Editor: On today’s 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, many perspectives could be offered on the immense cost of abortion on demand in American life. Paramount is the one-by-one tragedy of millions of babies killed in their mothers’ wombs in the course of what Malcolm Muggeridge called this “humane holocaust.” But the what-might-have-been for all those lives never lived has a massive societal impact for our country as well. That’s the dimension explored in this article by Brian Clowes, research director of Human Life International:
BY BRIAN CLOWES: At the beginning of this year, we reached the 55 million mark for abortions performed in the United States since the first states legalized the procedure in 1967. Eighteen percent of our nation’s entire population has disappeared into the latter- day extermination camps we know as abortion clinics.
How has the loss of so much of our population affected the social and economic dynamics of life in our country? We have killed a vast number of children, equivalent to the combined populations of 19 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. This is equal to more than the populations of the greater Los Angeles area, the greater New York City area, the greater Chicago area, and the greater Washington, D. C., area combined. The social and economic consequences of this shameful and hidden slaughter are profound. They are increasingly felt in the businesses, schools, and families of the United States.
The greatest loss we have suffered because of legalized abortion is millions of talented people. Assuming that the class of those exterminated would resemble in basic character the surviving population, this country has so far lost to a woman’s “right to choose” two United States presidents and two vice- presidents, seven Supreme Court justices, including one chief justice, 28 Nobel Prize winners, 69 state governors, 92 U. S. senators and 532 U. S. congressmen, 151 United States ambassadors, and 328 Olympic medalists, including 133 gold medalists.
Of course, the direct loss of human talent and economic power is not the only consequence that abortion wreaks upon a society. A country suffers many other inevitable and profound problems, including a deformed support ratio. The architects of the Social Security retirement system obviously did not anticipate the future legalization of abortion. As fewer and fewer children are born, there will be fewer workers to support the elderly through the Social Security system. The number of workers paying into the Social Security fund for each retiree in the United States was 5.0 in 1980 and 4.7 in 1990. Then, as fewer workers entered the job market due to legalized abortion, the worker- retiree ratio slid to 4.6 in 1995 when it would have been 4.8 without abortion. Today, the ratio is 4.3, when it would have been 5.1 without abortion.
As time goes on, the worker-retiree ratio in the United States will approach 3:1, an insupportable situation. Put another way, 14% of the workforce has been wiped out by abortion, and this number will climb to 23% by 2035. The Social Security system began running deficits in 2010. Our current total tax burden will have to increase to more than 40% of every worker’s salary in order to pay for Social Security and other benefits promised to retired workers. In fact, Social Security and other federal retirement benefits will consume over half of the federal budget by 2025. If the stresses on the Social Security system are extreme now, imagine how much greater they will be in only 20 years! The growing worker retiree imbalance is already lending impetus to a general push for euthanasia. National magazines that cater to the elderly often extol the virtues of an “easy and good death.”
There are many other major impacts caused by four decades of abortion in the United States, far too many to address in this article. One of the most important of these is the racial distribution of our population. The total fertility rate (TFR) is the average number of births that each woman has in her lifetime. A TFR of 2.11 represents “replacement level” fertility for the total population of a group in a developed nation. For the first time in 1983, the TFR of black women dipped under replacement. In 2007, for the first time in 35 years, the TFR of white women exceeded replacement.
What this means in plain language is that, because of their extraordinarily high abortion rate, black Americans comprise a much smaller percentage of the population than they would have without abortion. About 11% of whites have been wiped out by abortion, but a staggering 31% of blacks have been aborted. Since a group’s political and social influence correlates with its percentage of the population, this does not bode well for racial progress in the United States.
Consequences To Churches
Those churches embracing an anti- life and anti- family philosophy are gradually dying out. By contrast, although many of their members do not agree with their teachings or practice them, pro- life and pro- family churches are growing rapidly, especially when compared to the anti- life churches. During the time period 1970 to 2012, pro- life Catholic, evangelical, and Mormon churches have grown in membership, while the so- called “mainline” pro- abortion churches are obviously in deep trouble. The pro- life churches in the United States have gained 39% in membership from 1970 to 2012, while the pro- abortion churches have lost 34% of their membership during the same period.
