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NRLC President Carol Tobias lauds grassroots pro-lifers in opening session of NRLC 2012

by | Jun 28, 2012

NRLC President Carol Tobias

Good morning.  Welcome to the 42nd annual National Right to Life Convention.  It is a pleasure to see each one of you here.  We have a great convention lined up for you.  This morning we have Steven Mosher.  Later today, Lila Rose, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Congressman Chris Smith and Reggie Littlejohn, tomorrow Congressman Trent Franks and Senator Kelly Ayotte.  We will hear from Msgr James Lisante and Governor Sam Brownback—an all-star line-up.

And in-between, workshops on almost every topic you could want to learn more about.  Webcam abortions, using social media to advance life, Planned Parenthood, abortion on the international scene, working with legislators, fundraising, the legal stuff with the IRS and the FEC, assisted suicide, working with your churches, polling, politics, denial of medical treatment.  I think we have something for everyone.

We all have a love for life and a respect for the dignity and sanctity of every human life.  There are no strangers here, so use this time to visit with others, learn how something you’re doing can maybe be done more effectively.  Share your successes and your ideas so others can be encouraged.

This really is the premier gathering of right-to-lifers from all around the country.  We have people here from our state affiliates and those who work with one of the 3000 local chapters.  Thank you for coming.

Also here are people who work with pregnancy resource centers, working directly with the women who are facing a difficult time in their lives.  Thank you for coming.

There are women here who have had abortions.  Some of you have shared your story and are working with us to encourage moms to choose life for their baby.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few women here who have had an abortion but you haven’t told anyone– that’s something that you feel you need to hide.  I assure you that you are among friends; we’re glad you are here.

We’re also thrilled at the number of young people at the convention, but I’ll talk about them in just a few minutes.

Thanks to your hard work in the 2010 elections, 2011 and 2012 have been record-breaking years for passing pro-life legislation.  Following up on Nebraska’s ground-breaking passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act BEFORE the 2010 elections, six more states have passed this legislation, protecting unborn children who are capable of feeling pain.

We have passed state legislation requiring the abortionist to provide specific information to a mother considering abortion; some of these laws require the abortionist to perform an ultrasound prior to the abortion, giving the mother an opportunity to see her unborn baby.

Some states passed a law prohibiting the use of webcams so that an abortionist cannot prescribe a chemical abortion to a woman in another city or state.  States have passed laws to “opt out” of abortion provisions coming through Obamacare.

What was even more fun was seeing states like North Carolina and New Hampshire override vetoes of protective legislation by pro-abortion governors. 

And just as importantly, states like Vermont and Hawaii have been able to hold off anti-life laws, like assisted suicide.  But it’s an on-going battle and I know they would appreciate your prayers and support as that battle continues.  As long as you’re praying, add Massachusetts as they fend off an assisted suicide ballot measure this fall.

There were many pro-life victories in the state legislatures.  Elections do matter, and we have another opportunity to make a difference in about four months. 

Earlier this year, we had the big Planned Parenthood and Susan G Komen controversy.  Susan G Komen Race for the Cure was giving money to Planned Parenthood, apparently under the mistaken impression that PP was doing mammograms.  When Komen announced that PP would not be eligible for “grants” there was an unbelievable uproar in the media.  PP couldn’t take that publicity hit; they want to be considered a “respectable” organization and one donor folding could cause others to fold.  Unfortunately, Komen was bullied into reversing their position.

MSNBC and National Public Radio have both done stories on the annual Koman races, saying that participation in this year’s races is down anywhere from 30-50% all over the country.  These media outlets —not exactly known for their conservative bent— attributed that decrease to PP supporters who were angry that Komen tried to cut-off funding.  But the money still flows.  Why would they stay away?

I think it’s the other side of the coin.  A lot of eyes were opened by the Komen PP connection.   People who are genuinely concerned about breast cancer now know that they should find other cancer-fighting organizations to support.  They want to support breast cancer research, not the largest abortion provider in the nation.

That flare-up was soon followed by the mandate from the Obama administration, forcing religious institutions to provide services through their insurance plans that the institutions find to be morally objectionable.  Then came the big “controversy” over Virginia’s legislation to require the abortionist to perform an ultrasound before an abortion.

And the so-called war on women was launched.  Actually, our opponents had been talking about the war on women for a while, but it didn’t gain real traction until a few months ago.

The so-called War on Women, as you all know, is a big myth.  If you think abortion should be restricted in any way, you are supposedly engaging in a war on women.  It is a pathetic ploy by President Obama and his allies to drum up support for a campaign in trouble.

Next January, America will recognize the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade and Doe v. Bolton.  While some in this country will be celebrating this so-called “right” for women, the rest of us will be remembering the 55 million unborn children who have lost their lives in this holocaust.

After 40 years, some pro-lifers are getting tired.  We all wonder how much longer this holocaust will continue.  I want to read one of my favorite bible verses:  Galatians 6:9  “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Let’s look to William Wliberforce, that great member of the British Parliament who was a leader for the abolition of slavery.  He introduced his first bill in 1788 in opposition to slave-trading in the British empire. Twenty years later, in 1807, parliament finally stopped the slave trade.  But slavery itself was still legal.  It look another 26 years to abolish slavery altogether.  Does anyone think Wilberforce and his allies should have given up?  No, and neither will we.

We have much to be optimistic about. 

A Gallup Poll released last month found that 50% of Americans identified themselves as pro-life and 41% identified themselves as pro-choice.  That figure of 41% is a record, the lowest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1995.

Looking more closely at the details, we find that 38% of Americans think abortion should be legal in all or most cases while 59% think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances or legal in only a few cases. 

Gallup’s summary – “Overall, Americans’ views on abortion have shifted slightly over the past several years, so that some groups who tended to be pro-choice from 2001-2008 are now more evenly divided in their views.  And others who were closely divided in their views from 2001-2008 now clearly tilt pro-life.”

Our efforts to change hearts and minds are seeing fruit.

Another reason to be optimistic is our young people.  While we are gather here, the National Teens for Life convention is also going on.  Young people from around the country are eager to learn how they can be more effective in shaping attitudes and influencing their peers.

Also here this week are students who are participating in our national oratory contest.  Our office interns are here, helping to keep the convention running smoothly.  Also with us, are current and former students in the annual National Right to Life Academy.  These are college students who will spend five weeks with us learning not only in-depth information on life issues, but how to give speeches, lobby elected officials, and do media interviews.  Please take some time to say a few words of encouragement to any of these young people.  They are the reason we will prevail.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, is stepping down from her position at the end of the year.  She said that the passion that our young people have for life is not found on her side.  Our young people have the intensity and the motivation to fight for what they believe in.  THAT is encouraging.

But don’t think she’s giving up.  Before stepping down at the end of the year, she hopes her crowning achievement will be helping to re-elect President Obama.  I’ve only met Nancy once; she may be a nice lady, but I have no trouble hoping that she is disappointed in her efforts.

We have much to be excited about, but we have much work to do.  We look forward to an exciting, informative, and motivational three days to help us in our endeavors.

Thank you.

Categories: NRLC