By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, will be the only anti-abortion leader testifying at the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, the group announced today.
Chicago-based Americans United For Life doesn’t have the marquee value of groups like the Right to Life Committee, but it is the oldest anti-abortion group in the country. Founded in 1971, the group is involved in more than just anti-abortion causes. It also weighs in on issues related to health and biotechnology.
In a recent column for the Washington Times, Yoest wrote that Sotomayor is “more extreme” than Justice David Souter, whom Sotomayor is replacing.
Yoest is a calm, articulate, smart abortion opponent — the kind who gives abortion-rights supporters nightmares. Since virtually the moment Sotomayor’s name surfaced as a possible Supreme Court candidate, AUL has been conducting vigorous opposition research. It has set up two Web sites, including Sotomayor411.com that compares Souter to Sotomayor on a variety of issues, including abortion, end-of-life issues and the rights of abortion demonstrators. Suffice to say that Sotomayor doesn’t fare too well. And it has also has AskSotomayor.com, which lays out 10 questions that it says senators need to ask her.
Yoest plans to testify on Sotomayor’s involvement with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (FRLDEF), which she says proves that Sotomayor is an “abortion advocate.” The group has pushed aggressively for an interpretation of abortion rights that would eliminate most or all state and federal abortion regulations while requiring state and federal funding of abortion, Yoest maintains.
Over at God & Country, blogger Dan Gilgoff went back and looked at AUL’s initial take on Sotomayor. He says the group has toughed its position on the nominee since then, mostly because of revelations about her involvement with FRLDEF.
Yoest, who served as senior adviser to presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, earned her conservative credentials in the Reagan White House. She has her PhD in politics, served as vice president for communications for the Family Research Council, the Washington-based Christian ministry, and is author of “Mother in the Middle,” an examination of childcare policy. She and husband Jack have five children. They blog at Reasoned Audacity.