How much is a human life worth? Such a question almost seems absurd; every life is priceless. Children’s books like Horton Hears a Who and movies like It’s A Wonderful Life tell us that our lives have inherent, immeasurable value. Indeed, those who argue that some lives are more valuable than others due to things like sex, race, creed, nationality, or disability are rightly criticized by society. But every day, corporations, activists, and individuals are asked to consider this very question and make life-altering decisions.
In capitalism, the value of something is determined by how much people are willing to pay for it. Thus the value of gold changes depending on the supply, demand, and perceived value of that commodity. Likewise, the economic value of a good can be determined by the amount a person is willing to sell the item for. If I am not willing to part with my car for less than $10,000, then I have valued my car at more than $10,000. Such calculations of cost and value make up our daily lives. While it is true that a human life is different than a car or gold coin, our actions reveal the economic value we assign to our neighbors and ourselves.
So then, how much is a human life worth? For Planned Parenthood, the value of an unborn human life is approximately $500, the average cost of one of their abortions. But is that a fair economic exchange for a baby’s life? The Department of Transportation has found that, as a nation, America is willing to spend $9.1 million to save an individual life (based on calculating a wide variety of variables including the costs of preventive medicine, safety devices, average salaries, etc). That means we have decided that the economic and social contributions of an individual American are worth more than $9 million.
But yet, the average abortion values a child’s life at $500, 0.005556% of the lifetime economic value of that child’s life. In fact, Yahoo News estimates that parents spend more than $6,500 during the first year of a baby's life (e.g. economic activity is generated) on things like diapers, wipes, strollers, and other baby items.
If there are about 1,000,000 abortions a year, that is $6.5 billion of lost economic activity per year as a result of abortion! And, if the Department of Transportation's estimate about the economic value of a life is correct, than 1,000,000 abortions costs us more than $9 trillion (yes, trillion with a “t”) in lost economic and social impact.
To put this number in perspective, $9 trillion is greater than the entire GDP of Japan and Germany combined, the third and fourth most prosperous economies in the world. Every year that abortion continues in America, we lose an additional $9 trillion in lifetime economic impact.
Despite this mind-blowing data, major corporations like Johnson & Johnson, Adobe, Boeing, and Bath & Body Works, operate against their own self interests by financially supporting the efforts of Planned Parenthood, an organization that reduces the number of customers, employees, and innovators entering the economy and creating wealth. By supporting Planned Parenthood, these corporations (especially Johnson & Johnson a leading creator of baby related products) display hostility to their very economic future, not just unborn life.
When considering the economic benefit of a human life, it becomes clear that abortion is wreaking havoc on our economy.
As pro abundant life people, we recognize that, for a woman facing unplanned pregnancy, considering the lifetime economic impact an unborn life can be difficult. For many women, a $500 abortion sounds preferable to raising a baby in an abusive relationship, dropping out of college, raising a child as a single mother, or any of the host of other concerns pregnant women face. It is no wonder that 75% of women cite a financial concern as the reason for their abortion. This is why Care Net’s affiliated pregnancy centers offer women the compassion, hope, and help necessary to be able to carry their children to term and pursue their dreams. Last year alone, Care Net affiliates provided mothers and fathers with more than $56 million of free services. After 40 years of serving abortion-vulnerable women and men, we have found the best way to save unborn lives is by equipping clients with the resources necessary to make life-affirming decisions. This is why more than 80% of our clients choose life for their unborn children.
It is also why organizations that rely on abortion revenue, like Planned Parenthood, do not provide many prenatal care and parenting resources to their clients. A woman who feels she has all she needs to raise her baby is far less likely to pay $500 for an abortion.
Supporters of pregnancy centers know that any resources we can provide to those facing pregnancy decisions to enable them to carry their children to term provide a tremendous return on our investment—not just socially, but economically as well. The cost of raising a child is far outweighed by the economic and cultural wealth the child will generate during his or her life.
So then, what is the value of a human life? As pro abundant life people we know that it is impossible to predict the value of a child’s life, financially or culturally. We embrace the mystery that every blip on the fetal heartbeat monitor represents. We recognize that each unborn child has the potential to cure cancer, become president, or otherwise make history. It is this potentiality that causes even estimates like those of the Department of Transportation to ultimately fail. We know from experience that none of these outcomes can be determined for the child by his or her parents, doctors, or even the place of his or her birth, but are dependent on choices the child will make during his or her lifetime—choices that child deserves the right to make. Ironically, the very organizations that deny the right of these unborn lives to choose who they will become have the audacity to claim that they are the ones who are “pro-choice.”
A human life, whether it is sheltered within its mother’s womb or facing an unplanned pregnancy, is immeasurably valuable and worthy of our protection, our compassion, our hope, and our help. And that’s something money can’t buy.