Editor’s note. The following remarks were delivered at the opening sessions of the 2016 National Right to Life convention by the Honorable Geline Williams, who chaired the NRLC Board of Directors for 35 years.
Good morning and welcome!
Welcome to the National Right to Life Convention from the Commonwealth of Virginia, home of the Virginia Society for Human Life–now celebrating its 50th year.
Welcome to our historic state, home of the first permanent settlement at Jamestown in 1607.
Welcome to the Old Dominion, home of our first President of the United States, George Washington, Mother of Presidents—8 in all.
Welcome to the home of patriots Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and Patrick Henry, with his great cry of “give me liberty or give me death.”
The freedom called for by Patrick Henry and the unalienable Right to Life proclaimed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence are basic to the purpose and program of NRLC; that is, the protection of the right-to-life in law and public policy from abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia.
The integrity, intelligence, strategy and actions by NRLC have led to success in reducing abortions and in countering other egregious attacks against the dependent elderly and those with disabilities.
From its founding 49 years ago, NRLC, with an affiliate in each of the 50 states and several thousand chapters, is the largest pro-life organization in the nation. Its record of achievement through education and legislation is remarkable. Its determination to continue its program until fully accomplished is resolute.
Going back 50 years, the onslaught to legalize abortion was startling. It was unbelievable. It was bewildering. And it was frightening. How could the land of the free and the home of the brave assault its own issue, its own children? Even though we lived in a world of ancient offenses and cruelties against the human race, encompassing slavery, genocide, torture, and religious bigotry, this was a new horror launched upon an unsuspecting civilization.
In those tumultuous 1960’s, the time of the assassinations of a U.S. President and of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Vietnam War and riots on campuses, the attack on the unborn was launched. The caravan, spreading propaganda devised of inaccuracies, untruths, and religious biases calculated to win support for overturning state laws that prohibited abortion, was rolling across the country.
Virginia’s then one hundred year-old law prohibited abortion as did many states, except when necessary to save the life of the mother. The purpose of the Virginia law was defined by the Virginia Supreme Court in 1949 in Miller v. Bennett: “…to protect the life of the unborn child and through it society.”
Congratulations and thank you, NRLC, for bringing Convention 2016 to Virginia with its wealth of education by experts on the pro-life issues.
May we all find it be “the best convention ever,” and leave here inspired anew in our efforts to protect the Right to Life.