This year’s March for Life will include appearances by Dr. Kathi Aultman, a prominent purveyor of anti-choice misinformation who will speak alongside Vice President Mike Pence.
Aultman is an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), the “research” branch of the Susan B. Anthony List. CLI on its site claims to “bring together physicians, sociologists, statisticians, and policy researchers to do both original and interpretative research on a wide range of life issues.” Like its parent organization, which has worked hand-in-hand with the Trump administration, CLI has risen to prominence thanks to its anti-choice allies in the White House and the U.S. Congress. In November, Trump appointed Maureen Condic—another CLI associate scholar—to a six-year term on the National Science Board. The next month, two witnesses with ties to CLI gave testimony at a hearing on fetal tissue research held by two U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittees.
This Friday, Aultman will address the March for Life rally and will be the keynote speaker for the anti-choice organization’s Red Rose dinner, where Pence will also speak.
According to the bio of Aultman posted by March for Life, she “is a board-certified Ob/Gyn and a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists” and “a member of the American Association of Prolife Obstetricians and Gynecologists.” The bio says Aultman has testified in favor of anti-choice bills on the state and federal level. In recent years, Aultman has been a vocal proponent of so-called heartbeat bans, which would ban abortion as early as six weeks’ gestation, before many people know they are pregnant.
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During her testimony for one such bill in Iowa in 2018, Aultman explained that she had provided abortions prior to becoming an anti-choice activist. “I love to meet adults that I delivered, but it’s always bittersweet because I’m reminded of all the people I’ll never meet because I aborted them. It also reminds me that I am a mass murderer,” she said, according to the Des Moines Register.
Aultman said banning abortion once a heartbeat is detectable makes sense as it uses a “very concrete sign of life.” But as Rewire.News’ Laura Huss has explained, “this is far before the point of fetal viability and before a heart has fully formed.” Aultman’s testimony as written provided no scientific evidence to back her support of the measure.
A year earlier, Aultman offered Congressional testimony in favor of a federal heartbeat ban, hitting upon nearly identical anti-abortion talking points and offering no science or evidence to back up her assertions beyond alleged personal experience. As Rewire.News reported at the time, though Aultman identified herself as a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “the College’s companion organization, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), condemned the total abortion ban upon its introduction. A spokesperson for the College confirmed Aultman’s affiliation but said she’s not ACOG’s representative at the hearing.”
Aultman repeated common abortion myths during her account, suggesting she had treated women who dealt with the “medical and psychological complications” of abortion, though evidence shows abortion is safe and is not associated with increased mental health problems.
Aultman also testified in 2016 in support of a federal ban on abortion at 20 weeks after fertilization. Though evidence shows
a fetus can’t feel pain at this point in a pregnancy, Aultman falsely claimed otherwise and used politically-charged language to describe abortion procedures. “Should we not at least have compassion on babies at 20 weeks’ gestation when their nervous systems are developed enough for them to experience pain and protect them from the excruciating pain of being dismembered or killed in other ways?” she asked. She then compared patients seeking later abortion care to people killing a toddler.
“Hopefully we all agree that a mother should not be able to kill her 3 year old child; but what about an infant? There are some who advocate that a mother should have the right to euthanize her infant up until 3 months of age because there may be a defect that didn’t express itself at birth,” Aultman said.
During her 2017 House testimony, Aultman suggested the common use of medical terms like “fetus” demonstrates how societal attitudes are approaching the culture of Nazi Germany. “We don’t speak about the ‘baby’ but rather we talk about the ‘fetus.’ The abortionist ‘terminates the pregnancy’ rather than ‘killing the baby,’” she said. “As medical doctors and as a society we have moved away from the idea that life is precious and closer to the utilitarian attitude of German physicians just prior to WWII. More and more we are embracing a culture of death that only values the strong and healthy.”
Aultman’s presence at March for Life is no doubt meant to align with this year’s theme, which claims that “being pro-life is not in opposition to science.” It’s a narrative that the anti-choice movement and its allies have adopted, as Stat reported this week. But if Aultman’s past testimony is any indication of what she may discuss this weekend, her speeches are bound to ignore sound evidence and science about abortion.