NRL News

Why the NRLC Strategy works in state legislatures

by | Jan 31, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

NRLbannerThe 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade was over a week ago—January 22. There were state pro-life rallies before and after; we’ve written about many of them here in NRL News Today and will over the next few days. In addition there was the March for Life itself–January 25—which drew an incredible audience of grassroots pro-lifers. (See

With that in mind I’d like to briefly discuss a story that appeared last Friday in the Kansas City Star. Written by Brad Cooper, the piece contained many fine compliments about state right to lifers, particularly our affiliate, Kansans for Life. The larger point, however, is that Cooper sees the big picture and what the success in one Midwestern state says about the work of pro-lifers in state houses around the country.

First, the kudos. “The number of abortions has  tumbled 30 percent since 2006 in Kansas, the biggest percentage of decline in abortions reported to 13 Midwestern states, including Ohio, Texas, Colorado and Missouri,“ Cooper writes. Referring to the fearlessness of pro-life states, Julie Rikelman, litigation director for the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), told Cooper, ”I think we have more active litigation right now than we’ve ever had.”

By that she means that states are not only willing to pass pro-life laws but vigorously defend them in courts when pro-abortionists, such as the CRR, inevitably challenge them.

Rikelman and others are quoted in Cooper’s story about how “radical”  pro-life proposals are, which would be true only if you draw a check from places like PPFA and NARAL and CRR. Cooper does a fine job of explaining how our Movement has tested exactly how far the Supreme Court would go when the High Court revisited Roe in the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Cooper writes

“Women still have a right to abortion. In [Casey], the Supreme Court upheld the basics of the earlier Roe case. But the high court also said states may regulate abortions to protect the health of the mother and the life of the fetus…That set the stage for mounting state regulations on abortion, allowed as long as they do not impose an undue burden on the woman. Abortion foes have generally taken an incremental approach in tackling Roe.”

The genius of the  “incremental” approach is that it can, and has, grown incrementally. Cooper refers (without directly naming it) to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which says you can’t slaughter unborn children capable of experiencing of pain—at roughly 20 weeks.

“The right-to-life people are extremely smart with their strategy,” said Glen Halva-Neubauer, a Furman professor who has studied states’ abortion policies. “Go after late-term abortions and chip away, chip away, chip away. You are making an argument on late-term abortions that might end up being very useful to you as a limit on earlier abortions.”

As we have the past two years in particular, we will keep you updated on developments in the state legislatures. It’s important that our people be kept up to speed, so I would very much appreciate it if you would forward this story using your social networks and encourage people to receive NRL News Today in their email box every Monday through Saturday. (This can be done in 30 seconds at

Categories: NRLC