Abortion Has Destroyed 117 Million People in the United States

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | | 11/6/12 4:43 PM


There have been more than 55 million abortions in the United States since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. The figure, while staggering, doesn’t really do justice to the total number of people directly killed from abortion in the United States or missing as a result.

In a blog post, pro-life writer Mark Olson, a graduate student in Political Science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, makes an interesting case.

To really understand the total impact of abortion in terms of the loss of human life — one has to go back to include abortions done prior to Roe v. Wade. Further, Olson suggest, one also has to account for the children of those people who were victims of abortion and the grandchildren of those abortion victims — missing because their mothers and fathers never were alive to have children of their own.

Olson reaches a conclusion that abortion has directly and indirectly destroy the lives of more than 117 million people and that that has had an adverse affect on the economy.

I think Olson undercounts the number for a variety of reasons:

a) Olson relies on the estimate of 50 million abortions. In January, LifeNews reported that more than 54.5 million abortions had been done at that time (which itself is an undercount of the likely number) and the United States has passed 55 million abortions since 1973 since that time.

b) The states that legalized abortion prior to Roe included some of the most populated states in the nation (i.e., California and New York) and those states legalized abortion for a few years prior to Roe. As such, the total number of legal abortions is likely well over 60 million when those pre-Roe abortions are added to the 55 million total.

c) I would argue the number is likely higher. In 2011, 3,953,593 babies were born in the United States in what reports indicate was an all-time low birth rate. Using that as a conservative estimate and also (conservatively) estimating that people who were killed from abortions (not including those killed in abortions before Roe) didn’t begin having children until age 20, there are roughly 19 childbearing years following Roe (1993-2012). That yields about 75 million grandchildren who are missing who would have been born to people killed in abortions in the first 19 years following Roe. That results in a figure of 130 million missing director or indirectly from abortion — which is admittedly a lowball figure.

Regardless of the number, 117 million or 130 million or more, the number of people missing because of abortion is overwhelming. Olson’s analysis follows:

A basic level economics course teaches that the number of buyers, or population, is a key component of the aggregate demand of a national economy. Strong aggregate demand is necessary to the health and stability of a nation’s economy. If a nation encounters a shortage in the number of buyers, the aggregate demand-curve shrinks and the potential for that economy to grow and expand is restricted. Often cited causes for a shortage in the number of buyers is population loss sustained by war, epidemic, or natural disaster—this population loss causes long term economic problems. I will demonstrate that Abortion is not only a significant source of population loss, but has also severely damaged our economy.

The first step is to figure out the population loss due to abortion in America. Within pro-life circles we often hear a number of around 50 million aborted. This number is a significant undercount. A large reason for this undercount is because this total includes only those abortions after Roe v. Wade (abortion did not just magically begin in 1973). How many were aborted before the Roe decision? According to the very arguments presented by pro-abortion activists in favor of the Roe decision, there were as many as 1.2 million abortions annually in the 1950s and 1960s.[1]

A true analysis of the population loss due to abortion would also require a consideration of not just those aborted, but also the children (and grandchildren) that would have been born to those aborted. To figure the total American population loss due to abortion I start my analysis in 1950, roughly at the beginning of the Baby Boom. I take the cumulative number of abortions each year and appropriately control for the respective annual birth rates, infant mortality rates, and general mortality rates. The verdict, as of 2010, America has sustained a population loss of at least 117 million persons due to abortion. This is roughly a third of our population.

Based on macroeconomics, a shortage of 117 million persons would cause significant economic problems. To create an estimate of this negative economic impact in real dollars, I took each annual population loss total due to abortion and applied the “per capita” individual federal income and social insurance taxes paid for each respective year. Now some will raise the objection that “not everyone pays income taxes.” However I used a “per capita” statistic to control for exactly this. When totaled, as of 2010, the federal government has sustained a loss of $12.3 trillion in revenue due to abortion.

I have graphed our annual federal debt in comparison to my model of our annual federal revenue loss due to abortion:



The federal revenue loss due to abortion mirrors our federal debt. A national economy cannot be sustained when a third of the population is missing. Abortion is simply the worst macroeconomic policy a nation could adopt. Population is as oil is to an engine, without motor-oil the engine locks up. The economic models are not working because “the experts” assumed natural population growth sustaining aggregate demand.

We as a nation (and a global economy) are just beginning to experience the economic consequences of abortion. As Lincoln spoke, “…we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”