National Right to Life Committee
|National Right to Life Committee|
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) is the oldest and largest pro-life organization in the United States with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. The group works through legislation and education to work against abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide. It was founded in 1968 and is a non-partisan political group.
The national organization of National Right to Life is composed of three separate entities: the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) which is categorized as a 501c(4) by the IRS, the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, a 501c(3), and the National Right to Life Political Action Committee (NRLPAC).
The National Right to Life Committee was formed in 1968 to coordinate information and strategy between emerging state pro-life groups. These groups were forming in response to efforts to change abortion laws based on model legislation proposed by the American Law Institute (ALI). New Jersey attorney Juan Ryan served as the organization's first president. NRLC held a nationwide meeting of pro-life leaders in Chicago in 1970 at Barat College. The following year, NRLC held its first convention at Macalestar College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
NRLC was formally incorporated in May 1973 as American Citizens Concerned for Life, Inc. in response to the US Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion in the United States. Its first convention as an incorporated organization was held the following month in Detroit, Michigan. At the concurrent meeting of NRLC's board, Ed Golden of New York was elected president. Among the organization's founding members was Dr. Mildred Jefferson, the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School. Jefferson subsequently served as president of the organization. Conventions have been held in various cities around the country every summer since the Detroit convention.
In 1984 the Committee co-produced the abortion documentary, The Silent Scream with Dr. Bernard Nathanson. In 1985, following two years of an Upjohn product boycott by the National Right to Life Committee, the Upjohn Company stopped all research on abortifacient drugs. Three years later, NRLC joined other pro-life groups in serving notice to drug companies that if any company sold an abortion-inducing drug, millions of Americans who opposed abortion would boycott all the company's products.
In the 1990s, the NRLC began a nationwide grassroots lobbying campaign against the "Freedom of Choice Act," and announced a boycott of the French pharmaceutical company Roussel Uclaf and its American affiliates for allowing its abortion drug, mifepristone, into the United States.
According to Keri Folmar, the lawyer responsible for the language of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the term "partial birth abortion" was developed in early 1995 in a meeting among herself, Charles T. Canady, and NRLC lobbyist Douglas Johnson.
In 1997 Concerned Women For America participated in the National Right to Life's press briefing at the National Press Club in support of the boycott against the U.S. subsidiaries of Hoechst AG & Roussel Uclaf (developer and manufacturer of the abortion pill mifepristone) whose new drug was Allegra.
National Right to Life Committee joined disability rights advocates in actively advocating for intervention in the Terri Schiavo case in 2003. On March 19, 2005, the NRLC issued an urgent congressional action alert requesting help in urging senators and representatives to resolve differences and pass 'Terri's Law' immediately, which would allow Florida Governor Jeb Bush to intervene in the matter.
The next year, the National Right to Life Committee commended President Bush's veto (the first ever veto of his Presidency) of funding for embryonic stem cell research, and rebuked lawmakers who rejected alternatives.
The Committee evaluates Federal officials and gives them a ranking based on their support for the pro-life position.
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The National Right to Life Committee is a federation of organizations. NRLC has 50 state affiliates and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. State affiliates function independently and cooperatively with the national organization.
Its Virginia affiliate, the Virginia Society for Human Life, was founded in 1967 as the first state right-to-life organization. Georgia Right to Life, Georgia's largest pro-life organization and founded in 1971, became the Georgia affiliate in 1973. In 2007, the NRLC ousted Colorado Right to Life after it ran a full-page ad in The Gazette criticizing Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.
Past Presidents 
- 1968–1973 – Juan Ryan, Esq., New Jersey
- 1973–1974 – Edward Golden, New York
- 1974–1975 – Kenneth VanDerHoef, Esq., Washington
- 1975–1978 – Mildred F. Jefferson, M.D., Massachusetts
- 1978–1980 – Carolyn Gerster, M.D., Arizona
- 1980–1983 – John C. Willke, M.D., Ohio
- 1983–1984 – Jean Doyle, Florida
- 1984–1991 – John C. Willke, M.D., Ohio
- 1991–2011 – Wanda Franz, Ph.D., West Virginia
- 2011–present – Carol Tobias, New Mexico
See also 
- Susan B. Anthony List
- Right to life
- National Pro-Life Religious Council
- Eclipse of Reason
- Concerned Women for America
- Wisconsin Right to Life (an example of one of the many states in affiliation)
- "National Right to Life Convention kicks off in Jacksonville". Florida Independent. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
- Hevesi, Dennis (2010-10-18). "Mildred Jefferson, 84, Anti-Abortion Activist, Is Dead - Obituary (Obit)". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
- "Boycott Threat Blocking Sale Of Abortion-Inducing Drug" New York Times
- Published: July 08, 1994 (1994-07-08). "Abortion Drug Draws Boycott - ''New York Times''". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
- Gorney, Cynthia. Gambling With Abortion. Harper's Magazine, November 2004.
- Concerned Women for America - Boycott of New Drug 'Allegra' Aimed at Protecting Women & Children From Dangers of RU-486[dead link]
- "URGENT ACTION ALERT: National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) :: Terri Schiavo's Life Counts". Hyscience. 2005-03-19. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
- "NRLC Commends Veto, Rebukes Lawmakers Who Rejected Alternatives". Nrlc.org. 2006-07-19. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
- "National Right to Life". Capwiz.com. 2009-06-13. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
- National group boots Colorado Right to Life[dead link]
- "Colorado RTL open letter to Dr. James Dobson". Coloradorighttolife.org. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
Further reading 
- Karrer, Robert N. "The National Right to Life Committee: Its Founding, Its History, and the Emergence of the Pro-Life Movement Prior to Roe V. Wade," Catholic Historical Review Volume 97, Number 3, July 2011 pp 527–557 in Project MUSE
- National Right to Life Committee, official website
- National Right To Life News Today, online newsletter
- The Silent Scream, streaming video
- American Citizens Concerned for Life, Inc. Records, (1968) 1974-1982 (1986) via Gerald R. Ford Library
- "National Right to Life Commends Sustained Veto of Funding for Research that Kills Human Embryos, Rebukes 154 House Members for Rejecting Ethical Alternatives." National Right to Life Committee. July 19, 2006.
- FOCA petiton
- ProlifeProfiles.com/NRLC, criticism from within the pro-life movement