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William L. Saunders Jr.

Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs, Americans United for Life

William L. Saunders, Jr. is Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and Senior Counsel at Americans United for Life (AUL). He directs AUL’s international project and writes and speaks on a wide-range of life-related and human rights topics.

Before joining AUL, he served for ten years as Senior Fellow in Bioethics and Human Rights Counsel at the Family Research Council. Mr. Saunders was featured in Harvard’s first Guide to Conservative Public Interest Law in 2003 and again in the 2008 edition. He served on Harvard’s Advisory Committee for its 2008 celebration of public interest law. A member of the Supreme Court bar, he has authored numerous legal briefs in state, federal, foreign, and international courts.

Mr. Saunders’ articles and book chapters have been published by the university presses of Harvard, Villanova, Brigham Young, Fordham, Georgetown, Houston, Scranton, and the Catholic University of America, as well as by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Freedom House, Greenhaven Press, Rowan & Littlefield, Praeger, St. Augustine’s, and Intervarsity press. He has given lectures and participated in debates at many colleges, universities, and law schools, including Princeton, Harvard, Georgetown, and Notre Dame. He delivered the annual J. Michael Miller Lecture at the University of St. Thomas (on international law) in February 2007, the annual R. Wayne Kraft Memorial Lecture (on bioethics) at DeSales University in February 2004 and the annual James Moore Lecture (on human rights violations in Sudan) at Millikin University in 1999. He has also lectured, and/or has been published, in many foreign countries, including Italy, Germany, Poland, Austria, Spain, Greece, Slovakia, Mexico, Qatar, Malaysia, Romania, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom.

In addition to speaking and writing frequently on bioethics topics, Mr. Saunders has submitted testimony to the President’s Council on Bioethics, as well as to UNESCO’s Committee on Bioethics, and has briefed Congressional staff and state legislatures. He is a regular columnist for the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly.

Mr. Saunders has appeared often in the media, including BBC World News, CNN, Fox News, Vatican Radio, and National Public Radio. His articles on issues have appeared in a variety of journals, such as First Things, Human Events, Human Life Review, The Legal Times, Communio, The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy, Ethics & Medics, and Touchstone.

Mr. Saunders served on the official United States delegation to the UN Special Session on Children in 2001/02. In 2011, he was a speaker at an official briefing at the UN, addressing the topic, why euthanasia is not a human right.

In 2004, he served on the NGO Working Committee in connection with the Doha Intergovernmental Conference for the Family. He serves on the Management Committee of the World Congress of Families and has been a frequent speaker at its various congresses.

Mr. Saunders is Chairman of the Religious Liberties Group for the Federalist Society. He is Vice President of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and a member of the boards of the International Association of Catholic Bioethicists, the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Center for Law, Philosophy and Culture at the Catholic University of America.

In 1999, Mr. Saunders founded Sudan Relief and Rescue, Inc., to aid the persecuted church in Sudan. He has worked for and written on behalf of the persecuted church for many years.

Mr. Saunders attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a Morehead scholarship. He obtained his degree in law from the Harvard Law School. Mr. Saunders practiced law with the D.C. firm of Covington and Burling, and taught law at the Catholic University of America.

Publications and Multimedia
HHS "Contraceptive" Mandate - Litigation Update - Podcast
Religious Liberties Practice Group Podcast
April 29, 2013
Minority Religious Communities at Risk - Event Audio/Video
Religious Liberties Practice Group and The First Freedom Center
June 15, 2011
Christian Legal Society v. Martínez - Event Audio/Video
Religious Liberties Practice Group
April 14, 2010
Comparison of Conscience Provisions in Health Care Reform Bill
New Federal Initiatives Project
March 18, 2010
Romer v. Evans: The Supreme Court's Assault on Popular Sovereignty
Civil Rights Practice Group Newsletter - Volume 1, Issue 1, Fall 1996
December 01, 1996