Americans saw a political milestone this month as more pro-life lawmakers were elected to the House of Representatives than ever before, but the nation also quietly reached a less joyful mark.
The Supreme Court handed down its controversial ruling — allowing virtually unlimited abortions at any time throughout pregnancy — in January 1973. The NRLC analysis found that 52 million unborn children had been killed in abortions as of January.
The analysis also found that the best estimate for the current number of annual abortions in the United States — involving both the surgical abortion procedure as well as the dangerous abortion drug RU 486 — is 1.2 million.
As a result, the United States likely passed the 53 million abortion mark on November 1 — the day before Americans went to the polls to vote in a pro-life House majority and target President Barack Obama’s pro-abortion allies for defeat.
Obama has done everything in his power to advance abortion and continue that pro-abortion legacy of the Supreme Court, including naming two more pro-abortion jurists in Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. He has also expanded that 53 million abortions by authorizing abortion funding in various instances and decreasing funds for abstinence education.
In its survey of abortion numbers, NRLC goes to the source by relying on the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, which receives numbers directly from abortion centers themselves.
That’s because the Centers for Disease Control has never tabulated accurate numbers of abortions. The CDC relies on figures from state health departments, some of which rely on voluntary reporting — and it hasn’t had data from some states such as California and New Hampshire for more than a decade.
“Because of these different methods of data collection, GI has consistently obtained higher counts than the CDC. CDC researchers have admitted it probably undercounts the total number of abortions because reporting laws vary from state to state and some abortionists probably do not report or under-report the abortions they perform,” NRLC explained in January.
Digging into the numbers, the NRLC analysis from earlier this year showed abortion numbers rising in the 1970s and, in the 1980s, abortion eventually mainstreamed itself to the point that about 1.55 million abortions were done annually until the early 1990s.
At that point, as crisis pregnancy centers began turning the corner with the use of ultrasounds, pro-life state legislation began to take hold and the Internet allowed the pro-life perspective to flourish, abortions began to decline.
“After reaching a high of over 1.6 million in 1990, the number of abortions annually performed in the U.S. has dropped back to levels not seen since the late 1970s,” NRLC says.
The Guttmacher Institutes most recent abortion figures, from 2005, confirm the downward trend from a high of 1.6 million abortions in 1990 to 1.2 million that year. Without any hard figures in the last few years, NRLC estimates the number of abortions from 2006 to today at the same rate of 1.2 million that GI reported.
To calculate the overall number of abortions, NRLC includes the hard figures from 1973-2005, the estimates for the last few years and also includes the Guttmacher Institute’s admission that its own figures are likely about three percent lower than the actual totals because of potential errors in reporting.
National Right to Life estimated that, in January, there have been 52,008,665 abortions using either surgical or the abortion drug (RU 486) method since Roe v. Wade.
NRLC director of research and education Randy O’Bannon talked with LifeNews.com at that time about the figures.
“Abortion has taken a terrible toll on America. We’ve now lost more than 52 million of our sons, daughters, friends, and neighbors and we are a much poorer nation for it,” he said.
“Over the past twenty years, however, we have seen that pro-life efforts can make a difference, as the number of abortions performed in the U.S. has declined from 1.6 million to 1.2 million a year. We’ve still a long way to go, obviously, but we see that pro-life legislation, education, and outreach can save and has saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” O’Bannon added. “Our task is great, but our cause is just.”