Communications Department


Feb 15, 2023 | 2023 Press Releases, Press Releases, Press Room

WASHINGTON – The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life affiliates in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, rejects legislation and policy initiatives that would impose criminal penalties on women who have abortions.

“In every abortion, there are two victims: the unborn child who is killed, and her mother who is abandoned by the abortion industry to deal with any physical complications and emotional and psychological trauma following the abortion,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.

In a joint letter initiated by NRLC in May of 2022 prior to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs, more than 70 state, national, and international pro-life organizations joined NRLC in urging legislators to promote life-affirming legislation that does not seek to criminalize women. From the letter:

As national and state pro-life organizations, representing tens of millions of pro-life men, women, and children across the country, let us be clear:  We state unequivocally that we do not support any measure seeking to criminalize or punish women and we stand firmly opposed to include such penalties in legislation.

If the Supreme Court does overturn Roe v. Wade, they will be honoring the unambiguous division of powers described in the Constitution, returning abortion policymaking back to our elected state and federal legislators. This will be a tremendous opportunity for states to create durable policy that can stand the test of time. But in seizing that opportunity, we must ensure that the laws we advance to protect unborn children do not harm their mothers.

We are America’s leading advocates for life. We come from very different backgrounds and perspectives, but we are united in our mission to protect unborn children and American women from the greed of the abortion industry. We have been in this fight for decades – many of us have dedicated our lives to this cause. We understand better than anyone else the desire to punish the purveyors of abortion who act callously and without regard to the dignity of human life. But turning women who have abortions into criminals is not the way.

“The pro-life movement encourages actions that show love and compassion toward women who have abortions and policies that strengthen the life-affirming resources for abortion-vulnerable women in their states,” Tobias added.

The full letter is available here:

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of affiliates in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia 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, National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.