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Law Professor and Pro-life Leader Differ on Life After Roe
Dead Fetal Pain Act Causing Pain in Movement


Denver, Colorado December 13, 2006

Law Professor and Pro-life Leader Differ on Life After Roe
Dead Fetal Pain Act Causing Pain in Movement

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, will the hundreds of abortion regulations on the books have the unintended effect of keeping abortion legal?

On Denver radio yesterday, Notre Dame law professor Charles E. Rice addressed a post-Roe scenario that the pro-life movement has so far ignored. “If the [U.S. Supreme] Court says the states can regulate abortion, then to protect the right to life, you'd have to get rid of the [pro-life] abortion laws.”

On the same program seven days earlier, the president of Wyoming Right to Life and influential publisher of LifeNews.com, Steven Ertelt, repeatedly stated that no abortion regulation law could possibly have the effect of keeping abortion legal if Roe v. Wade were simply overturned.

However, Dr. Rice, who teaches constitutional law, and morality and law, acknowledged that many pro-life laws across America, including Indiana 's Informed Consent law, would keep abortion legal if Roe v. Wade simply fell. Indiana Code, Title 16, Section 34, Chapter 2. Requirements for Performance of Abortion... states:

“1. (a) Abortion shall in all instances be a criminal act, except when ... (1) During the first trimester of pregnancy for reasons based upon the professional, medical judgment of the pregnant woman's physician if: (A) the abortion is performed by the physician; (B) the woman submitting to the abortion has filed her consent with her physician.”

Dr. Rice further warned that the pro-life Supreme Court justices who have ruled or spoken on abortion have stated that the states can regulate abortion, which directly undermines the very personhood of the child and further promotes moral relativism.

These radio interviews, available online at KGOV.com, further expose a developing pro-life strategy rift. Regarding National Right To Life's failed Fetal Pain Act, Ertelt was asked, “Is it possible that offering pain medication for unborn children might encourage some women to go ahead and abort their baby?” And also, “When millions of Americans hear that fetuses are given pain medication, is it possible that might lower their opposition to even late-term abortion?” Ertelt repeatedly answered, “No, not at all” to these questions.

Dr. Rice called the Fetal Pain Act, which was voted down last week in the U.S. House of Representatives, unwise. He indicated that of course anesthesia will actually encourage some women to get an abortion, and may make late-term abortion seem more humane to the public.

Colorado Right To Life president Brian Rohrbough stated that Dr. Rice is so obviously correct that pro-lifers need a strategy overhaul because our own laws may end up keeping most abortions legal decades after Roe. “Pro-lifers will then have to convince a hostile media, the courts, and the public, that our own laws were unjust and must be repealed. That could take a century to accomplish.”

Contact Colorado Right To Life
VP Leslie Hanks 720-394-8946