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NRL News
Page 10
April/May 2010
Volume 37
Issue 4-5

What Does Nebraska's New Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
Mean for Your Chapter?

By Jonathan Rogers

Excuse us for returning again to the topic of the landmark law passed in Nebraska last week. But we really are that excited about it, and LB 1103 really is that important. Besides, we're not the only ones talking about it, by any means.

Nebraska's Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortions in the state after the baby is pain-capable (20 weeks), has been talked about all over the pro-life blogosphere, starting at Today's News & Views and National Right to Life News Today. It's historic and has turned quite a few heads at mainstream media outlets (much to their annoyance, I'm sure).

To name just a few outlets, LB 1103 has been discussed by CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Omaha World Herald, and Lincoln Journal Star, among many others. Rachel Maddow's coverage on MSNBC was predictably condescending, but Marc Thiessen's op-ed in the Washington Post was unabashedly pro-life and thoughtful. Of course, when the topic is unborn pain, any media coverage is hard to spin as pro-abortion.

Good news indeed.

It'd be nice if every piece of pro-life legislation passed at the state level picked up this much attention, but we'll take what we can get and then try to get more, next time.

Here are a few ideas for using that important legislative breakthrough to build momentum going forward:

1. Educate yourself. You and your chapter are the point of contact for individuals unfamiliar with the legislation, so ready yourself to speak accurately and persuasively on unborn pain and the importance of Nebraska's new law. Take a look at, which gives you a solid grounding in the science of unborn pain, and references to the large body of scholarship on the subject. Be sure to read and to be on the hot list that receives Today's News & Views for regular updates (sign up at

2. Spread the NRLC factsheet on fetal pain. Download and print off the first page of the factsheet and use it as a handout or as a set of talking points for any chapter event. You'll find it at

3. Know the counterarguments! They are very few and very weak but persuasive to the uneducated layperson. Most media stories, and all the pro-abortion talking points, try to dismiss the issue by claiming that the science on unborn pain is not conclusive, or that the unborn child simply doesn't feel pain at 20 weeks. Their case rests almost entirely on one study (which was actually a selected overview) by a group that included pro-abortion activists. This 2005 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has been thoroughly rebutted by NRLC and prominent medical researchers. The article itself can be found at  Read NRLC's excellent critique at

4. Go talk it up. Pass along the word about Nebraska's new law to your e-mail lists and phone trees, and post on Facebook or Twitter. If you know of a good pro-life blog that hasn't covered the story yet, e-mail them and bring it to their attention. See if your local church could use any of the factsheets. NRLC also has excellent "Abortion Hurts!" stickers and bumper stickers you can order (call 202-626-8809).We should always want to make our case as persuasively as possible to anyone who will listen. At its most elementary it is simply that the unborn child is alive and well, and that abortion is the great tragedy of our day.

But it becomes far easier to make that case when people around us are already talking about the topic, or hearing about it on the nightly news.

Pro-lifers, and especially Right to Life Chapters, should be doing everything possible right now to amplify our voice on the reality of unborn pain, to reach as many individuals as possible.