Joe Scheidler (center) with AUL’s first executive director, Pat Trueman, and current president, Charmain Yoest
It was a real honor to be invited the Americans United for Life (AUL) Legal Defense Fund’s celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Harris v. McRae and the successful defense of the Hyde Amendment.
The event was held this past Monday, June 22, at the Roof Top Terrace of Metropolitan Square, the building which houses AUL’s impressive offices.
Helping AUL Get Going
I can’t really figure out why I got a special invitation to this event. Maybe word got out about how I helped AUL hire their first executive director, Pat Trueman, and become a premier pro-life legal organization.
Pat was an ardent pro-life activist and law student and planned to return to his hometown of Buffalo, Minnesota, to practice law, but I wanted to see him continue in the pro-life movement. So with the help of my Uncle Leo Pursley, who was the Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and president of Our Sunday Visitor, I procured the money needed for AUL to hire him as their first executive director here in Chicago.
AUL Defends the Hyde Amendment
Trueman, along with Chicago greats like Dennis Horan and Victor Rosenblum, who carried the Hyde arguments before the High Court, along with Boston’s Joe Stanton, went to work defending the Hyde Amendment.
Representative Henry Hyde had introduced the amendment, which prevented the use of federal tax dollars for abortion, in Congress in 1976, and it was passed.
The amendment was challenged by Cora McRae, who filed suit against Health and Human Services Secretary Patricia Harris to prevent its implementation. On June 30, 1980, after a four year battle, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the funding restrictions of the Hyde Amendment were constitutional.
Speakers Praise the Hyde Amendment
In his talk to the gathering, Pat Trueman praised Hyde and said his amendment has saved the lives of thousands of unborn children.
Also speaking were Ed Grant, who fought for the amendment as chief council of AUL at the time, and Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President of AUL, as well as William Saunders, Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs.
A Beautiful but Sobering View
I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, despite temperatures in the 90s, and talked to many of the more than a hundred lawyers, students, and staff in attendance.
The view from the Roof Top Terrace, the view was spectacular. There was the Treasury Building below, the Washington Monument just down the street and the White House in all its glory. I remembered the breakfast Ann, Eric and I had enjoyed there on January 22, the last year that George W. Bush was president.
We were not invited this year, and none of us would have gone anyway. It was depressing to think of who now resides in that beautiful residence. But the Hyde Amendment still stands—for now.