New Book: Abortion is Decimating America’s Population, Workforce

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 10, 2013   |   7:48PM   |   Washington, DC

A new book titled What to Expect When No One’s Expecting makes a very riveting case that abortion has decimated the population of the United States and its workforce. You can purchase the book here.

Written by Johnathon Last, the book provides an answer to the question, Is America too crowded?

“For years, we have been warned about the looming danger of overpopulation: people jostling for space on a planet that’s busting at the seams and running out of oil and food and land and everything else,” the book contends.

The book continues: “It’s all bunk. The “population bomb” never exploded. Instead, statistics from around the world make clear that since the 1970s, we’ve been facing exactly the opposite problem: people are having too few babies. Population growth has been slowing for two generations. The world’s population will peak, and then begin shrinking, within the next fifty years. In some countries, it’s already started. Japan, for instance, will be half its current size by the end of the century. In Italy, there are already more deaths than births every year. China’s One-Child Policy has left that country without enough women to marry its men, not enough young people to support the country’s elderly, and an impending population contraction that has the ruling class terrified.”

An excerpt from the book appears below:

Sex without “Consequences”

The widespread practice of abortion culled an entire generation’s worth of babies that otherwise might have been born. While there had always been abortions in America (the practice dates back to the ancient Greeks, at least), there were relatively few abortions before Roe—even though most states allowed for early-term abortions. In 1970, for example, there were 193,491 reported legal abortions performed in America.[i] Certainly, this figure significantly undercounts the total number of abortions because it does not include unreported, illegal abortions. But for the sake of argument, let’s take that 200,000 as a baseline. By 1973, the year the Court ruled on Roe, creating a universal, non-restricted right to abortion, the number of reported abortions had risen to 744,600.[ii] The next year, that number rose by 20 percent, to 898,600 abortions. By this time all abortions were legal, and so we can be confident that this number is fairly accurate. Over the course of the next 15 years, the number of abortions rose quite a bit. By about 100 percent, actually.

Let’s leave aside the legal and moral arguments about Roe and focus on what the decision meant for the number of children born. In 1973 there were 3.1 million babies born in America. Over the next 10 years that number rose only slightly, despite the fact that America’s total population was increasing quickly. Why weren’t there more babies born in the decade following Roe? Well, because during that time, 34.19 million children were born. And 13.62 million were aborted. Which means that 28.5 percent of all pregnancies ended in abortion.

Live Births vs. Abortions in the
First Decade After

Year Live Births

(in millions)


(in millions)

1974 3.160 0.899
1975 3.144 1.034
1976 3.168 1.179
1977 3.327 1.317
1978 3.333 1.410
1979 3.494 1.498
1980 3.612 1.554
1981 3.629 1.577
1982 3.681 1.574
1983 3.639 1.575

Sources: Centers for Disease Control, Vital Statistics of the United States, 1997, Volume 1—Natality ( and Lawrence B. Finer and Stanley K. Henshaw, “Estimates of U.S. Abortion Incidence, 2001-2003,” Guttmacher Institute (


It would be foolish to assume that every one of those abortions would have resulted in a birth had Roe not created a universal abortion right. But several facts remain: (1) Post-Roe, the number of abortions significantly increased; (2) The plurality of abortions are performed on women who are 25 and older, the prime childbearing years; (3) Over 40 percent of women having abortions already have one or more children; (4) 20 percent of women having abortions are married; (5) Since Roe more than 49.5 million babies have been aborted in America; and (6) Post-Roe, the fertility rate in America has been roughly inverse to the abortion rate, generally declining when abortion is on the rise, and rising when abortion is on the decline.[iii] These factors certainly suggest that, absent unfettered access to abortion, at least some of those pregnancies would have resulted in births. Again, we don’t want to confuse causation and correlation, but between 2005 and 2010, the abortion rate rose for the first time since 1990—just as the fertility rate, which had been ticking upward, declined.[iv]

If you want more data, you can compare the abortion rate to the birth rate across states and what you find is about what you’d expect. States with very high birth rates—Utah, Mississippi, South Dakota, Kentucky—have very low abortion rates. And vice versa.[v] In 2000 the RAND corporation tried to estimate what the numerical effect of abortion was on the TFR.[vi] It concluded that for white America, abortion on demand lowered the fertility rate by about 0.08—or 4 percent. Among black Americans the effect was much stronger: the Roe regime pushed fertility down by 0.34—or 13 percent.



[1] “Abortion Surveillance—United States, 2003,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report 55, no. SS-11 (November 24, 2006): 18.

[1] Alan Guttmacher Institute.

[1] National Right to Life Committee, “Abortion in the United States, Statistics and Trends.”

[1] David Crary, “U.S. abortion rate rises for the first time since 1990,” Associated Press, January 1, 2011.

[1] Steve Sailer, “The Baby Gap,” American Conservative, December 20, 2004.

[1] Jacob Alex Klerman, “U.S. Abortion Policy and Fertility,” American Economic Review 89, no. 2 (1999): 261-264.