Category Archives: Press Releases

Jack Kevorkian Dead at 83

 WASHINGTON – Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan pathologist known the world over as “Dr. Death” for his push to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in the United States, died in a Detroit-area hospital at age 83.  He readily admitted to assisting in the deaths of more than 100 people.

 “Many of the victims on whom Jack Kevorkian preyed were people with disabilities who had no terminal illness; one was simply old. In at least five cases autopsies were unable to confirm any disease at all,” observed Burke J. Balch, J.D., director of National Right to Life’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics.

 Kevorkian’s “suicide machine” drew worldwide attention when the CBS program “60 Minutes” aired footage, shot by Kevorkian himself, as he administered lethal drugs to Thomas Youk, a man suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease.  The tape quickly became evidence in a murder trial that sentenced Kevorkian to 10 to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder.  He was paroled in 2007.

 His often inflammatory efforts to legalize assisted suicide as a constitutional “right” were soundly rejected by the unanimous 1997 Supreme Court decision in Washington v. Glucksberg in which the Court held that assisted suicide was not a constitutional right.  The case overturned a previous decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

 “While some euthanasia advocates have sought to distance themselves from his bizarre positions and tactics, his tragic legacy illustrates the dangers to the most vulnerable when compassionate, humane responses to depression or disability are replaced with death as an acceptable final solution,” Balch added.

 Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.

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National Right to Life Responds to Latest Guttmacher Report

When tax dollars pay for abortion, you get more abortion’

 WASHINGTON – Today, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates, disputed claims that restrictions on abortion “disproportionately affect” poor women.  The assertion was made in, “Changes in Abortion Rates Between 2000 and 2008 and Lifetime Incidence of Abortion, published online yesterday in the June 2011 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology by researchers from  the Guttmacher Institute (originally founded as a special research affiliate of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America).

 “Data showing an eight percent drop in abortion rates across the board from 2000 to 2008 are encouraging,” said Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., National Right to Life director of education and research. 

 “Guttmacher suggests that higher abortion rates among poorer woman and abortion restrictions are somehow connected, yet it’s a thesis that goes undefended,” O’Bannon further noted.  “How common sense regulations like right-to-know laws, which tell women about abortion’s risks and alternatives which are better for both them and their unborn children, and similar protective measures, are supposed to hurt poor women is hard to fathom.”

 The overall downward trend seems to indicate that such laws, along with the assistance provided by pregnancy care centers, which provide lifesaving alternatives to abortion, are enabling more women to choose life for their unborn child. However, several states – California, New York and at least a dozen others – publicly fund abortion for poor women.  “While the abortion industry saw declines among most demographic groups, it just happened to see growth among women for whom states were covering abortion costs,” observed O’Bannon.   

 The fact is, when tax dollars pay for abortion, you get more abortion,” O’Bannon observed. 

 The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), according to their own 2008-2009 annual report, showed over $1 billion in revenues, including $363.3 million in “Government Grants & Contracts” (an increase from $165 million in 1998).  At a time when the overall number of abortions has decreased, PPFA reports performing 332,278 abortions for the period covered in the 2009 report – accounting for more than 27% of all abortions performed annually in the United States. 

 O’Bannon noted: “The abortion industry likes to argue that high abortion rates are due to insufficient government funding for ‘family planning,’ but the record seems at odds with that assertion.  As abortion industry giant Planned Parenthood has received hundreds of millions of tax dollars each year, abortions at their facilities have steadily increased at rates that very nearly match their increases in government funding.”

 “Ultimately, the report says less about pro-life laws and more about the aggressiveness of the abortion industry that, funded by tax dollars in many states, exploited poorer women during the recession and profited from their misery. If more women choose life for their unborn children as a result of pro-life legislative initiatives, the abortion industry knows that it will adversely impact their financial bottom line,” O’Bannon concluded.

 The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life organizations and more than 3,000 local chapters nationwide, is the nation’s largest pro-life group. National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

New Maternal Mortality Analysis Confirms Health Care, Not Abortion Saves Lives

Call for renewed WHA focus on improving women’s health care in developing world

GENEVA, Switzerland — Improved medical care, not abortion, is the solution to the problem of maternal deaths in the developing world, according to a new analysis of research from the World Health Organization, United Nations, The Lancet and other resources.  The analysis was released today at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO) and National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund (NRLC), based in Washington, D.C.  Leaders of both organizations called for a renewed emphasis on improving health care for women as the only sure means of reducing maternal mortality.

 “We have known for decades that most maternal deaths can be prevented with adequate nutrition, basic health care, and good obstetric care throughout pregnancy, at delivery, and postpartum,” said Jeanne Head, R.N., National Right to Life vice-president for international affairs and UN representative.  “Yet some in the international community have focused their resources primarily on legalizing abortion at the expense of women’s lives.”

