National Right to Life Committee, Inc.
|Founded||April 1, 1967|
|Founder||"National Conference of Catholic Bishops|
|Carol Tobias, President
"James T. McHugh
|Part of a "series of articles on|
and the Catholic Church
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The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) is the oldest and the largest national "pro-life organization in the "United States with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide.[N 1] The group works through legislation and education to work against induced abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide.
In 1966, the "National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) asked "James T. McHugh to begin observing trends in abortion reform. The National Right to Life Committee was founded in 1967, as the Right to Life League to coordinate its state campaigns under the auspices of the NCCB. To appeal to a more broad-based, nonsectarian movement, key Minnesota leaders proposed an organizational model that would separate the NRLC from the direct oversight of the NCCB and by early 1973 NRLC Director James T. McHugh and his executive assistant, Michael Taylor, proposed a different plan, facilitating the NRLC move toward its independence from the "Catholic Church.
The national organization of National Right to Life is composed of several entities:
During 1966, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) asked Fr. James T. McHugh to begin observing trends in abortion reform. McHugh was director of the "United States Catholic Conference (USCC) Family Life Bureau and would later become "bishop of Camden and "of Rockville Centre. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops asked McHugh during their April 1967 annual conference to organize the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and fund the established NRLC with $50,000 to "initiate and coordinate a program of information" with state affiliates that would alert stakeholders concerning the wave of legislation sweeping through state chambers that was intended to weaken restrictive abortion statutes."
The National Right to Life Committee was formalized during 1968, the same year that "Pope Paul VI issued the "encyclical "Humanae vitae in response to the "Pontifical Commission on Birth Control 1966 majority report supporting the use of artificial birth control by Roman Catholic couples.
NRLC held a nationwide meeting of pro-life leaders in Chicago in 1970, at Barat College and New Jersey attorney Juan Ryan served as the first NRLC president. The following year, NRLC held its first convention at Macalestar College in St. Paul, Minnesota. From 1968 to 1971, the organization published a newsletter that informed member organizations about abortion-related legislation in the states.
The NRLC was formally incorporated in May 1973, partially in response to the "US Supreme Court "Roe v. Wade decision. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops launched a campaign to amend the "United States Constitution by enacting a "Human Life Amendment seeking not only to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, but to also forbid both Congress and the states from legalizing abortion within 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 "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.
Following incorporation in 1973, the Committee began publishing National Right to Life News. The newsletter has been in continuous publication since November 1973, and is now published daily online as the news and commentary feed, National Right To Life News Today.
On April 1, 1979, the "American Life League was founded by "Judie Brown and nine others after a schism within the National Right to Life Committee. Within less than a year of its founding, ALL had 68,000 members and received assistance from "Howard Phillips, publicity from "Heritage Foundation co-founder "Paul Weyrich, and the help of extensive membership lists provided by "direct mail specialist "Richard Viguerie.
In 1980, NRLC had an annual budget of 1.6 million dollars, and a membership of 11 million.
In 1984, the Committee co-produced the abortion documentary, "The Silent Scream with "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. The U.S. National Right to Life Committee announced a 1994 U.S. boycott of all Hoechst pharmaceutical products including "Altace, targeting the abortion pill RU-486.
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. The National Right to Life boycott specified the following "Hoechst Marion Roussel of Kansas City, Missouri branded pharmaceutcial products, except for "Altace: Allegra, Cardizem, Seldane, Claforan, Lasix, DiaBeta, and Nicoderm. The "King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. wholly owned subsidiary Monarch Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (both pharmaceutical entities headquartered in "Bristol, Tennessee) acquired ownership of the U.S. distribution and marketing rights to Altace and other Hoescht products from Hoescht AG subsidiary Hoechst Marion Roussel of Kansas City, Missouri on December 18, 1998, and maintained a working, business partnership with Hoechst Marion Roussel to market and sell Altace and other Monarch Pharmaceuticals branded prescription drugs within the United States.
The 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.
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The National Right to Life Committee is a federation of state right-to-life organizations. NRLC has 50 state affiliates and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. State affiliates function independently and cooperatively with the national organization. The Committee's board is representative, consisting of a director from each of the state affiliates, as well as eight members elected at-large.
Its "Virginia affiliate, the "Virginia Society for Human Life, was founded in 1967, as the first state right-to-life organization. Other early affiliates include New York State Right to Life (late 1967), Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (1968), Florida Right to Life (1971), "Georgia Right to Life (1971), Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Human Life of Washington (1971), and Montana Right to Life (1972). Other state organizations were quickly organized or became formally incorporated entities in the months immediately following the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalized abortion nationwide. These include the Illinois Federation for Right to Life, North Carolina Right to Life, Arizona Right to Life, and Texas Right to Life, among others.
In 2007, Colorado Citizens for Life successfully challenged Colorado Right to Life's affiliation and representation to the national Committee's board "Colorado Right to Life after Colorado Right to Life ran a full-page ad in The Gazette criticizing "Focus on the Family founder "James Dobson.