Communications Department

National Right to Life Mourns the Passing of Former Senator Tom Coburn, Champion of the Unborn Child and Friend of the Pro-Life Movement

Mar 28, 2020 | 2020 Press Releases, Press Releases, Press Room

Today, former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., passed away at the age of 72. Senator Coburn was a physician who over the course of his career delivered thousands of babies. He was a Republican who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a heavily Democrat district. He went on to be elected twice to the U.S. Senate, before retiring from Congress.

“Senator Coburn was a friend of unborn babies and worked tirelessly to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “We are honored to be able to call him a friend of the movement.”

Senator Coburn once said, “It is a real issue, a measurement of our society, when we say it’s fine to destroy unborn life who has a heartbeat at 16 days post-conception; 39 days post-conception you can measure the brain waves and pain is felt.” He challenged those with differing opinions and used his experiences as a physician to challenge those who considered the unborn child, those with disabilities, and the elderly as less worthy of life.

During the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Senator Coburn observed, “If we are to honor the heritage of our country, whether it be in terms of religious freedom, whether it be in terms of truly protecting, protecting not just the unborn but who comes next, the infirm, the elderly, the maimed, the disabled, that’s who comes next.”

“Unborn children had a dedicated defender in Tom Coburn,” said Tony Lauinger, vice president of National Right to Life and chairman of Oklahomans for Life. “There was no issue on which he placed a higher priority than the protection of the youngest and most helpless little members of our human family. He leaves a great legacy of devoted former staff members who have gone on to defend the right to life in our Oklahoma legislature. Senator Coburn will be greatly missed.”

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.