 “Our analysis presents clear, factual evidence to repudiate the claim that legalized abortion reduces maternal mortality,” said MCCL Global Outreach Executive Director Scott Fischbach.

 The analysis, “Why Legalized Abortion Is Not Good for Women’s Health,” compares the impact of improved medical care and legalized abortion on maternal mortality rates in several countries.  Maternal deaths declined sharply in the United States, England and Wales through the 1930s and 1940s, for example, coinciding with advancements in maternal health care, obstetric techniques, antibiotics and in the general health status of women.  This occurred long before the widespread legalization of abortion.  Chile sharply reduced its maternal mortality rate even after its prohibition of abortion in 1989, and now has the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America.  Of the four countries that reduced their maternal mortality rate the most from 1990-2008, three have maintained bans on abortion.

 In the developing world, the danger of legalized abortion is profound, the analysis found.  Ms. Head explains: “Women generally at risk because they lack access to a doctor, hospital, or antibiotics before abortion’s legalization will face those same circumstances after legalization. And if legalization triggers a higher demand for abortion, as it has in most countries, more injured women will compete for those scarce medical resources.  The number of abortion-related maternal deaths may actually increase.”

 MCCL GO and NRLC called upon the WHA to focus its resources on the improvement of women’s health care in the developing world.

 “We urge the World Health Assembly to adopt measures to significantly reduce maternal mortality in the developing world by improving women’s health care,” Mr. Fischbach added.  “We call upon the WHA to save lives, not expend endless energy and resources in areas where there is profound disagreement, such as the legalization of abortion.”

 The analysis is available in English and Spanish (and soon in French) at the MCCL GO website, www.mccl-go.org.   

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life organizations and more than 3,000 local chapters nationwide, is the nation’s largest pro-life group and an accredited non-governmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations. National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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Federal Judge Denies Planned Parenthood of Indiana Restraining Order

WASHINGTON – Today, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates, applauded the decision of U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt to deny a request by Planned Parenthood of Indiana for a  temporary restraining order against a new Indiana law that denies state-directed funding for businesses and organizations performing abortions in the state.  Judge Pratt’s order allows the funding cuts passed by the Indiana legislature and signed by Governor Mitch Daniels earlier this month to immediately take effect.

 “Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider and promoter of abortion,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias.  “As Planned Parenthood’s government funding increased so did the number of abortions they performed.” 

 According to Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s annual report for 2008-2009, which reported over $1 billion in revenues, the amount it received in “Government Grants & Contracts” has gone from $165 million in 1998 to $363.3 million in the organization’s fiscal year ending June 30, 2009.  During the same time, and at roughly the same rate, abortions have more than doubled at Planned Parenthood, from 165,509 in 1998 to 332,278 in 2009.  With just over 1.2 million abortions performed annually nationwide, abortions done in Planned Parenthood clinics account for more than 25% of the national total.

 “Using the average estimates for the cost of a first-trimester abortion ($451), Planned Parenthood clinics derived more than one-third ($149.9 million) of their reported $404.9 million in income from abortions in 2008-2009,” Tobias noted.

 National Right to Life Director of Education and Research Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., has done extensive research and reporting on Planned Parenthood’s abortion business.  His two most recent analyses can be found here:

 “While other businesses and non-profit organizations struggled during the recession, Planned Parenthood’s bottom line continued to swell,” Tobias added. “The bottom line is, taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to underwrite Planned Parenthood and its affiliates.”

 The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life organizations and more than 3,000 local chapters nationwide, is the nation’s largest pro-life group. National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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U.S. House Passes Permanent Ban on Federal Funding of Abortion

WASHINGTON — The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the nationwide federation of right-to-life organizations, today commended the 251 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted to pass the landmark No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3), but directed sharp criticism at President Obama and at the 175 House members (all of them Democrats) who voted against the bill.

“There are over one million Americans who are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment policy – but President Obama, although he claims to seek abortion reduction, continues to work against that policy,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.  “The White House veto threat demonstrates yet again that President Obama is determined to expand federal subsidies for abortion on demand – despite his verbal smokescreens.  The 175 House Democrats who voted against the bill will be firmly marked as supporters of federal subsidies for elective abortion.” 

The bill was supported by 235 Republicans and 16 Democrats.  It was opposed by 175 Democrats.

