On March 29 the National Right to Life Committee announced it was disaffiliating Georgia Right to Life.
In the same statement NRLC announced it was credentialing a new state pro-life organization, Georgia Life Alliance.
Read NRLC’s press release here, but its rationale for severing ties with GRTL boiled down to insubordination: GRTL had publicly attempted to thwart two pieces of NRLC’s “top-priority federation legislation,” the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act last year, and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act this year.
In its statement, NRLC subtly responded to GRTL’s reason for defying its parent organization, which was that GRTL opposed the rape/incest exceptions in the aforementioned bills:
NRLC and its affiliates seek to restore legal protection for all unborn children from the moment of their conception. Until the Supreme Court allows broad protections for unborn children, we work to protect as many children as possible by passing the strongest possible laws at the state and federal level. That legislative strategy has helped save millions of lives – and continues to save lives today.
Likewise, in its response, GRTL subtly explained its reason for defying NRLC:
In 2000, GRTL changed its candidate endorsement criteria and legislation policy to ensure that all pre-born children are protected, except in cases where the life of the mother is threatened.
As a result, Georgia is the only state where all its statewide constitutional officers do not support rape or incest exceptions. Georgia is one of only two states that have kept exceptions out of their legal codes….
GRTL PAC has an 89% success rate in helping to elect candidates who are truly pro-life and do not support rape and incest exceptions.
LifeSiteNews.com spelled out the disagreement:
The national pro-life group decided Saturday to affiliate instead with [GLA], a new group that says it aims to protect all unborn children, but will support legislation that includes the exceptions as an incremental strategy. GRTL has opposed exceptions – except for the “life of the mother,” provided that the health care provider tries to save both lives – since 2000.
The GRTL/NRLC split is symptomatic of an ongoing battle within the pro-life movement between those who think certain incremental legislation is immoral and those who think either the all-or-nothing personhood/immediatist approach, or more sweeping legislation (such as a 12-week abortion ban), is imprudent.
Some on Facebook have taken my use of the term of “insubordination” as a judgment call in favor of NRLC. It isn’t. I, myself, was fired for “insubordination,” as it was written on my termination letter, for publicly opposing my hospital’s pro-abortion policy. Firing is what organizations do when subordinates are… insubordinate.
I saw this picture and caption yesterday and thought it provided a good example of what I’m talking about. In this case General MacArthur publicly stated he wanted to expand the Korean War into China, which President Truman opposed….
I’ve heard versions of what went down between NRLC and GRTL from well-placed sources within both camps. And I think both sides are responsible for some rights and some wrongs, as is usually the case. If I thought one group was clearly in the wrong, I’d say so.
I’m generally for doing anything to move the ball forward, so I’m usually happy to see personhood/immediatist endeavors as well as incremental endeavors. Then again, I’m no strategist.
What I don’t like is when either camp undermines the other camps’s efforts, of which both camps are guilty.
And I don’t like when personhood/immediatist pro-lifers attack incrementalist attempts as immoral or not pro-life.
I agree with Ryan Bomberger (pictured right), the adopted biracial pro-lifer who is the product of rape. Ryan wrote in an email (which he gave me permission to post):
I was born as a result of rape and am often expected to solely advocate “no-exceptions” policies. I do believe in Personhood as a concept. But just as with slavery, the 13th Amendment didn’t materialize out of thin air. It was a long exhausting haul of political failure and seemingly impossible triumphs.
I long for the day when abortion is unthinkable. But we have to perform massive “heart” surgery for millions out there including many in our own camp along the way.
I’m a passionate abolitionist… an incrementalist… a realist. I cheer when 20 week abortion bans stand up to judicial scrutiny. I applaud when Pain-Capable bills pass. As a parent I rejoice when parental notification and consent laws ensure the State doesn’t meddle in our children’s personal lives. I tear up when I see mobile ultrasound units uninhibited by bogus zoning restrictions as they provide services where they’re needed most. Some victories are bigger than others, but none are too small in this monumental battle.
I admire different approaches. As a creative professional, I firmly believe that one-size-never-fits-all…. We can be unified yet still diversified.
I support GRTL/Personhood USA’s efforts to establish the legality of personhood at conception. But GRTL was just as wrong – according to its own “no exceptions” standard – to oppose a 20-week federal ban with a rape/incest exception as it was to support a state 20-week ban with no rape/incest exception – but which excepted all babies under 20 weeks.
Here is GRTL’s rationalization, which is instructive to read, taken from page 33 of Pillars of Personhood Educational Handbook. Click to enlarge:
IMO, the above is Pharisaic blather to rationalize GRTL’s support of a 20-wk ban with no exceptions, etc.
Passing laws that discriminate against such classes with the intent to “come back and save them later” is essentially the same as running into a burning building and saving who you can but then shooting those you can’t on your way out.
… is false. All abortion-bound babies will “burn” if not saved by incremental laws. Pro-lifers don’t shoot the ones they are unable to save. These babies are going to die anyway.
Likewise, to support a 20-week ban that laudably excludes a rape/incest exception is still to “shoot” all babies under 20 weeks left in the burning building. And to support a ban on taxpayer funded abortion is still to “shoot” all babies aborted with personal funds. Even to ban any and all abortions in Georgia is still to “shoot” babies burning in 49 other states.
How can GRTL not see its own hypocrisy? It’s quite frustrating. Mirroring it own principles back at it shows it, too, is guilty of classism (prejudice against preborn babies whose mothers have money), geographical prejudice, and ageism.
That the very nature of abortion is ageism is something I’m reminded of every day, because I carry these drop cards by Created Equal in my wallet to leave in public places…
My final thought is that NRLC’s disaffiliation of GRTL has lit a long smoldering spark into a fire. It will be seen as a tipping point. I have no evidence, only a strong sense, that other NRLC disenfranchised affiliates like Cleveland Right to Life and Colorado Right to Life (which birthed American Right to Life), together with Personhood USA, whose National Field Director is Dan Becker (pictured right), the president of GRTL, and another group or two I can think of, will coalesce into a new national pro-life organization to rival NRLC.
I don’t fear or abhor this potentiality. Although unity is preferred, God uses adversity to advance the message as well. My only concern is whether this development will hinder or help everyone’s goal to stop abortion.