January 22, 2016. Updated 1/13/2019 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 , at its peak claimed 905,438 lives (466/100,000 population) in 1965 . This made surgical induced abortions one of the leading causes of death in America during the mid-twentieth century. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently credits congenital malformations as the leading cause of death in children less than a year old .

According to the most recent figures, there are about 630,000 deaths  from heart disease every year in America. Meanwhile, a total of 638,169 legal induced abortions  were reported to the CDC in 2015, slightly surpassing the heart disease mortality rate in the United States.

In the paragraph above, we compared surgical induced abortion to heart disease and found that a similar number of Americans die from heart disease and abortion. But what is the prevalence of abortion in the U.S. since its legalization 46 years ago? The most recent figures reveal a decrease in the number of abortions since its legalization in 1973. For example, in 2015 the CDC reported that 638,169 (49 reporting areas) abortions were legally performed , down from 652,639 (48 reporting areas) 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 22,338 abortions. The Guttmacher Institute (GI) also tracks abortion rates  corroborating the CDC's documented decline in abortions performed across the United States. GI's latest year of reporting is 2014 and uses a rate of abortions per every 1,000 women aged 15-44 as shown in Figure 1 below.

trends in abortion graphFigure 1: Number of surgical induced abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 in America from 1973 to 2014 (image by the Guttmacher Institute).

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. Steve has been studying theology since 2015 and has successfully completed seminary level courses in Textual Criticism, Biblical Hermeneutics, Eschatology, Puritan Theology, Ancient Church History, Soteriology, Biblical Theology, Prolegomena, and Biblical Greek from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Dallas 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.