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
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
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
http://www.doctorsonfetalpain.com/, 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
http://nrlc.org/News_and_Views/April10/nv041310.html 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
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.