As a recent Guttmacher Institute study reminds us, the ground has shifted in a significant way thanks to this legislative assault. "In 2000, the country was almost evenly divided, with nearly a third of American women of reproductive age living in states solidly hostile to abortion rights, slightly more than a third in states supportive of abortion rights and close to a third in middle-ground states," Guttmacher director of policy analysis Rachel Benson Gold said in a statement announcing the report. "By 2011, however, more than half of women of reproductive age lived in hostile states. This growth came largely at the expense of the states in the middle, and the women who live in them; in 2011, only one in 10 American women of reproductive age lived in a middle-ground state."
Please read full article - posted as one page.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer and Lauren Kelley

Kit B (276)
Monday April 16, 2012, 5:25 pm

Need more evidence of a comprehensive assault of women's rights and the most basic human right to make decisions about ones own body? I think if you read this article many questions will be answered.

Discussions about any topic are healthy, these are not discussions they are a paid assault on women.

Tomoko Harris (83)
Monday April 16, 2012, 5:31 pm
United for life - my butt! They hate women and want them to live slaves, do nothing but pump babies out and there is no one to feed or care them.

Thomas H (37)
Tuesday April 17, 2012, 9:28 am
I opined on another article how a certain pro-gun forum I sometimes visit has posts from people who really do hate Democracy and that long for the good old days when only wealthy "land owners" were granted the right to vote, about 10-20% of the populace would be about right, they said. Well. I saw another thread there started by someone who received an email asking him to sign petitions, give money, etc to anti-ALEC organizations. He was very proud to have identified it as yet another insidious liberal ploy designed specifically to take his 'freedoms' that he gladly sent ALEC $25. He asked that everyone else on that forum do the same.


Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Tuesday April 17, 2012, 1:13 pm
All Roe attacks are gender attacks but there are there are some gender attacks that are not Roe attacks. All gender attacks infuriate me. A war fought and won, we/I thought. So even with my walker, in the land of Super Sheriff and very nasty police, I get out with the young ones at either of the two nearby Occupys when a gender issue is the focus of an action.

Aimee A (177)
Tuesday April 17, 2012, 3:44 pm
It's 2012 and sexism still reigns supreme. Ug! Thanks for posting!

David C (131)
Tuesday April 17, 2012, 5:11 pm
there'd be a lot fewer abortions if people could have cheap and easy access to birth control....but NOOOOOO...the same brainless people who are anti-abortion tend to be anti-birth control......

Freya H (357)
Tuesday April 17, 2012, 6:50 pm
Thank you for helping to expose these ratbags, Kit!

Michael T (82)
Tuesday April 17, 2012, 8:41 pm
Thanks Kit for another great reminder of how twisted this whole thing has become. Perhaps you were involved and engaged in trying to bring this stuff to light 4-5 years ago. I wish that I had been more aware, and I wish that many of the organizations that are going after ALEC and AUL had been going after them for a lot longer and that American awareness had been achieved farther back in time than just now. And there are moneyed people like the Kochs for example in S. Carolina, called Art Pope who are buying off real democracy and turning our entire system into a horror show. Orwell was quite a prophet. Geeze!

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Tuesday April 17, 2012, 8:50 pm
"Although the Komen ordeal was an utter failure for AUL, it's clear that AUL still has clout -- though how exactly it wields that clout remains unclear.....

Regardless, AUL's messaging is obviously hugely popular among disciples of the "toss everything against a wall and see what sticks" school of anti-choice legislating. Its Defending Life publication goes into everything from fetal pain and "personhood" to late-term abortions and mandatory ultrasounds (in deceptive anti-choice-speak, a woman's "right to know"). The group is behind bills that would have legalized the murder of abortion providers and the lies about the Affordable Care Act expanding abortion access.

Anti-choice legislators didn't concoct this stuff on their own. There was a blueprint. And it came from AUL."

Awwww, gee, and here all along I thot it WAS "a mere coincidence".

KS Goh (0)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 3:25 am
Thanks for the article.

JL A (281)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 9:41 am
Can ALEC be a named defendant in civil suits filed against states that passed their 'model legislation'?

Kit B (276)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 10:28 am

@J.L A: This is one answer to your question.

A duty placed upon a civil or criminal defendant to prove or disprove a disputed fact.

Burden of proof can define the duty placed upon a party to prove or disprove a disputed fact, or it can define which party bears this burden. In criminal cases, the burden of proof is placed on the prosecution, who must demonstrate that the defendant is guilty before a jury may convict him or her. But in some jurisdiction, the defendant has the burden of establishing the existence of certain facts that give rise to a defense, such as the insanity plea. In civil cases, the plaintiff is normally charged with the burden of proof, but the defendant can be required to establish certain defenses.

