Thursday, June 24, 2010
The National Right to Life Committee opened its three-day national convention Thursday morning and the group’s leadership is optimistic about the future. NRLC President Wanda Franz says recent studies show more Americans are calling themselves “pro-life” and the number of abortions performed in the US continues to fall even as the number of women of childbearing age increases. She says it all points to a changing mood in the nation. A mood they hope to be able to tap into in the November elections. NRLC Political Director Karen Cross says that new mood is already showing up in the political arena. She says the last few months have been exciting to watch. “Every week its almost like Christmas for me,” says Cross. She says many of the races pit candidates with clearly defined differences when it comes to abortion issues. That includes the US senate race in Pennsylvania between Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey. Toomey is strongly Pro-life, Sestak is Pro-choice.
The National Right to Life Committee leadership is also praising some state level gains made in the last year including a law in Oklahoma that will force those performing abortions to display the ultrasound in a place where the woman can see the image. Other states with ultrasound viewing laws only force the procedure provider to offer the pregnant woman the opportunity to see the image. NRLC State Political Director Mary Spaulding-Balch says that is a slight difference from other ultrasound viewing laws but one that clearly makes a difference. “In the states where they are offered the opportunity to view there has not been a single challenge and yet when Oklahoma simply changes the language to the point that the ultrasound must be displayed it is challenged by our opponents,” says Spaulding-Balch. That law is to go into effect in October.
The group is also taking an interest in the confirmation of Elena Kagan. NLRC Executive Director David O’Steen says his organization will “very actively oppose” the nomination of Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court. Hearings for Kagan begin Monday. The Committee has already sent a letter to all members of the Senate asking that Kagan be rejected. The letter lays out an argument that Kagan was key in defeating the partial birth abortion bill during the Clinton administration. He says Kagan’s writings show she strongly argued with the president that he should not support the bill saying it was unconstitutional and that pro-choice groups “will go crazy.” O’Steen says those writings also show that Kagan is a “social engineer” and will be more interested in driving change if she is added to the court rather than defending the constitution. The letter to the Senators reads in part, “she believes that ‘it is not necessarily wrong or invalid’ for appointed judges ‘to mold and steer the law in order to promote certain ethical values and achieve social ends.’” O’Steen says the NLRC Federal Legislative Department will be lobbying members of the Senate Judicial Committee but they will be, “choosing people to speak with based on, of course, the anticipation of success and Arlen Specter (D-PA) is history… it seems he has been rejected by both parties now.” The letter says Kagan will “treat the US Constitution not as a body of basic law that truly constrains both legislators and judges, but rather, as a cookbook in which may be found legal recipes that will allow the imposition of the policies that Ms. Kagan deems to be justified.”