Forty years of killing our children, and our future
January 24th was the fortieth anniversary of the infamous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1973 that struck down the laws regulating abortion in all 50 states. In Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, seven of the nine justices in effect legalized abortion on demand during the entire nine months of a woman’s pregnancy.
What has occurred during these 40 years, unmoored as we are from our nation’s fundamental moral principles that value human life? Fifty-five million children (that’s 18 percent of our current population) killed in their mothers’ wombs, millions of women suffering depression, millions of men denied their fatherhood, millions of children without siblings, millions fewer citizens participating in self-government, millions fewer workers supporting vast entitlement programs, millions fewer grandchildren to connect the generations.
Besides these pains and losses, there is less respect for human life as children are denied safe passage because they are disabled (or believed to be), conceived in poverty or disorder, or are female. Advocates of abortion concede no limits whatsoever to butchering unborn children, save the wishes of the mother or (more often) boyfriends, parents and “friends.” Children are expendable now.
Fortunately, the ultra sound technique tends to humanize the fetus (Latin for “young one,” not mere tissue) and often when mothers see the child moving they discard any plans to abort them. While it is true that the religious beliefs of millions are set against abortion, it is equally true that the advances in knowledge about pre-born children are welcome. Public opinion polls have shown a slight majority who say they are pro-life.
It requires lying and misrepresentation to keep abortion legal. One lie is that women have abortions only for medical reasons, or in cases of rape or incest. In fact, these represent less than three percent of the abortions.
Another lie is that legalized abortions did not reduce the number of abortions but simply made them safer. That didn’t keep Bill and Hillary Clinton from saying that abortions should not only be safe and legal, but “rare.” One can hardly call an average of one million abortions each year “rare.”
For years, the Guttmacher Institute (GI) has kept statistics on the number of abortions worldwide, typically reporting more than 40 million a year, disregarding whether abortion was either legal or illegal, the unstated assumption being that legal status is irrelevant.
National Right to Life, citing new research published in the International Journal of Women’s Health, reports that GI’s figures for illegal abortions have been overstated. For example, the estimate for 2006 in Mexico was 725,070-1,024,424 but the actual number the following year when abortion was legalized was only 10,137! Typically, legalization increases the numbers. Why this drop?
There are at least two reasons. First, the figures for illegal abortions are only estimates based on hospitalization samples and household surveys. Second, people lie. Consider this from Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a leading supporter of abortion in the early 1970s in New York before Roe and Doe (later a stalwart pro-lifer):
“We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000. Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000.”
GI estimated worldwide abortions at 35.6 million in 1995, 41.6 million in 2003 and 43.8 million in 2008. But statistician William Johnston reported figures of 18.1, 15.1 and 16 million.
Our nation’s and the world’s experience reveals that legalized abortion results in more fetal deaths than outlawing the practice. More, when Chile and Ireland outlawed abortion the mortality rate for women went down.
Finally, unborn children are human beings whose hearts begin to beat at 22 days with their own blood, whose eyes, hands and legs develop in five weeks and whose brain waves are detectable and whose fingers begin to form in six weeks. At 20 weeks, unborn children feel pain.
Fortunately, federal law has forbidden payment for abortions since 1975 (now threatened by ObamaCare), but they are financed through the back door by subsidies to Planned Parenthood, which commits approximately one third of all abortions.
It took 250 years to abolish slavery in America. We must pray that it takes far less time to end abortion on demand.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Richard Reeb taught political science, philosophy and journalism at Barstow College from 1970 to 2003. He is the author of “ Taking Journalism Seriously: ‘Objectivity’ as a Partisan Cause” (University Press of America, 1999). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.