January 22, 2016. Updated on 10/2/2016 Steve Sabz
Mother's love - cute baby 3 months boy with mother in bed (Photo by photomak)

Mother's love - cute baby 3 months boy with mother in bed (Photo by photomak)

Is change, for better or worse, always a generation away?

For you [Lord] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

King David the psalm writer in Psalm 139:13-14 (circa 1500-300 B.C.)

The federalized legalization of abortion in the United States occurred on January 22, 1973. Prior to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision (Roe v. Wade), surgical induced abortions were performed illegally. In the 1950's and 1960's, abortion procedures ranged from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year . In comparison, heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States since 1921 , claimed between 400,000 and 700,000 lives per year during the same time periodr . This makes surgical induced abortions one of the leading causes of death in America during the mid-twentieth century. According to the most recent figures, there were 596,339 reported deaths from heart disease in America during 2011. Meanwhile, a total of 730,322 legal induced abortions were reported to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the same year, surpassing the heart disease mortality rate among Americans.

In the previous paragraph, we compared surgical induced abortion to heart disease mortality rates and found that more Americans died inside their mother's womb than from heart-related diseases. But what is the prevalence of abortion in the U.S. since its legalization 43 years ago? The most recent figures, as shown in Figure 1, reveal a decrease in the number of abortions since its legalization in 1973. For example, in 2012 the CDC reported that 699,202 abortions were legally performed , down from 730,322 in the previous year. If we go back to the year 1973, the first year of its legalization, we find that there were 615,831 infants who were aborted . This represents a difference of 88,371 abortions. The Guttmacher Institute (GI) also tracks abortion rates . Their totals are higher by about 100 to 500 thousand, however, the overall trend showing a decline in abortion rates is identical to the CDC. The CDC's numbers were used since they provided the latest data (i.e., 2012)  as of the writing of this article.

Abortions chartFigure 1: Number of surgical induced abortions in America from 1973 to 2012. The sharp decline in abortions since 1998 is due to the omission of one or two states by the CDC. Nonetheless, the overall downward trend in abortion rates is corroborated by the GI.

If we consider the political landscape of the U.S. during Roe v. Wade, we find that abortion was legalized under Pro-Life Republican President Richard Nixon (1969-1974) with six Republican-appointed Justices sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court, five of whom ruled in favor of Roe v. Wade. 

Abortion rates rose during the presidencies of three Pro-Life Republicans (Nixon, Ford, and Reagan) and one Pro-Choice Democrat (Carter) and finally peaked in 1990 to a historic high under Pro-Life Republican President George H. W. Bush (1989-1993). Conversely, abortion rates in the U.S. have been falling ever since 1990 during the presidencies of only one Pro-Life Republican (W. Bush) and two Pro-Choice Democrats (Clinton and Obama).

In conclusion, we see that even before abortion was legalized in 1973, as many as 1.2 million illegal procedures were performed per year from the 1950's to the 1960's. Beginning in 1973, the number of legal abortions increased and finally peaked in the year 1990 with 1,429,247 abortions. Since then, the number of surgical induced abortions has steadily declined, and in the year 2012, fell to rates identical to those reported in 1973. This represents an improvement within a period of 39 years. Hence, it seems that in this case, change for the better really is just a generation away, regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1973. Lastly, the Pro-Life/Republican affiliations of U.S. presidents and Supreme Court Justices has had very little to no favorable impact on preserving the sanctity of life and rights of the unborn before, during, or after Roe v. Wade.

Sabz, S. (2016, January 22). Abortion in decline? Retrieved from https://scienceandbibleresearch.com/abortion-in-decline.html

Steve Sabz

Steve Sabz

Steve Sabz is the author and founder of Science and Bible Research. He is a professional educator with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology from William Paterson University,  where he also completed graduate level courses in Human Physiology and Endocrinology. Currently, Steve is pursuing a Master of Arts in Systematic Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.  Steve is also the author of Evolution's Complexity Problem: See How Evolution Falls Apart At Its Beginning and End Time Rewind: An Exploration In Bible Prophecy And The Fate Of The World.