The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute just released its most recent report on abortions in the United States. The number of U.S. abortions declined by 7%, from 926,602 abortions in 2014 to 862,320 in 2017. The abortion rate dropped from 14.6 per 1,000 women (ages 15 to 44) to 13.5, a decline of 7.5%.
This is the lowest abortion rate and number of abortions since the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade in 1973.
The principal researcher on the study, Rachel Jones, told reporters, “Antiabortion activists are going to try to take credit for this decline, but the facts don’t support their argument.” However, the data in the Guttmacher report shows that 43% of the decline in abortions since 2011 occurred in states that passed abortion restrictions, so Ms. Jones is clearly not giving credit where some is due.
Moreover, what Ms. Jones’ comment does not account for are the aspects of the pro-life movement, in addition to effective political advocacy, that could also be making a real difference. Indeed, as important as laws protecting unborn life may be, what this data shows is that laws alone aren’t enough to reduce the abortion rate. What is likely happening, in addition to changes in law, is that fewer women are choosing abortion as pro-life and Pro Abundant Life pregnancy centers, churches, and maternity homes across the country empower parents to choose life and find abundant life in Christ.
As more and more resources like this become available, and more and more people are made aware of their availability, then fewer women and men may feel that abortion is their only choice. As we often say at Care Net, “life decisions require life support.” This kind of life support is found in the work of the 1,100 Care Net-affiliated pregnancy centers that provided over $62 million in free resources and support to communities last year alone. It is found in the growing number of churches offering life-affirming ministries through Care Net’s Making Life Disciples program.
Indeed, Care Net’s efforts alone have saved over 748,000 unborn children from abortion since 2008.
That is 748,000 abortions that did not happen, but researchers (like Ms. Jones) are either unaware of or unwilling to recognize the impact this life-affirming work has on their data. I am not surprised by this lack of acknowledgement because the pro-choice movement has shown repeatedly that they consider pregnancy centers and similar efforts to be their biggest threat. It’s why they constantly target us in campaigns attempting to defame us. So, when data like this comes out, they will do their best to ignore us, lest the public become even more aware of the “threat” we pose to the abortion industry’s financial bottom line.
All of this aside, however, while we are encouraged by the decline in the abortion rate, the sad reality is that over 860,000 babies died in abortions last year, and it’s likely that a similar number will die this year and next year as well. Progress is being made, but we still have a lot of work to do to help families choose life for their unborn children and abundant life for their families. We don’t have a mother, a father, or a precious unborn child to spare.