We fight a long, protracted and complex battle

With our state affiliates, we are on the frontlines in the battle to protect the pre-born, their mothers and the medically fragile in need of care. With affiliates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and thousands of local chapters across the county, National Right to Life is often referred to as the “flagship of the pro-life movement.”

National Right to Life Committee, Inc. (NRLC) was formed in 1968 with the support of religious leaders who saw the need for an organization singularly focused on advocating for the protection of human life, one that would work across all faith traditions and with those having no religious belief. 

Pursuing policies that underscore the humanity of the pre-born child, NRLC has advanced educational and legislative initiatives in every corner of the country. Legislation curtailing the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion is considered a key turning point, moving the needle of public opinion toward the pro-life position in the 1990s and 2000s. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act eventually became federal law, was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, and became the model for exposing Roe v. Wade’s glaring flaws. After Nebraska’s passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in 2010, the first of its kind in the U.S., NRLC planted the seed for Mississippi Right to Life to challenge its state’s 20-week protection for the pre-born. Mississippi’s passage of a groundbreaking 15-week abortion ban in 2015, the Gestational Age Act, led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Victories like these do not happen overnight. Aside from drafting effective model legislation, NRLC and its affiliates spend thousands of hours every election cycle vetting candidates for office and holding current elected officials accountable to their promises to protect life. Additionally, extensive resources are put into vetting potential nominees to both federal and state courts. While much of this happens behind the scenes, it is critical for the protection of innocent human life under the law.

Advancing federal legislation takes unswerving dedication and time

NRLC has had a direct hand in successfully passing an unmatched number of pro-life policies:


  • 1976: Hyde Amendment was first added to federal appropriations bills
  • 1984: President Reagan Signs Mexico City Policy, curbs international abortions
  • 2002: Born-Alive Infants Protection Act
  • 2003: Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act**
  • 2004: Unborn Victims of Violence Act
  • 2017: Allowing states to steer tax dollars away from abortion clinics


  • 1989: Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act
  • 2010: Nebraska Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
  • 2015: Mississippi Gestational Age Act (15-week protection)
  • 2022: West Virginia and Indiana Pro-Life Protections.
  • 2023: Florida and South Carolina Heartbeat Protections.

Along with these legislative successes, there are countless examples of NRLC stepping in to stop dangerous proposals when most believed all hope was lost. Beyond the state and federal landscape, we have successfully stopped dangerous policies put forward by the United Nations, the World Health Organization and other international powerbrokers.

*Not an exhaustive list.
**Thirty-three states enacted partial-birth abortion bans following the federal partial-birth abortion ban debate in Congress.

She spoke for humankind, to a calling greater than to oneself

Remembering Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson (1926–2010)

  • 1971, became a member of the NRLC board of directors
  • 1973, elected vice president of NRLC
  • 1974, elected chairman of the board
  • 1975, elected president of NRLC, serving three terms

“With the obstetrician and mother becoming the worst enemy of the child and the pediatrician becoming the assassin for the family, the state must be enabled to protect the child, born and unborn.”

Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson, 1981 Congressional appearance

“We come together from all parts of our land—we who are known as the right-to-life people. We come rich and poor, proud and plain, religious and agnostic, politically committed and independent. We can only agree on our respect for life and our determination to defend the right to life.”

Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson, 1977 Right to Life Convention book

“And remember, the fight for the right to life is not the cause of a special few, but the cause of every man, woman and child who cares not only about his or her own family, but the whole family of man.”

Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson