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The Toll of 49 Years of Roe

By Sarah Terzo

In his book The Fake and Deceptive Science Behind Roe v. Wade (New York: Beaufort Books, 2020), Dr. Thomas Hilgers looked at the number of abortions since Roe and also looked at data on the number of people working in different professions. From this, he calculated the number of aborted babies who would have gone into various professions had they been allowed to live. In other words: how many people of different professions we’ve lost to abortion.

The book featured a table entitled: “Estimated Number of Selected Occupations Lost since Roe v. Wade (January 22, 1973) Current ages 18 – 39.” According to Hilgers, we have lost:

  • Primary and Secondary School Teachers – 1,173,381
  • Registered Nurses – 642,566
  • Construction Workers – 284,964
  • Carpenters – 251,439
  • Physicians and Surgeons – 181,595
  • Biological and Medical Scientists – 53,081
  • Athletes and Coaches – 50,288
  • Artists – 41,906
  • Musicians, Singers – 33,525
  • Aerospace Engineers – 27,938
  • Reporters – 16,763

One caveat. Human beings aren’t valuable because of the work they do, or what profession they belong to. There are disabled and/or chronically ill people who cannot work and they have just as much value and inherent worth as those who can. Our value isn’t based on our productivity and usefulness to society. So I’m definitely not trying to imply that it is.

Nor am I trying to deny that some people who were aborted would, statistically, have grown up to be murderers, criminals, drug addicts, or others sometimes considered less helpful to society as a whole (but who, nevertheless, would have had inherent worth, human dignity, human potential, and a right to life).

Nor am I implying that a person’s future profession is the REASON we should oppose aborting them. We aren’t pro-life because some of those babies will grow up to be surgeons or famous artists. We are pro-life because every human being has human rights, including the right to life.

Whether these human rights come from God (as some believe) or are meant to be granted to each individual due to our shared humanity and our inherent responsibility to one another (which I believe), we support individual human rights. And human rights start when human life begins. That is why we are pro-life, and not because of what those babies may grow up to be.

It should also be noted that these numbers are estimates. They indicate that a certain number of babies who were aborted would likely have grown up to be in these professions. In reality, there are many, many factors which determine what profession a person goes into, and it is impossible to consider all these factors.

Also, it is impossible to predict whether or not another person, perhaps an immigrant or a baby born later (some women regret their abortions, and get pregnant again soon after, having, essentially, a “replacement baby”) would have gone into a given profession, meaning that while a future teacher, for example, was lost, another person might have become a teacher who wouldn’t have otherwise. This would mean that while a future teacher was killed, another teacher took their place.

Of course, human beings aren’t replaceable.

Despite these caveats and limitations, I still felt this was worth sharing, because it humanizes the preborn victims of abortion. When we read that over 62 million human lives have ended by legal abortion in the United States, it is hard to take in that number. (And that doesn’t even count the secondary victims: the post-abortive mothers, fathers, and others.) A loss so big is hard to picture. We never saw those children. They lived and died in secret. Very, very few had funerals. Most have never had names.

But there are over 62 million people missing from our society. They are missing from our lives too. We will never know them, even though they were once alive. Who might they have been to us? How many would have been our loved ones?

This mathematical exercise gives us an idea of what we have lost and helps us take in the tragedy of abortion. I hope you will join me in creating a world where all human beings are welcomed, protected, and provided for.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Secular Pro-Life and is reposted with permission.

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