WASHINGTON – As right-to-life activists gathered across the country to observe the 41st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s twin decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton legalizing abortion in America, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, noted the promise of further pro-life gains in 2014.
“Recent legislative gains, coupled with increasingly pro-life public opinion and data suggesting the annual number of abortions continues to decline, gives the right-to-life movement hope for further success in 2014,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “Pro-lifers remain committed to restoring legal protection to unborn children and helping their mothers.”
A report issued by National Right to Life yesterday, “The State of Abortion in the United States,” observed that on the basis of the most recent reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Guttmacher Institute (originally founded as a special research arm of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America), National Right to Life estimates that there have been more than 56 million abortions in America since 1973, the year that the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand.
The report also discussed National Right to Life’s major legislative priority, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The legislation breaks new ground in the fight to protect mothers and their unborn children by acknowledging the large body of scientific evidence showing that unborn children are capable of feeling excruciating pain by at least 20 weeks after fertilization and recognizing that states have compelling interest to protect these pain-capable unborn children.
Ten states have enacted the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and on June 28, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a federal version of the bill (H.R. 1797) by a 228-196 vote. Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced the bill in the Senate (S. 1670) in November.
A nationwide poll of 1,003 registered voters in March 2013 conducted by The Polling Company found that 64% would support a law such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks — when an unborn baby can feel pain — unless the life of the mother is in danger. Only 30% opposed such legislation. Women voters split 63%-31% in support of such a law, and 63% of independent voters supported it.
“Pro-abortionists often say that limiting abortion would ‘take us backwards,’ but really, they are the ones who insist that society must remain locked in the Dark Ages of ignorance regarding the capacities of unborn children,” noted Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., National Right to Life director of state legislation. “Our knowledge about the capacities of the unborn child has increased exponentially since Roe v. Wade, thanks in part of 4-D ultrasound and other sophisticated imaging techniques. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act also reflects what medical science has learned about the capacity of unborn children to feel pain.”
National Right to Life’s “The State of Abortion in the United States” report is available from the National Right to Life Communications Department.