Burden of proof can also define the burden of persuasion, or the quantum of proof by which the party with the burden of proof must establish or refute a disputed factual issue. In criminal cases, the prosecution must prove the defendant's guilt Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

Judges explain the reasonable doubt standard to jurors in a number of ways. Federal jury instructions provide that proof beyond a reasonable doubt is "proof of such a convincing character that a reasonable person would not hesitate to act upon it in the most important of his own affairs." State judges typically describe the standard by telling jurors that they possess a reasonable doubt as to the defendant's guilt if, based on all the evidence in the case, they would be uncomfortable with a criminal conviction. In giving the reasonable doubt instruction, judges regularly remind jurors that a criminal conviction imposes a variety of hardships on a defendant, including public humiliation, incarceration, fines, and occasionally the Forfeiture of property. Reasonable doubt is the highest standard of proof used in any judicial proceeding.

Reasonable doubt is also a constitutionally mandated burden of proof in criminal proceedings. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendments to the federal constitution prohibit criminal defendants from being convicted on any quantum of evidence less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. in Re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 90 S. Ct. 1068, 23 L. Ed. 2D 368 (1970). Although the reasonable doubt standard is not specifically mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, the Court observed that the standard is so deeply rooted in the nation's history as to reflect the fundamental value that "it is far worse to convict an innocent man than to let a guilty man go free."

In civil litigation the standard of proof is either proof by a preponderance of the evidence or proof by clear and convincing evidence. Both are lower burdens of proof than beyond a reasonable doubt. A preponderance of the evidence simply means that one side has more evidence in its favor than the other, even by the smallest degree. Clear and convincing evidence is evidence that establishes the truth of a disputed fact by a high probability. Criminal trials employ a higher standard of proof because criminal defendants often face the deprivation of life or liberty if convicted while civil defendants generally only face an order to pay money damages if the plaintiff prevails.

Further readings
Scheibe, Benjamin D. 2003. "Claim of Reverse Engineering Doesn't Alter Burden of Proof." The Los Angeles Daily Journal 116 (October 2).

Twining, William and Stein, Alex, eds. 1992. Evidence and Proof. New York: New York University Press.

Burden of Persuasion; Due Process of Law; Evidence; Fifth Amendment; Fourteenth Amendment; Proof; Reasonable Doubt.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


burden of proof n. the most important rule of evidence in the trial of civil (not criminal) cases. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff (the party bringing the lawsuit) to show by a "preponderance of evidence" or "weight of evidence" that all the facts necessary to win a judgment are probably true. In a criminal trial the burden of proof is required of the prosecutor to prove the guilt of the accused is "beyond a reasonable doubt," a much more difficult hurdle. Unless there is a complete failure to present substantial evidence of a vital fact (usually called an "element of the cause of action"), the ultimate decision as to whether the plaintiff has met his/her burden of proof rests with the jury or the judge if there is no jury. However, the burden of proof is not always on the plaintiff. In some issues it may shift to the defendant if he/she raises a factual issue in defense, such as a claim that he/she was not the registered owner of the car that hit the plaintiff, so the defendant must prove his/her claim. If at the close of the plaintiff's presentation he/she has not presented any evidence on a necessary fact (e.g. any evidence of damage) then the case may be dismissed without the defendant having to put on any evidence. (See: preponderance of the evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, prima facie)

Copyright 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

burden of proof noun adequate evidence, adequate proof legally presented at trial, burden of going forward, legal responsibility, obligation of going forward, sufficient corroboration, sufficient evidence in a case, sufficient eviience to establish a case, sufficient proof, sufficient proof of facts, validation of proof of a case, verification of proof of a case
Associated concepts: cause of action or claim, evidence, evvdential burden, failure to sustain, preponderance of the evidence, prima facie case, rebuttal, weight of evidence
Foreign phrases: Onus probani.Burden of proof.
Burton's Legal Thesaurus, 4E. Copyright 2007 by William C. Burton. Used with permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


BURDEN OF PROOF. This phrase is employed to signify the duty of proving the facts in dispute on an issue raised between the parties in a cause.
2. The burden of proof always lies on the party who takes the affirmative in pleading. 1 Mass. 71, 335; 4 Mass. 593; 9 Pick. 39.
3. In criminal cases, as every man is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proved, the burden of proof rests on the prosecutor, unless a different provision is expressly made by statute. 12 Wheat. See Onus probandi.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.

