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The National Right to Life Committee: Its Founding, Its History, and the Emergence of the Pro-Life Movement Prior to Roe V. Wade

From: The Catholic Historical Review
Volume 97, Number 3, July 2011
pp. 527-557 | 10.1353/cat.2011.0098



During the mid-1960s a few Catholic journals and individuals advised that a more active role should be taken in defeating abortion reform. In 1967 the National Conference of Catholic Bishops selected James Thomas McHugh, administrator of the United States Catholic Conference’s Family Life Bureau, to guide its National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). Several pro-life organizations, including Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, emerged and affiliated with the NRLC national office. To appeal to a more broad-based, nonsectarian movement, key Minnesota leaders proposed an organizational model that would separate the NRLC from its founder. In early 1973 McHugh and his executive assistant, Michael Taylor, proposed a different plan, facilitating the NRLC’s move to independence.

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