According to Worldometer[i], abortion was the leading cause of death globally in 2021 which means that nearly 43 million babies were killed in the womb before they could be born.[ii] Nearly 43 million!
Merely to show the proportions: 12.9 million deaths were related to communicable diseases, 8.2 million people died of cancer, 5 million as a result of smoking, 1.7 million of HIV/AIDS, 1.3 million deaths resulted from traffic fatalities, and there were 1 million cases of suicide last year. According to data provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 3.5 million people died of COVID-19.[iii] This means that more deaths were related to abortion than to diseases, cancer, smoking, Covid, HIV/AIDS, traffic fatalities and suicide altogether!
42.6 million of our fellow human beings were killed and most of the people seemingly do not want to do anything, they only sweep the problem and the thought of this horrific number under the rug, pretending that abortion is only a private matter. Furthermore, according to more radical, pro-choice, voices, abortion provides the freedom of choice for every woman to decide when and whether she wants to become a parent. [iv]
However, citing personal rights and self-determination to justify the wilful termination of pregnancy, furthermore, advocating the legalisation of abortion even during the third trimester (the last phase, around week 28 of pregnancy) on the basis of individual rights is just hypocrisy. How could we deny human dignity and right to life from a person just because in that stage of life they are not able to speak for themselves or defend their rights. How rightful is it to validate one individual right at the expense of the life of someone else? The right to life of a human being is fundamental and of a great value even if it is in the womb, therefore it can only be compared to the value of life of another person, in this case the mother. The dehumanisation of the foetus and the deprivation of its God given rights must be halted.
These pro-life principles prioritise the right to life on the solid basis of the sanctity of human life and believe that—except for certain cases or under specified circumstances (e.g. if the mother’s life in danger)—the life of a human being cannot be taken even if it is still in the womb. They believe that one person has no right to decide arbitrarily the life or the death of another neither before nor after birth.
If we discriminate unborn children on the basis of their sex or a fatal disability, it paves the way for discrimination in later life, based on these immutable characteristics
‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. […] Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly’, – wrote Martin Luther King Jr.[v] And it perfectly highlights why fighting for equality and against discrimination on any ground can only be an ambiguous, insincere struggle if we turn a blind eye to the rights of the most vulnerable and discriminate those who are still in the womb. If we discriminate unborn children on the basis of their sex or a fatal disability, it paves the way for discrimination in later life, based on these immutable characteristics. Or else, why should we think that such mindset of discrimination and the denial of human dignity and worth would disappear at the moment of birth. That is why the motto of the 49th annual March for Life (which takes place in the United States on 21 January 2022) is “Equality Begins in the Womb”. Although this is just one element of the whole issue as the pro-life movement’s president Jeanne Mancini sees abortion as the most significant social justice cause of our time.[vi]
But beyond common sense and human right reasons there are some statistics from the US which also debunks the arguments of the pro-choice activists. These abortion advocates often try to support their arguments with cases when a woman was raped or the woman’s life was endangered by the pregnancy. Firstly, these exceptional cases are under milder regulations in most of the countries. Secondly, according to the survey made by the Agency for Health Care Administration in Florida only 0.36 per cent of the abortions were performed because of these reasons.[vii] From this point of view, demanding to ensure the right for the remaining 99.64 per cent to freely kill their babies is revolting. It means that less than 0.5 per cent of all abortions performed totally is what we can actually call a lifesaving surgery (either physically or psychologically).[viii] In fact, 74.9 per cent of the abortions carried out in Florida in 2018 had no significant reason at all.
At the end of 2021 The New York Times made an overall analysis titled ‘Who Gets Abortions in America?’by using statistics of the Guttmacher Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[ix] The abortion rate in the US has been declining steadily in the last thirty years, now it is 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women which meant 862 320 abortions in 2017 just in the US.
The abortion rate peaked at 30 in the late 70s after the landmark supreme court decision in the Roe v. Wadecase in 1973, which granted the liberty to every pregnant woman to choose abortion before the 23rd week of pregnancy without excessive government restriction. And this increasing number of abortions after that the practice had been liberalised refutes that pro-abortion claim that stricter restrictions would not lead to fewer abortions and, therefore, it would be pointless to tighten current laws.
