Editor's Note: The following story is an updated version published on August 6th.


CLEVELAND, August 5, 2013 ( – In a July 17th letter, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) told Cleveland Right to Life (CRTL) that they must disassociate from the national group over CRTL's criticism of Senator Rob Portman’s support for homosexual ‘marriage’, since the Senator has voted for pro-life legislation and is a sponsor of an NRLC-backed bill.  The letter was also critical of CRTL having added support for traditional marriage and the family to its Mission Statement.

“By these actions, Cleveland Right to Life has violated National Right to Life policy, causing the chapter to disaffiliate itself from NRLC,” said the letter signed by NRLC President Carol Tobias. “We respectfully insist that you remove from your website the claim that you are affiliated with NRLC, and from this point forward, cease and desist from any representation that 'Cleveland Right to Life' is affiliated with the National Right to Life Committee.”


The cease and desist letter came as a shock to CRTL and according to President Molly Smith, was issued without a phone call or email from NRLC.  Smith also suspects some collusion with Senator Portman in the affair since she said, “copies of the letter were forwarded to Ohio prolife organizations from Senator Portman's office before I had the opportunity to read it myself.”

Despite the letter, CRTL is standing by its new mission statement. “This entire salvo was the result of CRTL adding the marriage/family issue to its Mission Statement recently because the traditional family with a mother and a father is an inherent right of every child,” said Jerry C. Cirino, CRTL Board member. “We know it is not only important to protect the rights of a child to be born…we should also care about the child after they are born,” he added. “This is about supporting the family in America and any politician, including Portman, who supports the break-up of the American family and supports the denial of a mother and father for children has forfeited the right of support and endorsement of the prolife movement,” concluded Cirino.

NRLC officials were not available for comment on this story.

However, their letter to CRTL explains that NRLC has been a single issue organization since its inception, “to protect the right to life of innocent human beings, including those jeopardized by legal abortion, by euthanasia, and by assisted suicide.”

NRCL's letter also cited CRTL as violating the national group's policy by having “issued public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-to-life position on every vote that has come before the Senate, and who is a sponsor of major NRLC-backed bills — because the chapter disagrees with his position on a non-right-to-life issue.”

Contact information:

Cleveland Right to Life

National Right to Life