In a candid opinion piece titled “Time to Stand Up for Abortion Funding,” published today on a blog operated by The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, Jessica Arons – who is director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress (a nonprofit organization with very close ties to the Obama White House) – called on pro-abortion members of Congress to drop the pretext that they do not seek to establish federal funding of abortion.  “First, stop referring to the Hyde Amendment as an ‘historic compromise’ or ‘settled law’,” Arons advised.  “Such language only reinforces the misconception that abortion funding restrictions are necessary and proper. They are not. . . . .  Finally, mount a full-throated defense of public funding for abortion – or rather of comprehensive health care that includes abortion coverage, regardless of the funding source.”   (http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/159173-time-to-stand-up-for-abortion-funding)

For many years, federal funding of abortion has been limited by a patchwork of laws – many of which expire annually, because they are incorporated into annual appropriations bills.  The best known is the Hyde Amendment, but this law applies only to funds that flow through the annual Health and Human Services appropriations bill, and it expires annually.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (“Obamacare”), enacted in 2010, opened new pipelines for federal funding of abortion, which are not governed by the Hyde Amendment or any other statutory restriction (see http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/ProtectLifeActDouglasJohnsonTestimony.pdf).  H.R. 3 would codify the principles of the Hyde Amendment on a permanent, government-wide basis, applicable to both longstanding federal health programs and to the new programs created by the PPACA.

Further details on specific components of H.R. 3, including conscience protections for pro-life health care providers and a provision applying to the District of Columbia, are found in NRLC’s May 3 letter to the House of Representatives (http://www.nrlc.org/AHC/NRLCLetterToHouseOnHR3.pdf), and in a Q&A factsheet issued by the office of Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), the prime sponsor of H.R. 3 (http://chrissmith.house.gov/UploadedFiles/2011_Q_and_A.pdf).

 The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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OK Becomes 4th State to Enact Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

WASHINGTON – Today, Oklahoma became the fourth state to enact legislation that protects from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain.. Oklahoma joins Kansas and Idaho this year, and Nebraska last year. Meanwhile, an Alabama Senate committee held a hearing today on a similar measure that has already passed that state’s House of Representatives.

 “Modern medical science provides substantial compelling evidence that unborn children recoil from painful stimuli, that their stress hormones increase when they are subjected to any painful stimuli, and that they require anesthesia for fetal surgery,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).  “Therefore, the states have a compelling interest in protecting unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion. Oklahoma is the fourth state to recognize this obligation by enacting the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”

 At a bill-signing ceremony today, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law two pro-life bills – HB 1888, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and SB 547, the Abortion-Is-Not-Health-Care bill .

 SB 547 prohibits coverage for elective abortions under health-insurance plans in Oklahoma, affirms the principle that abortion is not health care, and protects the conscience rights of pro-life premium payers so they’re not complicit in the killing of unborn children.

 The Oklahoma House, led by Representative Pam Peterson, passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Protection bill with a vote of 85-7.  Oklahoma’s Senate, led by Senator Clark Jolley, passed the bill by a vote of 38-8.

 As drafted by National Right to Life’s state legislation department, the model Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act protects from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain except when the mother “has a condition which so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion of her pregnancy to avert death or to avert serious risk of substantial or irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function or…it is necessary to preserve the life of an unborn child.”

 Further documentation and links to the scientific studies can be found at: www.doctorsonfetalpain.com.

 “We commend Representative Pam Peterson, Senator Clark Jolley, and Governor Mary Fallin for their actions in protecting unborn children and helping their mothers through enactment of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” added Tony Lauinger, State Chairman of Oklahomans for Life and Executive Vice-President of the National Right to Life Committee.

 The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life organizations and more than 3,000 local chapters nationwide, is the nation’s largest pro-life group. National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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ID Gov Signs Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

WASHINGTON – Today, Idaho Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, making Idaho the third state to protect from abortion the life of the pain-capable child. Idaho’s Senate, led by Senator Chuck Winder, passed this historic bill by the impressive vote of 24-10. The House, led by Rep. Brent Crane and Rep. Lynn Luker passed it by the overwhelming vote of 54-14.

“Solid medical research substantiates the fact that unborn children recoil from painful stimuli, experience increased stress hormones when subjected to pain, and require anesthesia when undergoing fetal surgery,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). “We commend Idaho for joining Nebraska and Kansas in recognizing their compelling interest in protecting from abortion the unborn child who is capable of feeling pain.”

As drafted by National Right to Life’s state legislation department, the model Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act protects from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain except when the mother “has a condition which so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion of her pregnancy to avert death or to avert serious risk of substantial or irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function or…it is necessary to preserve the life of an unborn child.”

Further documentation and links to the scientific studies can be found at: www.doctorsonfetalpain.com.

Continuing the trend among the states in passing pro-life legislation, further action during the state legislative session on the model Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is expected in Alabama, Minnesota and Oklahoma, among others.

“Over the past several years, we have seen an increasing number of state legislatures concerned with protecting the lives of unborn children and their mothers,” added Spaulding Balch.  “We are encouraged to see the trend continuing this year with passage of laws like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life organizations and more than 3,000 local chapters nationwide, is the nation’s largest pro-life group. National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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