Link to this page:
burden of proof


Kit B (276)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 10:43 am

I would think that the outcome of the criminal trial (Zimmerman) will have an effect on whether or not ALEC and NRA, will face the possibly of a civil suit.
I can not find that so far any group or state has made the effort to sue AlEC or the NRA for these "castle" laws. The NRA is seen by many if not most Americans as simply a group that fights to protect a constitutional freedom. The reach and depth of the power of the NRA, or the far-reaching damage this group can and have done is rarely exposed. ALEC, is supposed to be a combined lobby group that allows for many businesses and corporations to reach Congress with their various needs, those who have left the group say they did not or could not foresee that ALEC would be acting against the best interest of the public.

Thomas H (37)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 1:49 pm
Can you imagine the potential outcry were Republicans to learn that George Soros' organization(s) writes "model legislation" for Dems? Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 2:12 pm

It's interesting that any organization that receives funding from George Soros is labeled as "liberal", communist, secretive, select, anti-American, and yet, I personally had never considered the Brookings Institute as having a strong political agenda. Koch Brothers funding is labeled and not just conservative but of course, financially conservative, strongly pro-American(or their idea of America). And yet...for financial conservatives they certainly toss money around.

Actually any lobby group should be banned from any communication or financial involvement with Congress.

Michael T (82)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 3:44 pm
I'll gladly raise a glass in toast of that. I have been thinking lately that one of the reasons we aren't hearing very much from Democrats in the house and senate is because of those very reasons. Think about it. It is coming to light with greater transparency that representatives are and have been on the take. When Nixon left office there were some 300 lobbyists in DC. I think there are now some 25,000 (maybe its 2,500). I think members of the Democratic congress are afraid their ties to lobbying is going to be revealed. They are living on the edge dependent upon this income for re-election (as are all others). It makes for shaky times and they are looking over their shoulders. The whole bunch ought to be replaced but the likelihood of that as we all know is minimal. Real efforts to put the kabosh on lobbying, and all the other taboos isn't going to be met with real energy. It is disgusting.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 3:58 pm

Every citizen has a right to write or call Congress, and should do that. Lobbies are way out hand, and now with Citizens United, all or about 98% of Congress is on the take from lobbies. Is it really any wonder that Congress is corrupt and in constant conflict? Yes, the Constitution wanted the House in conflict, but the founders saw that as a way to come to consensus. The Senate is not supposed to just bottle up every thing coming from the House, rather they are meant to screen, ponder, discuss and finally vote on each bill. That some things move slowly is not the problem, the problem is that each side is pushing for their backers not for the people.

Michael T (82)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 4:20 pm
You're absolutely right. What will it matter if I call my Senator or Congressman? What can I offer in comparison to what a lobbyist can offer? I can't offer him/her significant funds for re-election and I can't offer him/her a job later at a lobbyists office. So why listen to me? I keep getting all kinds of condescending and patronizing responses from my rep's office in response to petitions I sign and messages I leave with aide's. Rubio would only talk to me if I convinced his aids that I was David Koch or Karl Rove. Property speaks louder than speech, and I don't hold any significant amounts of property or influence. I'm just a citizen. We have to change that.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 4:39 pm

If we want to save the idea of this country, then we had better get it together and make some very LOUD demands and not stop till things really change.

Michael T (82)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 4:44 pm
Well, I just spent some money on the Florida Powerball. It's up to 131 mill. I'll get 2/3rds of that after the IRS takes what most millionaires should pay and I'll start talking real loud for all of us.

Susanne R (235)
Wednesday April 18, 2012, 8:45 pm
It appears that the Republicans have their own antithesis of the holy trinity: the Tea Party, ALEC and AUL. Three not-so-divine entities in one GOP.

For the past few years, I thought the Tea Party was responsible for causing more hate and divisiveness in this country than just about any other group I'd ever heard of. Then I learned about the insatiably greedy Koch brothers and their brainchild, ALEC. And now I'm informed that ALEC has an equally cruel and bullying brother named AUL! What is this country coming to! AUL has no more right to dictate a woman's reproductive choices than ALEC does to write laws at its private meetings and have them introduced to Congress by their bought-and-paid for legislators. We've made some progress in weakening the Tea Party and ALEC, but we're going to have to make a lot of noise in order to pull the rug out from under AUL.

Thanks for educating us about AUL, Kit! One more battle to fight before we can win the war!
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