What National Right to Life and its State Affiliates Have Already Accomplished in 2011

By Dave Andrusko

USA Today’s Judy Keen offers a overview today of one phase of the pro-life state legislative agenda (“ State lawmakers work to defund Planned Parenthood”). Before offering a couple of comments, let’s recall National Right to Life’s influential State Legislative Strategy conference that took place last December.

There are other pro-life groups that attempt to pass legislation. But only NRLC and its network of 50 state affiliates combines the expertise at the top—led by Mary Spaulding Balch, director of the Department of State Legislation—and boots on the ground to make useful, productive legislation possible. (Anyone can pass bills that are so ineffectual that pro-abortionists will ignore them.)

Our number one priority—the potential game-shifter—is the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” that prevents the killing, by abortion, of unborn children who have the capacity to experience pain. This is modeled on Nebraska’s first of its kind bill passed in 2010.

Three more states passed this important law in 2011—Oklahoma, Kansas, and Idaho. Others moved the legislation along and one—Minnesota—passed the bill in both houses only to have its pro-abortion Gov. Mark Dayton veto the measure earlier this week.

But there was much more discussed at that December 7 conference which brought together pro-life lobbyists and executive directors and legislative aides. That agenda included, among other items, ensuring that ultrasounds are available to women contemplating abortion and preventing public funds from being used to subsidize health insurance that covers abortion as permitted by the ObamaCare. We’ve written about them many times in this space.

We’ve also made some progress, but not nearly enough, on laws to tighten inspection of abortion clinics. The collective gasp the nation felt as news about Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic helped push the issue along and helped propel reluctant legislators to act.

The Grand Jury report alleged that Gosnell “regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy—and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors.” Even though he is charged with eight counts of murder, including one mother, even in his home state of Pennsylvania, pro-abortionists are trying to water down a clinic regulation bill.

Keen‘s story is best understood as an opportunity for pro-abortionists to decry every legislative attempt, one by one. She lists a state initiative (with no explanation why it was passed) followed by the ritualistic pro-abortion denunciation.

But it’s important to understand that what these proposals are intended to do is not to end “family planning” money, but to prioritize where those dollars go. Resources are not unlimited, so it is perfectly legitimate for state legislatures to distribute funds to public health facilities that do not perform abortion. That annoys Planned Parenthood, which is heavily invested in abortion and growing more so by the year.

As I mentioned yesterday, we hope and anticipate further pro-life victories. Over the next week I will continue our look back at what National Right to Life and its affiliates have already accomplished.

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