National Right to Life Committee

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The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) is an interest group opposed to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It was formed in 1973 in response to the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, which determined that women had a basic right to abortion throughout the United States. According to their mission statement,

The ultimate goal of the National Right to Life Committee is to restore legal protection to innocent human life. The primary interest of the National Right to Life Committee and its members has been the abortion controversy; however, it is also concerned with related matters of medical ethics which relate to the right to life issues of euthanasia and infanticide. The Committee does not have a position on issues such as contraception, sex education, capital punishment, and national defense.[1]

Its legislative director and effective chief executive is Wanda Franz, whose strength is in organization and alliances rather than charismatic leadership. [2] The group rates all elected legislators on its NRLC index, a 100% meaning that the official agrees with its key positions.

People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch says NRLC is the largest anti-abortion group in the United States, and that Fortune Magazine, in 1999, rated the group as number 8 on its "Power 25" list, which ranks the most influential lobbying groups in Washington. It disagrees that NRLC is limited to abortion and euthanasia, saying that it also opposes stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, cloning, RU-486 and some other forms of contraceptives, including "the pill."[3] It publishes forms to bar end-of-life withdrawal of hydration and nutrition, as in the Terri Schiavo case; the NRLC news release does permit such withdrawal if it is in an explicit advance directive. [4]


It is listed as cooperating with the Alliance Defense Fund.


The American Life League (ALL) appears to have been formed by NRLC members who rejected it as being too moderate. For example, NLRC does accept the idea of an advance directive allowing withdrawal of hydration and nutrition. NRLC uses the example of Terri Schiavo, who was in a persistent vegetative state. ALL, however, rejects such withdrawal even after confirmed brain death.

U.S. health care reform debate

NRLC issued a press release on 18 November 2009, objecting to Senate language for the health care reform bill, which overrode the compromise House amendment sponsored by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Michigan)[5]


  1. Mission Statement, National Right to Life Committee
  2. National Right to Life Committee, Reproductive Health Reality Check
  3. National Right to Life Committee, Right Wing Watch, People for the American Way
  4. Spurred by Spindler-Schiavo Case, Model State Law to Prevent Starvation And Dehydration Proposed, National Right to Life Committee
  5. Derrick Jones, National Right to Life Committee (18 November 2009), National Right to Life Committee Rejects Reid Abortion Funding Language as 'Completely Unacceptable,' Calls for Enactment of Stupak-Pitts Amendment, Christian Newswire