A memorable opening to the 44th NRLC National Convention


By Dave Andrusko

babyandmomhandsThe opening sessions of the 44th annual National Right to Life convention were everything anyone could have asked for—and then some.

It wasn’t just that the ballroom of the legendary Galt House Hotel was packed for the Opening General Session—“The REAL War on Women”–or that Professor O. Carter Snead in the second general session of the day wowed the audience with his brilliant explanation of how laws on fetal pain recognition are invaluable in helping to humanize the unborn child.

No doubt the opening remarks of NRLC President Carol Tobias helped set the tone: Standing up for Life is making a difference!

Mrs. Tobias reminded grassroots activists from around the country, “This is the reason we will win this battle. In greater and greater numbers, the post-Roe generations, our younger people, are rejecting abortion on demand. A 2010 Gallup poll found ‘Support for making abortion broadly illegal grew fastest among young adults.’”

She added, “Young people—bold, intelligent, compassionate, energetic—are, and will continue to be, a voice for the voiceless.”

Back to the phony baloney “war on women.” Responding to questions from Mrs. Tobias, Lopez, Dr. Jean Garton, and Joy Pinto brought complementary explanations as to why this slogan might resonate—and with whom—and offered suggestions how best to prove that the real war on women is being waged by the abortion industry and its allies in Congress and the media. Repeatedly the panelists reminded the audience that and is the Pro-Life Movement, motivated by love and joy, that offers women genuine alternatives.

(The other “war” being waged, the panelists agreed, is on language. Garton invoked the legendary author and essayist George Orwell to illustrate how pro-abortionists are abusing language to promote their political agenda.)

Dr. Snead talked about the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in a number of contexts, particularly the Community of Persons, those who enjoy the protection of law. He asked who, in justice, counts as members in the community of persons? The pro-life answer, Dr. Snead explained, is everyone.

Much of the remainder of his talk centered around how fetal pain laws can awaken our collective moral imagination, aiding us to understand that it is both incoherent and a grave injustice to exclude from our protection human beings on the basis of size, development, maturity, or level of dependency. Pain has a particular capacity to rouse us from our stupor, since we can all understand what it means: something to avoid.

At the same time he laid out the substantial medical evidence demonstrating that the unborn child can experience pain by the 20th week. In so doing, he easily debunked counter-intuitive pro-abortion medical journal articles that insisted that the capacity for fetal pain did not occur until much later in pregnancy, indeed close to birth.

Dr. Snead concluded by arguing that fetal pain laws force us to confront two questions:

“Who is the unborn child?

“Who are we and what we do want to be?”

“The pain of the unborn child binds her to us and us to her,” he told his audience. “She is part of our family and deserves our protection.”