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Yes, There is a Role for the Federal Government

by | Jun 9, 2023

By Carol Tobias, President, National Right to Life

Editor’s note. This appears in the June issue of National Right to Life News. Please share the contents of this 49-page issue with your pro-life family and friends.

On June 24, we will celebrate the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the abominable Roe v Wade decision of 1973. Because of the Dobbs decision, babies across the country are being saved!

For more than 50 years, pro-lifers have been working to educate our communities about the humanity of the unborn child, to enact laws to protect these little ones, and to promote a culture of life.

Thank you to all pro-lifers who have given of your time, talent, and resources to keep this battle going.

In Dobbs, the Court said that laws about abortion should be enacted by “elected representatives,” not the courts. Many states have done just that, enacting stronger, more protective, laws than were allowed under Roe and Doe. In addition to saving the lives of unborn children, many of these same states are providing resources to help both mother and child.

However, there have been many discussions and many news articles about what role, if any, the federal government has in regulating abortion. Should there be a minimum standard? Should the laws be enacted at the state level only? Can federal candidates just wash their hands of the issue and say it doesn’t concern them anymore, that everything should be handled at the state level?

The problem with that last sentiment is that the federal government is too large and too involved in state matters to “stay out of it.”

The Supreme Court, in saying “elected representatives,” didn’t specify state or federal. It just made clear that the courts should not be dictating the law.

National Right to Life has put forth the following plan, for lawmakers and candidates, detailing how the federal government can, indeed, promote the value and dignity of every human life.

Yes, the federal government has a role.

The Role of the Federal Government in the Protection of Preborn Children

On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Roe v Wade was incorrectly decided, that there is no right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution. They also determined, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, that abortion-related policies (including protections for preborn children and their mothers) should be enacted by elected representatives, not dictated by the courts.

Most pro-life laws and policies are being enacted at the state level. However, the federal government, from the executive branch to the U.S. Congress, is uniquely positioned, and has both the opportunity and the responsibility, to protect the most vulnerable members of the human family.

Given the current composition of Congress, a national law protecting preborn children and their mothers from the tragedy of abortion is not likely to happen in the foreseeable future. But there are still many life-affirming policies that can be enacted at the federal level that will reduce the number of abortions, help mothers, and save lives.

Therefore, we urge all lawmakers, as well as candidates for U.S. House, Senate, and President, to embrace the unique and transformative role the federal government has in advancing life-affirming policies in the United States. This includes:

  • Ensuring that no taxpayer dollars are used to pay for abortion or subsidize health plans that cover or promote abortion, either in the U.S. or in other countries, and eliminating to the extent possible taxpayer funding of abortion providers.
  • Recognizing the role of parents to be involved before their minor daughter could get an abortion.
  • Connecting mothers of newborn and preborn children to resources.
  • Protecting the lives of babies born alive following an attempted abortion.
  • Seeking protective protocols on chemical abortions to reduce the risk of death and injury to the mother.
  • Promoting educational initiatives (and existing right-to-know laws) to provide vital information about fetal development and the physical, mental, and emotional dangers of elective abortion.
  • Requiring the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to collect meaningful data and publish reports on abortion in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, (e.g., the number of abortions performed, the age of the mother and preborn child, complications and deaths arising from such procedures.)
  • Protecting the conscience rights of health care personnel and entities who do not wish to perform or participate in any part of the abortion process.
  •  Nominating/confirming only federal judges and justices who will interpret the Constitution fairly and honestly according to its text and history.

Presidential candidates should also recognize the ability and responsibility of the chief executive to institute a whole-of-government approach (through the use of life-affirming executive orders and statements of administration policy, as well as personnel appointments, among other tools) to ensure that all Executive Branch departments promote the intrinsic value and dignity of innocent human life.

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