By Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, director of Education and Research for the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund.
Editor’s note. My family is on vacation. While we are gone I’ll be running articles from the past 12 months that you’ve indicated you particularly enjoyed. Dave
There’s a lot of talk about the national debt and the deficit right now, with much discussion about how we got here and how we solve the problem. But one factor that has certainly contributed to the current shortfall in our government’s ability to fulfill its obligations hasn’t been talked about much. That factor is abortion.
When most people think of abortion, they think about it as a moral, or personal, or even a political matter, and for good reason. Abortion is the central moral issue of our times.
But a loss of this magnitude will have consequences that reach far beyond just the individual tragedies involved. You can’t lose 53 million lives and not also expect it to have a serious economic impact.
Economists tell us that unless we raise taxes, cut benefits, or overhaul the entire system, both Medicare and Social Security will be a crisis in about twenty years. Why is that? A big reason is that the prevalence of abortion means there are a diminished number of workers to support the beneficiaries.
In 2008, the Social Security program tells us there were 3.2 workers for every retired, disabled, or survivor beneficiary. By 2030, though, there will be just 2.2 workers per beneficiary, that is, the taxes of two people will have to pay for the benefit that three people’s taxes now cover. That’s a heavier tax burden than either individuals or the economy will be able to bear.
Some of this is a consequence of the aging of the large baby boom generation and people generally living longer, but abortion is certainly also taking its toll.
According to estimates provided by political scientist Laura Hussey, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, if abortion had not been legalized in 1973, there would have been 17.2 million more people employed in 2008, earning nearly $400 billion in wages and salary. At the current rates, that would have meant more than $11 billion more contributed to Medicare and at least $47.4 billion more going to Social Security.
That is hardly the only way that abortion affects the economy. Fifty million plus fewer children means fewer teaching, manufacturing, health care jobs providing goods, services, education, and health care for those kids. That means fewer schools, plants, and hospitals being built and staffed.
As they matured, those consumers would have become contributors, earning, spending, saving, investing, inventing, and paying taxes, adding productivity and innovation to the workforce.
And many of those children would have had children of their own by now, becoming productive members of the economic community.
Abortion’s advocates want to make the life or death of an unborn child a matter of individual choice. But as these statistics show us, not only are we morally impoverished by these losses, we also economically all the poorer for it.
For more detailed information on this subject, along with citations, see National Right to Life’s factsheet “The Economic Impact of Abortion: What Do 50+ Million Lost Lives Mean?”