Abortion by the numbers
"More than 30 million women in America have had abortions since Roe. Seventy percent of Americans say Alito shouldn't be confirmed if he would end Roe. In the hearings, even prolife senators insist, ironically and disingenuously, that Alito has an 'open mind.'" -- Ellen Goodman, "Is Roe v. Wade Already Collapsing?
46,000,000. 43,000,000. 42,000,000, 30,000,000. 126,000. 3,500. 1. These numbers seem to have very little in common with each other. But they are all numbers that relate to abortion and which, if the numbers are no longer looked at as statistics but as human beings, stagger the mind.
Today, January 13, is National Amber Alert Day in the United States. Amber alerts were created to speed up the notice to the police and community when a child has been abducted since it is believed that prompt notice of the abduction to appropriate authorities and the communities significantly increases the odds that a child will be rescued from his or her abductor. Amber Alerts began following the abduction and murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas in 1996. Her death so shocked the community which suggested that local radio stations should be broadcasting alerts when a child turns up missing.
As horrifying as the death of young Amber Hagerman was to her family and the community, and without diminishing the significance of her loss, she was not the only child whose life was ended that day. According to Ms. Goodman, 30 million women have had abortions in America since Roe v. Wade was adjudicated in 1973. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm for Planned Parenthood, disagrees. It claims that by 2002, 42 million abortions were performed in the United States since Roe v. Wade was decided. That's 42 million human beings having their lives ended before they have barely begun. If that figure is correct, statistically speaking approximately 3,500 of those children died on the same date that 9-year-old Amber was kidnapped and brutally murdered.
I am aware that these numbers mean nothing to someone who thinks of the baby in the womb as having no more value than a fingernail -- cut it off and throw it away. But the sheer numbers are staggering. 42,000,000 children. That is roughly the same number of people as were recorded as living in California and Michigan, combined, according to the 2000 census. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there.
The United States, from where I write, may have a fairly liberal abortion policy, but other nations also have abortion problems and contribute to the overall abortion count. According to "India's lost daughters: Abortion toll in millions" from the January 10, 2006, International Herald Tribune, families have been electing to abort female babies as a means of gender selection, and "as many as 10 million female fetuses may have been aborted in India over the last 20 years as families try to secure a male heir . . . ." In China, which has a similar problem with abortion for gender selection, "prenatal sex selection has resulted in an estimated 40 million bachelors." 40 million bachelors in China suggests that more than that number of girl babies were aborted since it remains the case that female babies are statistically more likely than male babies. Russia, according to the Washington Post article entitled "Russia seeks to cut number of abortions", has two and one-half abortions for every live birth.
About.com reports that there are an astounding 46 million abortions conducted in the world each year; 126,000 abortions conducted each day! In other words, there are approximately 3 million more abortions performed each year in the world than have been performed in the United States since 1973!
These numbers are incredible. If approximately 3,500 abortions are performed each day in the United States, that is only a very small slice of the total number of abortions being performed throughout the world. The numbers are mind-numbing. No Amber Alerts were issued for these 3,500 other children. No mothers of these children were on the phone frantically attempting to reach the police to find out where their children had gone. They were only concerned that they were gone -- out of their lives and into oblivion.
When I think how the death of one nine-year-old girl sparked a revolution in the way that we protect children from those who would bring them harm, the thought that another 126,000 children are intentionally destroyed each day with the mother's consent is staggering. There are 126,000 children who won't be alive tomorrow; these 126,000 lives will be terminated with their mother's or parents' consent before they ever take their first breath of air. Very sad.
Former President Bill Clinton said he wanted abortion in the United States to be safe, legal and rare. The problem is that these numbers show that abortions are not rare -- especially when the total number of abortions world-wide are considered. They are terribly, terribly numerous. 46,000,000 yearly is a lot, but when each of those 46,000,000 are recognized as human lives, the scope of the tragedy becomes difficult to grasp.
Cross-blogged at Apologia Christi.