Guttmacher surveys also dispute those voices that say abortion is more probable among women living in more modest circumstances. Even if it is only a slight majority, 51 per cent of women who had abortion live above the poverty line. The numbers also show that conception within marriage is safer from the point of view of the life of the foetus as married women made up only 14 per cent of the overall number of induced abortions in the US in 2019.
Statistics also reveal some more interesting information about in which stage of the pregnancy abortions are most likely to be performed. 43 per cent of abortions occur during the first six weeks of pregnancy, 36 per cent during the seven to nine weeks, which indicates that neither the Texas Heartbeat Act nor the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban —known as the strictest state bans—could prevent majority of the induced abortions. It means that even stricter restrictions introduced by some states, known as anti-abortion states (Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma for example) could defend the lives of the unborn.
Especially if the US Supreme Court will overturn the Roe vs. Wade verdict which is likely to happen this year, which will trigger the exacerbation of the heated political and public debate between the two camps.[x] In case Roe were overturned, 22 states are already expected to ban or severely restrict abortion, which will definitely start “abortion-tourism” to states with more loose abortion laws, like California which plans to be an “abortion sanctuary” if Roe vs. Wade is overturned.[xi]
[i] Worldometer – Health (Wordometer, 31 Dec 2021)
https://www.worldometers.info/, accessed 12. Jan. 2022.
[ii] Thomas D. Williams, Abortion Leading Global Cause of Death in 2021 with 43 Million Killed (Breitbart, 31 Dec 2021)
https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2021/12/31/abortion-leading-global-cause-of-death-in-2021-with-43-million-killed/?fbclid=IwAR2OhAjMYim_SjcQWxH5E9n6-mpC0dE73Kr_769frnxA8qh7lRTCQTeMW4k accessed 12. Jan. 2022.
[iii] Felix Richter, Covid Deaths Exceed Annual Death Toll of HIV, TB and Malaria (Statista, 22 Dec 2021)
https://www.statista.com/chart/26449/covid-19-deaths-in-2021/, accessed 12. Jan. 2022.
[iv] Miriam, Can you explain what pro-choice means and pro-life means? (Planned Parenthood, 16 Oct 2019)
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens/ask-experts/can-you-explain-what-pro-choice-means-and-pro-life-means-im-supposed-to-do-it-for-a-class-thanks, accessed 12. Jan. 2022.
[v] Dr. King’s Legacy – Justice (National Civil Rights Museum)
https://mlk50.civilrightsmuseum.org/justice, accessed 12. Jan. 2022.
[vi] Catholic News Service, Head of March for Life calls abortion ‘social justice cause of our time’ (Catholic News Service, 18 Jan 2018)
https://www.catholicnews.com/head-of-march-for-life-calls-abortion-social-justice-cause-of-our-time/, accessed 12. Jan. 2022.
[vii] U.S. Abortion Statistics (Abort73.com, 28 Dec 2021)
https://abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_statistics/, accessed 12. Jan. 2022.
[viii] István Prózsa, Életvédelem-e az abortusz? – válasz Laborczi Dórának (Kálvinista Apologetika, 6 May 2019)
http://kalvinistaapologetika.hu/eletvedelem-e-az-abortusz/, accessed 12. Jan. 2022.
[ix] Margot Sanger-Katz, Claire Cain Miller and Quoctrung Bui, Who Gets Abortions in America? (The New York Times, 14 Dec 2021)
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/12/14/upshot/who-gets-abortions-in-america.html, accessed 12. Jan. 2022.
[x] Adam Liptak, Supreme Court to Hear Abortion Case Challenging Roe v. Wade (The New York Times, 17 May 2021)
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/17/us/politics/supreme-court-roe-wade.html, accessed 12. Jan. 2022.
[xi] Adam Beam, California plans to be abortion sanctuary if Roe vs. Wade is overturned (The Los Angeles Times, 8 Dec 2021)
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-12-08/california-plans-to-be-abortion-sanctuary-if-roe-vs-wade-is-overturned, accessed 12. Jan. 2022.