“National Right To Life” decision to kill South Dakota pro-life bill sparks controversy

The Thomas More Law Center has accused National Right to Life of “betraying the unborn,” after the well-known pro-life organization decided to kill a South Dakota bill criminalizing abortion.

According to the Center, the bill was defeated “by a single vote over National Right To Life’s complicity with pro-abortion groups to kill the legislation that pro-abortion lobbyists called the most restrictive anti-abortion measure since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.”

The Bill was sponsored by Republican State Representative Matt McCaulley, who had asked the Thomas More Law Center to help draft a bill that would directly confront the holding of the Roe decision. As a result, House Bill 1191 banned virtually all abortions in that state and made it a felony punishable for up to 15-years.

Immediately after the Bill was announced, National Right To Life spokespersons and officers of their state affiliate opposed passage of the Bill as not being the right time.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center accused National Right to Life of betrayal, saying that  “it is one thing for National Right to Life to disagree with the timing of a bill banning abortions, it is another thing for them to join forces with pro-abortionists to kill the ban – it is betrayal of the unborn and the pro-life movement. When is it the wrong time to do what is right? This organization has lost the moral authority to lead the pro-life cause.”

In a statement, the Thomas More Law Center said the bill passed the state House by an overwhelming majority, 54 to 14. But state Senator Jay Duenwald, an officer in both the state and National Right To Life organizations, led behind-the-scenes opposition when the bill reached the State Affairs Committee.

“Together with pro-abortion Senators, Duenwald’s lobbying efforts succeeded in removing the ban and replacing it with an informed consent measure, something already covered by South Dakota law,” the statement said.

South Dakota Representative McCaulley observed, “There is something horribly wrong when South Dakota Right to Life and Planned Parenthood are on the same side of an issue."

Leslee Unruh, a member of Right to Life for 25 years, and Director of the South Dakota Alpha Health Center, an abortion counseling service, whose husband helped start local Right to Life chapters throughout the state, expressed shock as well. “We were shocked, saddened and dismayed that National Right to Life lobbied against this bill. In effect, they aborted the right to life bill.”

“One thing we know for sure, Planned Parenthood and NARAL could not be happier with National Right To Life,” concluded Thompson.

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