NRL News

The Right-to-Life Movement: Alive and Well

by | Jul 22, 2014


By Carol Tobias, President

Editor’s note. This President’s column appeared in the July issue of National Right to Life News. You can read the issue in its entirety online at

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

I’ve done some media interviews recently that encompassed variations on the question, “The pro-life movement seems to be growing. How do you account for that?”

I think some reporters are amazed that, after 40-plus years, the right-to-life movement, far from giving up the fight for unborn children’s lives, is instead becoming larger and stronger than ever. Our opponents in this struggle are exasperated that they still have to fight for what they think is a constitutionally-protected right to kill these little ones.

Abortion advocates sponsor contests to encourage women to talk about their abortions. For example, the Abortion Care Network ran what it called a “Stigma Busting” video competition. The most famous contestant was Emily Letts who, incredibly, videotaped her own abortion and put it on YouTube!

Letts, the 2nd place winner, wrote about her abortion on Cosmopolitan magazine’s blog. That she is incoherent is putting it mildly.

Letts actually observed, “It will always be a special memory for me. I still have my sonogram, and if my apartment were to catch fire, it would be the first thing I’d grab.” Why? If she had a tooth pulled, she wouldn’t grab the tooth before running out the door.

Hollywood made a movie, a “romantic comedy,” in which the “heroine” gets an abortion. The movie title? “Obvious Child.” If you were going to make a movie and the story includes the death of an unborn child, wouldn’t you think of a title a little more subtle than “Obvious Child”?

It’s like they can’t help it. Life just bursts forth; Life is too strong to hide or deny. It is a joyful gift to be celebrated and protected.

That is why the prolife movement is growing; why we are alive and well.

Right-to-Life people have been working within their communities for more than 40 years to educate their neighbors about the humanity of the unborn child and how abortion affects women. Distributing literature, giving speeches, using social media, providing information to local libraries and schools, etc. It all has an impact, individually and cumulatively.

Pro-lifers have been very effective in passing pro-life legislation on a variety of specific topics, designed to protect unborn children and their mothers. Public debate over pro-life legislation helps to inform voters about the extreme position forced on America by the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v Wade decision and allows people another avenue to get involved and make a difference.

Pregnancy Resource Centers heighten public awareness that the pro-life movement doesn’t stop at trying to prevent abortions; we also want to help women through a difficult time in their lives. The compassion extended to these mothers brings another aspect to the pro-life movement that is encouraging and active.

More and more women who’ve had abortions are speaking out, encouraging others not to make the same mistake they did. These personal stories are a testimony to the opening arms of the pro-life movement and come from women who speak a tragic truth. They are very powerful.

Technology has greatly improved– a baby’s first photo is no longer that of being wrapped in a blanket, lovingly nestled in Mom’s arms. The first photo is now an ultrasound, showing the baby smiling or maybe sucking her thumb, or at a younger age with the small developing body.

More and more people, every day, are faced with the reality that this really is another human being deserving of protection, not a blob of cells or mass of tissue. More and more people, every day, are coming to realize that they need to speak up; they need to get involved in this civil rights movement.

I also tell reporters that the pro-life movement is becoming stronger than ever because of the growing number of young people who are becoming a voice for the voiceless.

Some years ago, Frances Kissling, then head of “Catholic for a Free Choice,” commented that the “anti-abortion camp” is getting younger; the “abortion-rights” movement is not. Young people see the unborn child as a younger brother or sister that needs protection. They realize that somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of their peers are missing, having been aborted as a matter of “choice.”

At our recent convention in Louisville, I asked attendees of the National Teens for Life Convention what we could do to make next year’s Teen convention even better. The first response was, “This was great. We need to get even more kids here next year.” I challenged them to all come to the convention in New Orleans next year and bring others with them. A couple of them thought they would try to bring a busload of teens from their states next year, just as Wisconsin did this year.

A 2010 Gallup poll found “Support for making abortion broadly illegal growing fastest among young adults.” Young people– bold, intelligent, compassionate, energized– are, and will continue to be a major force in the right-to-life movement.

Protecting unborn children is, as Dr. Alveda King told the NRLC Convention Prayer Breakfast, the “continuation of the Civil Rights Movement.” She added, “Abortion is one of the greatest Civil Rights issues of our time.” As such, the Right to Life Movement attracts a large variety of people, regardless of age, gender, faith, or political philosophy. The message of Life is a positive one. It is too strong to hide or deny.

Categories: NRLC