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NRL News
Page 7
Fall 2011
Volume 38
Issue 8

The 39th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Unborn Pain

By Jonathan Rogers

This coming January, Right to Lifers will once again convene around the nation to remember and bear witness to the anniversary of the most lethal Supreme Court decision in history. The annual commemoration of Roe v. Wade provides an opportunity to both acknowledge the tragic fact of legalized abortion in America and hopefully bring that grisly reality one step closer to a life-affirming end.

Much has happened in the nearly 39 years since January 22, 1973. The Right to Life Movement rightly takes some satisfaction in the decline of the number of abortions and abortion rate over the past 30 years, a number of advances in pro-life legislation at the state and federal level, increases in scientific understanding of abortion and fetal development, and the fruits of educational outreach.

One of the most important developments in the abortion debate over the last two years is the growing attention given to the pain the unborn child experiences. An emerging scientific consensus acknowledges that the unborn child is capable of feeling pain by no later than the 20th week post-fertilization. As a result, five states have now passed legislation banning abortion on pain-capable unborn children, a number which will likely grow further in the months and years to come.

In addition to the importance of protecting unborn children capable of feeling pain, the issue provides a critical educational opportunity to make more Americans aware of unborn pain and the humanity of the unborn. To that end, making unborn pain a theme of ongoing Right to Life activities and during the upcoming anniversary of Roe v. Wade is one we would encourage chapters and local groups to consider.

National Right to Life has educational resources on unborn pain available, including bulletin inserts and newspaper ads. For unborn pain-themed stop signs, bumper stickers, petitions, and brochures, please call us at 202-626-8842, or e-mail

Whatever particular theme you might choose this coming January, we know having a pro-life event around the anniversary of Roe is a form of bearing witness to what Roe has created. Please feel free to send us any information, descriptions, or press accounts of any local activities in your area.