Abortion Toll Passes 55 million deaths

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL-ETF Director of Education & Research

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Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D.

While we can’t yet know exactly how many unborn children will be lost to abortion this year and won’t know the exact total since 1973 for some time, based on previous figures published by the Guttmacher Institute, we can with some confidence estimate that sometime this past spring or early summer, we passed the 55 million mark.

To get an idea of the immensity of that number, consider this: 55 million is more than the population of New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, and Ohio combined – seven of the states that have been most often identified as a swing or battleground states in Tuesday’s election. How different would that battleground be with tens of millions more voters?

A brief word about how we arrived at this number. We took the yearly totals reported in official surveys by the Guttmacher Institute–the former Planned Parenthood special affiliate that now functions as the research arm for the abortion industry–for the years 1973 through 2008, the last year for which Guttmacher has issued official reports. (See charts and a more detailed explanation of our sources and methods at http://www.nrlc.org/Factsheets/FS03_AbortionInTheUS.pdf.)

After an initial tally of 744,400 for 1973, the first nearly full year after Roe, the number of annual abortions rose to more than a million a year in 1975. The figure remained over a million–reaching a high of about 1.6 million in 1990 before dropping to around 1.2 million in 2005, about where they stood in 2008.

We tallied all those numbers together and assumed an additional 1.2 million a year for 2009, 2010, and 2011, and then factored in an additional 3% overall for the underreporting that Guttmacher itself estimates their figures fail to capture. That yielded a total of 54,559,615 abortions from 1973 to 2011.

If we assume that rates stayed somewhat the same and that we might expect an additional 1.2 million for 2012 (we hope that figures show some drop, which is possible, but there is little reason to expect a sudden huge decline in such a short period of time), that would lead us to believe that we passed the 55 million mark sometime around April or May.

To get another idea of the immensity of that number, consider that 55 million is more votes than the winning candidate received in any U.S. election up to 2004, when George W. Bush was the first candidate to break the 60 million vote barrier. Although not all those would yet be of voting age (that portion that would have been at least 18 years old), the number of voting age Americans aborted would easily have been enough to flip any of the elections held since 2000.

These babies’ death not only eliminated their participation in the democratic process, but also their participation in the economic marketplace. The loss in contributing ideas, innovation, knowledge, and products is incalculable. An entire economy larger and more vibrant than many countries has been lost because of abortion.

In a time of economic crisis, when there are huge deficits, it is worth noting that the loss of millions of producers also means the loss of millions of taxpayers, and a younger generation to help keep programs like social security and Medicare afloat (for more details, see the NRL Trust Fund factsheet on The Economic Impact of Abortion).

Most significantly, however, is that 55 million deaths represents the loss of 55 million unique, living, breathing, loving, laughing, thinking, growing, creating people–sons, daughters, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors who could have brought so much more to our world and to all of our lives.

That is not merely a tragedy, but a travesty of justice.

Those lives can never be brought back. But how you vote Tuesday will have a lot to say in whether that number, with government promotion of abortion and perhaps even funding under Obama, begins to mushroom, or whether we, with new policies and Supreme Court nominations under Romney, we finally might see the first hints of the end of this wholesale slaughter.

So vote like lives depend on it!