NRLC’s 6th annual “State of Abortion in America, 2019”: Part Two

By Dave Andrusko

Yesterday we offered an overview of NRLC’s brand new “State of Abortion in America, 2019.” This 60- page synopsis is produced by expert staff at National Right to Life.

In Part One, we offered a summary.

Today, in Part Two, we get more specific and into more depth.

Let’s begin with NRLC President Carol Tobias introduction where she concludes

This sixth annual “State of Abortion in the United States” is not just a snapshot of where we are as the nation, but also a blueprint for how we move forward to build a culture that values life and respects mothers and their children.

The six sections in the report are

  • United States Abortion Numbers
  • Planned Parenthood
  • More Abortion, Less Care
  • Federal Policy & Abortion State Laws
  • Abortion Synopsis of U.S. Supreme Court Cases
  • The Presidential Record on Life

“United States Abortion numbers” begins by making clear something that is perpetually confused. There are two primary sources for determining the number of abortions: the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute. While both show a welcomed decrease in the number of abortions, the CDC (by the limitations of its recording system) shows many fewer abortions. Guttmacher, far more pro-active, produces much more accurate figures. For 2014, the last year for which Guttmacher has recorded totals, the number of abortions had dropped to 926,000 abortions!

Significantly, it’s not just the number of abortions that have decreased. So, too, have abortion rates and abortion ratios. Both have dropped to levels not seen since Roe legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. The CDC’s abortion rate is the number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years. In 1973 the abortion rate was 14 per thousand women aged 15-44. In 2015 it was 11.8.

The CDC’s abortion ratio measures the number of abortions for every 1,000 reported live births. What does this tell us? It’s an indication of the likelihood that a pregnant woman chooses to abort rather than going on to give birth to her baby. The CDC’s most recent abortion ratio showed that for 2015, there were 188 abortions for every thousand lives births. That figure has dropped by nearly half from what it was in 1984, when the CDC recorded a high of 364.1 abortions for every 1,000 live births.

“Planned Parenthood: More Abortion, Less Care” draws on many sources but primarily PPFA’s annual reports. PPFA is (to put it mildly) the largest abortion provider and is so large and so powerful and so willing to close financially unproductive clinics its abortion numbers have either been stable or gone up slightly in spite of the huge decline in the number of abortions. As NRLC’s report explains, “Planned Parenthood has gone through some big changes this past year, but its latest annual report, released just before the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, reaffirms that its commitment to abortion is as strong as ever. Powerful, politically connected Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has stepped down, replaced by Leana Wen, a highly credentialed doctor with an actual background in public health. But nothing in Planned Parenthood’s 2017-2018 Annual Report gives indication of any change in direction or agenda. The killing of unborn children is still at the center of its business (as Wen reassured the world in a tweet sent out in early January). All signs in the annual report point to defending and expanding its “core mission”—abortion.

In its latest annual report, PPFA reported performing 332,757 abortions in 2017, which was an increase of over 10,000 from the 321,592 it did in 2016. This is the second most abortions Planned Parenthood has ever performed in a single year. Its bottom line grew to a whopping in $1.6651 billion in revenues for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. At the same time, PPFA provided fewer and fewer genuine health services (such as manual breast exams). The reality behind PPFA’s polished image is fewer patients, more money. So much for “women’s health.”

“Federal Policy & Abortion” is a fascinating read. It not only discusses what took place in the last Congress, it looks ahead to the current 116th Congress and provides historical background (the “Judicial Federalization of Abortion Policy”). During the discussion, there is a very useful explanation of several of the most prominent recent Supreme Court abortion decisions, such as Gonzales v. Carhart and Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. There is a helpful summary of current high priority legislative initiatives, such as a ban on the dismemberment of living unborn children, as well as an explanation of congressional funding bans, attempts to provide protection to unborn babies who survive abortions, and federal conscience protection laws.

“State Laws & Abortion” provides a great summary of state laws enacted by NRLC’s state affiliates, such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act. Among the most recent legislative initiatives, are laws requiring that information be made available to women that should they change their minds half-way through a chemical abortion, there is a realistic possibility of saving their baby. The Supreme Court is contemplating whether to review Indiana’s “Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act,” intended to prevent eugenic abortions. As NRLC explains, “With a new legislation session underway, it is not surprising that editorials boards and articles are popping up with increased frequency attempting to frighten the public and intimidate legislators. Roe was built on a foundation of lies. Those same lies, and many new ones, have been used to erect a protective wall around Roe. But commonsense protective laws that National Right to Life has promoted for decades is s
lowly chipping away at those lies. Those laws include the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, Ultrasound laws, Informed Consent laws, Parental Involvement laws, and Unborn Victims of Violence laws, among so many others.”

“Synopsis of U.S. Supreme Court Cases.” If you haven’t brushed up recently on what the Supreme Court decided in its various abortion cases, this is the section for you. It starts with Roe and Doe in 1973 and carries the reader through the 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart decision which upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act ending with the 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision which gutted some provisions (but not all) of a Texas law passed in 2013.

“The Presidential Record on Life.” A great way to end “The State of Abortion in America, 2019.” Even a once-over will prove the immense difference it makes who is the White House.

Be sure to pass “The State of Abortion in America, 2019” along to your pro-life family and friends.