June 16, 2022

National Right to Life Committee Proposes Model Post-Roe State Law to Protect Unborn

NRLC President Carol Tobias
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) on June 15 proposed a model law that states could use to protect the lives of unborn children if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

“For decades, National Right to Life and its state affiliates have led the effort to pass life-affirming laws at the state level that protect unborn children and their mothers – efforts that have drastically reduced the number of abortions and brought us to this moment in our nation’s history,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “With this model law, we are laying out a roadmap for the right-to-life movement so that, in a post-Roe society, we can protect many mothers and their children from the tragedy of abortion.”

The US Supreme Court's upcoming decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization has the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue of abortion back to state legislators and the democratic process. If this happens, states could use the NRLC model to draft laws protecting the unborn.

Under the NRLC's model law, abortion would be prohibited except when necessary to prevent the death of the mother. Violations include committing an abortion, aiding and abetting an illegal abortion, trafficking in abortion drugs, and trafficking minors to obtain illegal abortions. The model law also ensures that the mother of the unborn child cannot face criminal penalties.

Local prosecutors and states' attorneys general would be able to enforce this law, but individuals could also file civil lawsuits against those who violate the law. Potential penalties include licensing revocation, compensatory damages to any plaintiff who has suffered from the abortion, punitive damages payable to pregnancy centers, and reasonable attorney's fees.

“In the event Roe v. Wade is overturned, states will have a significant opportunity to protect the unborn,” said James Bopp, Jr., general counsel for National Right to Life. “In doing so, it is important that such states not only prohibit illegal abortions, but also employ a robust enforcement regime, so that these laws are sure to be enforced.” He continued, “Our model law does just that. It builds on the substantial experience the right-to-life movement has had in developing pro-life legislation and we believe it presents the best opportunity to protect the unborn.”

Click here to read the text of the model law.