Bogus religious groups like Catholics for (a Free) Choice, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the Interfaith Alliance claim that there is no religious “consensus” on abortion. As usual, they are dead wrong. In 2012 in the United States, prolife churches had a combined membership of 133.9 million people, and pro- abortion churches had a combined membership of only 16.0 million. This is a membership ratio of 8.4 to one, a strong consensus by any measure. We also hear a lot about the “priest shortage” in the United States. Abortion directly contributes to this problem by killing future religious. Two future cardinals, 68 archbishops and bishops, 16 abbots, 6,000 priests, 8,000 religious sisters, 2,700 permanent deacons, and 700 religious brothers have been killed by abortion since 1967. This means that, every week, an average of eight future priests, sisters, deacons, and brothers are thrown into trash bins behind abortion clinics around the nation.
Meanwhile, Call to Action and its fellow dissenting organizations approve of this slaughter under the pretense of “freedom of choice.” It is curious indeed that the dissenters, who complain about the priest shortage louder than anyone else and demand women and married priests be allowed to make up the difference, are among the first and loudest to defend abortion — which is helping to cause the problem in the first place!
As of 2013, there were 6.54 million Jews in the United States, the largest population of Jews in the world. The worldwide population of Jews is 13 million, which means that they have not yet recovered their pre- Holocaust population of 18 million. And now, it looks as if they never will, in part because of abortion. In the United States, the percentage of Jews was 4% of the population in 1945 and is now only 2.1% due to an extremely low birthrate and pervasive intermarriage with Gentiles. More than half of the Jews who married during the 1980s married non-Jews, and only about one-fourth of these couples raise their children to be Jewish. If this trend continues, Judaism may well become extinct in the United States by the dawn of the next century.
The only positive aspect of birth limitation through abortion and contraception is that it is a selfcorrecting evil. Those people, social groups, nations, and even continents that practice it tend to die out over time. Margaret Sanger, Marie Stopes, Lothrop Stoddard, and their fellow eugenicists fretted constantly over “dysgenic genes” gaining ascendancy in their time. Speaking of Sanger, her grandson Alexander recently conducted a tour of college campuses and received an enthusiastic welcome — but not the kind he had expected.
He found that “pro- choice” college groups are rare, but every single college he visited had a large number of pro- life women willing to confront him. He said that “I’ve seen the numbers and I find them unbelievably shocking. Isn’t it obvious that young women have to be at the forefront of fighting for their reproductive rights because they’re the ones who need them? It’s not just the numbers that are down among prochoice women, it’s the enthusiasm.”
Sanger and other leaders of the “pro- choice” movement speculate endlessly why this is so. They claim it’s because the pro- life movement has “reinvented itself” and has produced more persuasive propaganda. Or perhaps it is because of the wide publication of fetal sonography images. Or possibly it is because young people are naive or, as Frances Kissling so patronizingly puts it, “It’s very easy for young people to romanticize life.” Or because of “a new reverence for motherhood.” And, of course, it might be because “they’ve never lived through the sordid conditions of back- alley abortions, the deaths from botched procedures, the desperation of a woman trapped by her own changing body.”
The pro- abortion leaders are not just whistling past the graveyard; they are sprinting past it with air horns blasting in both hands. Not one of them is willing to admit that they themselves are the cause — “pro-choice” women abort their children and pro-life women do not. The population of this country, especially young people, is becoming more pro-life every year. Forty-seven percent of people aged 18-34 said that they were pro-life ten years ago; that number is now 54% — a gain of 7%. In fact, the only one of the 19 measured demographics that was more “pro-choice” over this period were atheists — and by only 1%. Overall, the percentage of the population that calls itself “prochoice” has plunged from 56% in 1996 to 41% now, and pro- lifers have increased from 33% to 50%. In other words, the pro- abortion movement carries within itself the seeds of its own inevitable destruction.
Brian Clowes has been Human Life International’s director of research since 1995. This article is another his series, “Culture of Life 101.” It first appeared in The Wanderer, Nov. 15, 2012. For footnoted versions of all “Culture of Life 101” articles so far, or for an electronic copy of his comprehensive guide “Winning Pro-Life Debates,” which rebuts the 40 most popular pro- abortion slogans, e-mail him at email@example.com.