National Right to Life releases new report examining the current status of abortion in the United States
WASHINGTON – Today, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, released its second annual report examining “The State of Abortion in America.” The report summarizes key legislative developments at the state and federal level, finds that the annual number of abortions continues to decline, and shows that a majority continue to oppose the vast majority of abortions allowed under the doctrine of Roe v. Wade.
“While recent reports show a significant decrease in the annual number of abortions, tragically, nearly 3,000 unborn children are still killed every day in the United States,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “As we prepare to observe the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, the pro-life movement stands ready to make tremendous gains in 2015 on behalf of mothers and their unborn children.”
As detailed in the National Right to Life report, studies released last year by the Guttmacher Institute (originally founded as a special research arm of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that not only have annual abortion numbers dropped to lows not seen since the 1970s, but so too have the abortion rate and abortion ratio.
Guttmacher found that in 2011, the annual number of abortions dropped to 1.058 million – more than half a million off the peak of 1.6 million in 1990.
The National Right to Life report looks at the possible causes for this significant drop in the annual number of abortions, including pro-life educational and legislative efforts at the state and federal level that have raised awareness about the humanity of the unborn child. These laws not only encourage life-affirming alternatives to abortion, they also seek to inform and empower women facing unexpected pregnancy.
“Proposals like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, have the dual effect of protecting unborn children from painful abortions and educating the public about the humanity of the unborn child,” observed Tobias.
The report discusses two of National Right to Life’s major legislative priorities: the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.
Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
The right-to-life movement’s top congressional priority for the new 114th Congress is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This bill is based on NRLC-originated model legislation that has been enacted in 10 states. It would generally protect unborn children from abortion beginning at 20 weeks fetal age (the start of the sixth month), based on their capacity by that point, if not earlier, to experience excruciating pain.
The legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, by a vote of 228-196, but did not receive a vote in the Senate during 2013-2014. It was reintroduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 36 on January 6, 2015, by Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). It is expected that the House will take up the bill tomorrow (the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Companion legislation will soon be reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). The new Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has vowed that the Senate will take up the bill at some point during the Congress.
“In the new Congress, every member of the House and Senate will go on record on whether to permit the continued killing of pain-capable unborn children,” said National Right to Life Federal Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.
Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act
Introduced in Kansas on January 14, 2015, by state Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma), the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act would protect unborn children from the brutality of dismemberment abortion.
“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur after the baby has reached these milestones.”
D&E dismemberment abortions are as brutal as the partial-birth abortion method, which is now illegal in the United States.
In his dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 Stenberg v. Carhart decision, Justice Kennedy observed that in D&E dismemberment abortions, “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.” Justice Kennedy added in the Court’s 2007 opinion, Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion, that D&E abortions are “laden with the power to devalue human life…”
Background materials on the bill are available on the National Right to Life website. Included in the background materials is the testimony of Anthony Levatino, M.D., before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice in May 2013, in which he described in great detail the D&E dismemberment abortions he once performed.
The report is available from the National Right to Life Communications Department.
National Right to Life experts, including President Carol Tobias, Director of Education and Research Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., and Federal Legislative Director Douglas Johnson are available to provide further information about the report and its insights.