1999 Statement by Wanda Franz, Ph.D., President, National Right to Life Committee

Twenty-six years ago the U.S. Supreme Court imposed abortion on demand on this country. Since then over 38 million babies have been sacrificed on the altar of "choice." This is a tragedy unparalleled in the history of this nation.

After the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions were announced,pro-lifers warned that the nation was heading for a cultural disaster. Now, 26 years later, abortion on demand is still the law of the land, and each and every one of our dire predictions has come true.

• We warned that Planned Parenthood's slogan "every child, a wanted child" would prove to be deadly lie—and child abuse has soared since Roe v. Wade.

• We warned that, once legal, abortion would not be limited to so-called "extreme cases"—and today the overwhelming number of abortions are done for birth control.

• We warned that allowing abortions under the so-called "health exception" would amount to nothing but abortion on demand in disguise—and that is exactly what it has turned out to be.

• We warned that women, too, would be the victims of abortion—and today there are millions of women who have been traumatized by abortion.

• We warned that infanticide, the killing of children considered physically imperfect, would follow abortion on demand—and today so-called "ethicists" argue in favor of the horrific practice. Even healthy babies, delivered except for the head, may have their brains suctioned out in the grisly partial-birth abortion procedure.

• We warned that from legalized abortion we would slide down a "slippery slope" towards euthanasia—and today physician-assisted suicide is legal in Oregon and considered "medical care" under the state's public health plan. Indeed, as a society we are approaching the bottom of the "slippery slope."

In the 26 years since Roe v. Wade, our nation's material wealth has risen astronomically, but human life itself is cheaper than ever. We truly live in a "culture of death." The "culture of death," however, cannot sustain itself in the long term. Recent abortion statistics offer clear evidence that the "culture of death" is finally loosening its grip on America. In 1990, there were 1.6 million abortions annually in the United States, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute. The most recent set of figures is for 1996 at just over 1.36 million per year—a decrease of the annual rate by nearly a quarter million abortions. That is still far too many abortions, but the rates for 1995 and 1996 are the lowest since 1977. Abortion rates and ratios supplied by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control show us that this decline hasn't been just a matter of population shifts. It appears that today more pregnant women let their babies live.

Is "reduced access" to abortion the sole reason for this drop, as pro-abortionists sometimes claim? Hardly. Over 90% of women aborting their unborn babies still have their abortions performed in their home state. What has happened is that thousands of women have changed their mind each year after discussing the issue with their parents, after learning the facts about fetal development, after being finally exposed to the truth that every abortion stops the beating heart of a growing, developing, living human being. The laws promoted by NRLC on parental involvement, on a woman's right to know, and on partial-birth abortion have not "reduced access to abortion," but provided access to the truth. And that truth has opened women's eyes and hearts to the humanity of the unborn child. These women learned that they were carrying not "potential life" but a living child. That's why we see the drop in abortion rates.

There are several reasons why the "culture of death" will collapse. First there are the inherent contradictions afflicting the "culture of death":

• A culture that has at its core the violent destruction of the innocent is ultimately self-destructive.

• Depriving the unborn child of the "unalienable right to life," proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, calls into question the right to life of all human beings.

• Making the right to life of one human being a matter of "choice" of another makes everyone's right to life contingent on the arbitrary "choice" of others.

• Denying the personhood of the child in the womb is a denial of one's own personhood.

Another reason for the poor long-term prospects of the abortion culture is that it requires a massive and sustained denial of the truth. The truth, however, can be suppressed only for so long; then the dam breaks. Nowhere has this become more evident to journalists, politicians, and the general public than during the debate over the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. In a brief flash of honesty, one functionary of the abortion lobby even admitted that he had "lied through my teeth" for the sake of maintaining the "party line."

The ceaseless effort to defend the indefensible has taken its toll on the pro- abortion lobby. In contrast, NRLC's job to remind people of the fundamental truth about the personhood and inherent dignity of all human beings is bearing fruit.

To illustrate the pro-abortion lobby's dramatic loss of credibility and effectiveness, let me point to recent ratings by Fortune magazine. In December 1997, Fortune magazine rated the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League or NARAL as No. 43 in the constellation of Washington lobbying groups. In contrast, NRLC was ranked in the elite top group, the "Power 25", at No. 10. In another Fortune magazine ranking just a month ago, NARAL had dropped way down to the No. 61 spot. Yet NRLC stayed in the "Power 25." In fact, we rose to the No. 9 spot. It is fair to say that the pro-abortion lobby's massive "disinformation" campaign over partial-birth abortions has backfired.

NRLC is fully committed to replacing the "culture of death" with a culture respecting the right to life. Our goal is to re-establish full legal protection of the right to life of all human beings. In support of this goal, we shall advance various initiatives in this Congress, such as

• the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act,

• legislation to forbid federal facilitation of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia,

• the Child Custody Protection Act that would prohibit taking a minor across state lines for an abortion if this circumvents state laws requiring parental involvement in the abortion, and

• the Women and Children's Resources Act, sponsored by Congressman Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania. This legislation would establish an $85 million formula grant program to support service required by pregnant women who are seeking alternatives to abortion. These grants would support crisis pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and adoption services, among other things.

We shall oppose any form of campaign finance reform that would abridge our First-Amendment rights, prevent NRLC from freely discussing the positions and voting records of members of Congress and other candidates, and hinder our participation in the formulation of public policy. We also will seek to ensure that legislation to regulate HMOs does not have pro-abortion or pro-euthanasia effects, whether intended or unintended. In the context of Medicare reform, we will work to preserve the right of Americans to use their own financial resources to obtain lifesaving medical care, outside the constraints of government-imposed standards that ration on the basis of whether a given treatment is deemed to be worth the cost. This includes the right of older Americans to obtain unrationed, unmanaged fee-for-service health insurance if they wish, and to add their own funds to government Medicare payments if necessary to get it. We will resist the Clinton-Gore administration's plan to circumvent the prohibition of using federal tax dollars to support medical experiments which involve the killing or harming of living human embryos. (For more information on these matters, please call National Right to Life Committee at 202-626-8825.)

Later today, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver a "keynote address" at a so-called "celebration" sponsored by NARAL. This is just the latest example of the great chasm between Clinton-Gore rhetoric and reality.

They claim that they want abortion to be "rare," but they work as the servants of hard-core pro-abortion advocacy groups such as NARAL—groups that defend partial-birth abortion, groups that advocate legal abortion on demand even in the third trimester for "emotional health" reasons, groups that seek to require both tax-funded health programs and private health-care providers to treat the killing of unborn children as simply an alternative form of birth control.

Today's appearance by Hillary Rodham Clinton, while regrettable, is not surprising. Both she and Al Gore appeared before the same group two years ago today to profess the Clinton-Gore Administration's commitment to preserving the right to abort for any reason. Both President Clinton and Al Gore have honored that commitment even to the extreme of opposing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. They have justified two vetoes of that bill with a smokescreen of discredited medical claims. They have tried to hide behind phony legislative counterproposals that, if enacted, would not prevent a single baby from being pulled feet first from the womb and having her skull punctured and her brain removed. So much for making abortion "rare."

Source: The National Right to Life Committee, the nation's largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and approximately 3,000 local chapters nationwide. National Right to Life works against abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and assisted suicide through education and legislation.

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