The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment was founded in 1974, at the urging of the U.S. Catholic bishops. NCHLA's mission is to educate citizens on the need for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would protect the lives of unborn children; point out the ethical dilemmas that exist without such an amendment; and provide a forum through which interested citizens can express their views on these matters, both in regard to abortion-related legislation pending before Congress and in regard to the pursuit of a Human Life Amendment through all lawful means.
Passage of a Human Life Amendment that will protect the lives of unborn children to the maximum degree possible is NCHLA's overarching goal.
NCHLA's founding was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion in which the Court created a fundamental constitutional right to abortion. The Court ruled that the right to privacy "encompasses a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy" and was protected from state intervention by the 14th Amendment. In his dissent, Justice Byron White described the Court's action as "an act of raw judicial power." As noted legal scholar Professor John Hart Ely stated:
"It [Roe] is bad because it is bad constitutional law or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be."
The Court's newly created abortion right overrode the abortion laws crafted by the 50 state legislatures. Under a legislative scheme fashioned by the Court, abortion, for all practical purposes, was allowed for any reason throughout the nine months of pregnancy. The ultimate power of constitutional law was used to tear apart the familial relationships that are essential to the common good of society. The right to life, as the foundation of all other rights, was no longer secure for any person, especially for the powerless, weak, and defenseless.