restricted access The Pro-Life Movement and Its First Years under Roe
Abstract

In the wake of Roe v. Wade in 1973, the anti-abortion movement experienced new growth compared to previous years when the majority of people opposed to abortion reform remained disinterested or apathetic. The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), formed in 1967 under the auspices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, became an independent group in 1973. It struggled during its first few years when infighting and factionalism between NRLC President Edward Golden and challenger Marjory Mecklenburg led to the group’s general ineffectiveness. There were successes during the early years. Nellie Gray launched the March for Life in January 1974. Dr. Mildred Jefferson served as NRLC president from 1975 to 1978. Abortion became a campaign issue in 1976 when Ellen McCormack ran for the Democratic nomination for president. The Hyde amendment the following year blocked federal funds from paying for abortions for welfare recipients. Failures occurred in other areas. A Senate subcommittee rejected a Human Life Amendment after conducting hearings between 1974 and 1975. Pro-lifers promoted a constitutional convention to achieve a Human Life Amendment. The plan failed. Violence directed at abortion clinics erupted in 1977, a disturbing trend that afflicted the movement in the future.


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