Moderator's Note: During recent high-profile stories on the so-called "emergency contraception" Preven, many news reports misstated the position of National Right to Life. Subsequently many pro-life advocates became confused as to the official position of the pro-life organization on the question of when life begins. Below is a position statement National Right to Life has released to clear up any confusion.
National Right to Life Has not and Will not Change its Position on When Human Life Begins.
Since its incorporation in 1973, NRLC has been a strong defender of the lives of unborn children from the moment of fertilization.
For many years the term "conception" has been a more commonly used term for "fertilization" (the union of the sperm cell and the egg cell) and the two words have been used interchangeably. Webster's 1991 Random House College Dictionary defines "conception" as " fertilization, the formation of a zygote from the union of sperm and egg."
Recently pro-abortionists have instigated a widespread attempt to redefine the common word "conception" so that it no longer means the same as "fertilization." National Right to Life has resisted this dangerous re-definition which could confuse many Americans about when human life really begins.
During a recent interview Dr. Carolyn Gerster, a past president of NRLC, tried to correct some of the confusion regarding this subject. The resulting story in the Washington Post was badly garbled.
One pro-life group, without checking on the accuracy of the Post story, interpreted it to mean that NRLC did not believe in protecting unborn children from the moment of fertilization. It even used this inaccuracy as the subject of a fundraising letter.
NRLC's policy has not changed. It is and always has been that NRLC opposes ending the life of an unborn human being from the moment of fertilization.