State Legislative Center

"The place you change America isn’t in Washington. It’s in the states. … That’s how we’ll change the life debate. It will be at the state level. Different states doing this, making very positive key changes until it can migrate to the federal level. And a court case can get up to the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade be overturned. Which will ultimately happen. We have to keep pushing at these state levels.”

-Kansas Governor Sam Brownback

speaking at the NRLC  2012 Convention


The Department of State Legislation works with National Right to Life's state affiliates to draft legislation and pass protective pro-life laws at the state level that protect mothers and their unborn children.  For example, National Right to Life’s number one legislative priority has been the “Pain- Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” Passed first in Nebraska in 2010, this hugely important law protects from abortion those unborn children who are capable of feeling pain—20 weeks after fertilization, according to substantial medical evidence.

Department of State Legislation

(202) 378-8859


Dismemberment abortion is a brutal type of abortion with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, purposely to dismember a living unborn child and extract him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, and /or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off.


The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act protects unborn children from the brutality of being torn apart limb by limb by dismemberment.


Protecting Unborn Children from Dismemberment Abortions


Dismemberment Abortion Bans Factsheet -- updated May 8, 2019




Constitutionality of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act -- July, 2013

Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Factsheet [PDF] - January 9, 2017


The unborn child at 20 weeks (5 months) First enacted by the state of Nebraska in 2010, the model Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, drafted by National Right to Life's Department of State Legislation, is legislation which protects from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain. Substantial medical evidence demonstrates that unborn children are capable of experiencing pain certainly by 20 weeks after fertilization.

 Photo: The unborn child at 20 weeks (5 months)

Factsheet: The Pain of the Unborn [PDF]

Doctors on Fetal Pain

Find out more about the proposed nationwide Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act



Partial-Birth Abortion Bans Factsheet -- July 20, 2017


Partial-birth abortion is a horrific method of abortion that kills babies before they are pulled feet-first from the womb and stabbed through the back of the skull. Often these abortions are performed on very developed babies in the fifth and six or later months of pregnancy when these babies have the ability to feel excruciating pain. Congress passed the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Below are the states that have enacted a state Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.




Life Without Roe: Making Predictions About Illegal Abortions
 -- By Cynthia Knight [PDF]




Women's Right to Know Factsheet [PDF] - June 16, 2018

An informed consent law protects a woman’s right to know the medical risks associated with abortion, its alternatives, and nonjudgmental, scientifically accurate medical facts about the development of her unborn child before making this permanent and life-affecting decision. If advocates of legal abortion were truly “pro-choice” instead of “pro-abortion,” they would not object to allowing women with unexpected pregnancies access to all the facts. Perhaps they fear that full knowledge might lead to fewer abortions.




Waiting Periods Factsheet -- June 18, 2018

Waiting periods before an abortion are critical for saving the lives of innocent children and ensuring that women have a right to know and weigh all of the facts prior to an abortion. Twenty-nine (29) states have established laws ensuring that mothers are given a period of time to reflect before making a life and death decision. This time gives the mother a chance to consider all of her options and receive counseling to ensure she has made an informed decision. These waiting periods range from 18-72 hours and often include the opportunity for consultation and advice regarding the decision.




Ultrasound Laws Factsheet [PDF] - August 23, 2018

Since 1992, states have increasingly passed protective laws called Informed Consent/Woman's Right to Know Laws.  These laws are effective in lowering the abortion rate and protecting unborn children because pregnant mothers are able to receive factual scientific information on the development of unborn children as well as information on local resources that offer alternatives to abortion.  Another aspect of these laws that have recently gained national attention are the Ultrasound Right to View laws.  These laws mainly require abortion facilities to offer a pregnant mother the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her unborn child before an abortion is performed.  Four states now require that the ultrasound screen be displayed within her line of sight so she may view her ultrasound if she wants to look.  This is different than the other state laws that require that the mother be offered a chance to see the ultrasound image.  (In the states that offer the mother a chance to view, the offer to view is oftentimes contained in a stack of papers, in small-type print, that is given to the mother just prior to consenting to the abortion. The screen is usually positioned behind her.)



Parental Involvement Laws Factsheet [PDF] - May 22, 2018

Most parental involvement laws require that abortionists either notify, or obtain consent, or both notify and obtain consent of a parent or guardian before a minor girl has an abortion. Studies continue to show the positive impacts these laws have in significantly reducing the rates of abortion, birth, and pregnancy rates among minors.




Web-Cam Abortion Ban Factsheet [PDF] - May 23, 2018

"Web-cam abortions" are abortions done by a video conferencing system where the abortionist is located at one location and uses a closed circuit TV to talk over a computer video screen with a woman who is at another location.  The abortionist never sees the woman in person.  They’re never actually in the same room. 19 states have enacted laws requiring abortionist to be physically present in the same room as the woman when administering a chemical abortion.



Defunding Abortion Giants Factsheet [PDF] -- updated June 25, 2018

Several states have passed laws that attempt to defund abortion giants. Title X allocates for Medicaid funds to be distributed to the states by the federal government for the purpose of supplementing family planning programs. The states contract with public and private entities to provide those family planning services. The following fact sheet demonstrates the two techniques have tried to revoke Title X funding from big abortion facilities and their legal status.




Insurance Coverage of Abortion [PDF] - updated May 6, 2014

The new federal health care law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, allows states to opt out of abortion coverage in the state‐based insurance “exchanges” it creates. These states that have enacted laws allowing for this exclusion. Also listed, are states that prohibit abortion coverage in plans outside the Exchange and policies for public employees. Some laws provide coverage for elective abortions by the purchase of a premium known as an optional separate supplemental rider.


Learn more about abortion and health care under ObamaCare




Unborn Victims of Violence/"Fetal Homicide" Laws


ZachariahUnborn Victims of Violence laws recognize that when a criminal attacks a pregnant woman, and injures or kills both her and her unborn child, he has claimed two human victims.


This is a photo of Tracy Marciniak Seavers, holding the body of her son Zachariah.  The photo was taken at Zachariah's funeral. Tracy was seriously injured, and Zachariah was killed, by an assault during the ninth month of the pregnancy. 

Find out more about the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act