NRL News

2015: Ready for the Challenge

by | Dec 8, 2014


By Carol Tobias, NRLC President

Editor’s note. This appeared on page three of the December digital edition of National Right to Life News. You can read the entire 35-page edition at

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

Even those who have not read William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” will likely have heard the phrase, “What’s past is prologue…” Visitors to the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, may have noticed that quote carved into the building. The rest of the sentence reads, “…what to come, in yours and my discharge.” In other words, the past has set the stage for the present and we will do our best to mold the future.

As we get into, and hopefully enjoy, the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, we often take a look back at the previous year to see what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look back at 2014 with me.

As we do every year, pro-lifers started out 2014 with activities to commemorate the barbaric Roe v Wade decision—marches, rallies, educational projects, and Sanctity of Human Life activities. We shook our heads in disbelief that our beloved country had sanctioned the death of over 56 million of its precious children by abortion.

We were in the early months of enrollment for Obamacare. PolitiFact had just named President Obama’s statement, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” the “Lie of the Year” for 2013.

Of course this came as no surprise to National Right to Life. NRLC had argued from the beginning that Obamacare would subsidize abortion coverage in its plans. That was confirmed later in the year when the Government Accountability Office found that more than one thousand federally subsidized exchange plans currently cover elective abortion.

On the legislative front, in January the U.S. House of Representatives passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. H.R. 7 would permanently prohibit subsidies for abortion and health insurance coverage of abortion in federal programs – both within longstanding federal programs and within Obamacare.

In 2013 the House had passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, based on model legislation developed by National Right to Life and enacted by ten states. The legislation protects unborn children from abortion beginning at 20 weeks fetal age, based on scientific evidence that by this stage of development the child would experience excruciating pain.

Both bills stalled in the Senate because Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would not allow the bills come to the floor for a vote.

In late June, speaking at our annual convention in Louisville, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made news when he criticized Reid for not bringing the bill to the floor for a vote. McConnell said, “It’s long past time for us to join the ranks of most other civilized nations to protect children past 20 weeks in the womb.”

Last February, pro-lifers received the most wonderful news we could have. According to Guttmacher (no friend of unborn babies), the number of abortions performed in 2011 was 550,000 fewer than in 1990, when we hit an all-time high of 1.6 million abortions. The abortion rate, the number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, had reached a low of 16.9, the lowest it has been since 1973. Pregnant women were more likely to choose life for their unborn children than at any time since abortion was legalized in 1973. This analysis was confirmed just this past week by encouraging data from the federal Centers for Disease Control. We are saving babies!!

But despite the encouraging news, abortion still remains legal. Over a million unborn lives are lost each year. Far too many women who want their babies are being killed or injured by boyfriends determined to kill their babies. Judges are striking down commonsense laws intended to protect babies and their mothers.

In addition, National Right to Life News and NRL News Today consistently carry stories about the onward march of advocates for doctor-assisted suicide, both in the U.S. and abroad. One quite scary article, “Lethal drugs should be given patients regardless of family wishes, Belgian doctors say,” reinforces the crucial need to promote the value and dignity of every human life, regardless of “dependency” or “quality of life.” We are all vulnerable when treatment decisions are based upon our “quality” of life and whether or not we are able to “contribute” to society. While still few in number, more states are considering allowing doctor-assisted suicide within their borders. We must remain diligent.

But we also have encouraging and positive counter-moves, such as when pro-life Senator Pat Roberts (R-Ks.) introduced the “Repeal Rationing in Support of Life Act” which targets key rationing components of Obamacare.

Advancements in technology are bolstering our case for protecting unborn children. We heard Dr. Bill Fifer, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and a leading expert on fetal and newborn learning, tell The Today Show that everything a newborn baby does, “a fetus has pretty much done already” and that unborn babies are “able to sense information over all parts of their body.”

A study at the University of Florida found that, while in the womb, babies can learn to recognize a nursery rhyme. Others find that these little ones enjoy listening to music.

We saw several manifestations of our ongoing outreach to young people. The National Right to Life Teen convention, our Academy and Intern programs for college students, the oratory, essay, and video contests, and a growing number of youth camps operated by NRLC state affiliates. This energy and enthusiasm among young people gives our long-time members great joy and causes our opponents great distress.

And, of course, we end the year on a high note, rejoicing in our successes in the elections. To overturn Roe v Wade, we need elected officials who will appoint and confirm judges who don’t believe in legislating from the bench, as the Roe court did. And we need legislators who will pass legislation to protect the most vulnerable among us. The elections were a giant step forward toward that goal.

The pro-life movement, as does any civil rights movement, has its up and downs. But we know that we are making strides in the right direction. The past is prologue, the beginning. What is to come is not ours alone to decide, of course, but as the last year illustrates so beautifully, your efforts can mold and shape a more beautiful picture.

Like you, I look forward to what 2015 will bring, knowing we are ready for the challenge.

May God bless you and your loved ones during this most holy and wondrous season of Christmas.

Categories: NRLC