Abortion Statistics: Effective Eye-Opener

Author: A.L.L.


American Life League

One death is a tragedy, but a million deaths are merely a statistic.

                                                                                                             Josef Stalin.

Anti-Life Mentality.

Your [pro-life] opposition's tack is primarily emotional ... Discredit the opposition's statistics. They are mostly out of date (no where near as up-to-date as yours) and mostly distorted ... Remember, they'll try to hold you to these [when does life begin] arguments because they are about all they have in a meager arsenal ...

                                                               National Abortion Rights Action League.[1]

Abortion must remain legal, if only because of the very large number of pregnant women whose lives are directly and seriously threatened by their fetuses, and because of the thousands of women who become pregnant because of rape and incest every year. Additionally, many older women need abortion because they have an extremely high percentage of deformed fetuses.

To restrict or outlaw abortion in these cases especially would be punitive, brutal, and inhumane.


It is my personal belief that the only requirement for an abortion, under any circumstances, should be the desire of the woman whatever her reason to interrupt her pregnancy.

                                                                              Illegal abortionist Ruth Barnett.[2]

It is interesting indeed to watch a well-prepared pro-life debater sit down with a typical pro-abortionist in front of an audience and discuss the issues. To begin with, years of propaganda like that dished out by the National Abortion Rights Action League (see above) and other groups has convinced the pro-aborts that their position is absolutely solid, logical and unassailable by mere 'anti-choice fanatics.' It is amusing to watch the shock on a pro-abort's face as he is demolished in a face-to-face debate, especially if the pro-lifer uses slides or transparencies.

The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words holds just as true today as it did in the past. A pro-life debater can modify this old saying by painting 'word pictures' for audiences in order to get vivid points across. A debater will make a tremendous impact on listeners by using his imagination to relate the abortion issue to everyday images that people are already familiar with.

In other words, the issue must be framed in terms that people understand and will remember.

This is an extremely effective tactic, especially when the pro-lifer's sources are reliable and unimpeachable, or when his sources originate with pro-abortion people or organizations.

This chapter includes figures that give detailed statistics on abortion, and presents several examples of how to illustrate 'word pictures' for your audience.

The figures contained in this chapter are as follows.

Figure 87-1: Basic abortion statistics by year for the United States, 1965 to 1992.

Figure 87-2: Graphic showing annual legal abortions in the United States for the years 1970 to 1992.

Figure 87-3: Statistical profile of women obtaining abortions breakdown by age, race, marital status, prior births and abortions, and weeks of gestation.

Figure 87-4: Overall statistical analysis of abortions, showing percentages of abortions for women by marital status, gestational age, the 'hard cases,' and resulting percentages for 'convenience' abortions. This figure includes the most useful statistics that are generally used in debates.

Figure 87-5: A graphical representation of the numbers given in Figure 87-4, showing why women abort and comparing the 'hard cases' to the number of abortions for 'convenience.' Figures 87-4 and 87-5 may be copied in back-to-back format for use as an informational flyer or a handout at debates.

Figure 87-6: A bar chart showing the leading causes of death in the United States, including abortion, heart and lung diseases, all cancers, all accidents, and all other causes.

Figure 87-7: A list of the leading causes of death in the United States, including abortion, heart and lung diseases, all cancers, all accidents, and all other causes.

Figure 87-8: The reasons why women obtain abortions. Results of surveys of the women themselves, performed by a veteran illegal abortionist and today's pro-abortion organizations. This two-page table can be used as a double-sided handout at debates.

The most important conclusion that can be drawn from all of these figures must be hammered home relentlessly by pro-life debaters: THE ABORTION 'HARD CASES' ACCOUNT FOR LESS THAN ONE PERCENT OF ALL ABORTIONS!

Another important point that may be made from Figure 87-4 is that more than one-third of women who obtain abortions were not using contraception at the time they became pregnant. In other words, they are using abortion as birth control. This is in direct conflict with the tired Planned Parenthood refrain that "Almost no one approves of abortion as a method of birth control, including the people who provide abortion services."[3]

Unless, of course, one can make a lot of money off of careless women then the approval is very evident indeed.

The Role of the 'Hard Cases.'

A medically necessary abortion is any abortion a woman asks for.

                                                                     Minnesota abortionist Jane Hodgeson.[4]

Powerful Weapons.

The most powerful weapon ever used by pro-abortion strategists is unquestionably their manufactured images of suffering and desperate women being brutalized at the hands of back-alley butchers.

In addition to this fictitious horror show, pro-abortion propagandists invariably stress the "hard cases" when fighting to repeal abortion laws and when battling any limits on abortion whatsoever.

These twin weapons of deception have definitely accomplished what they were designed to do. One of the reasons that public opinion may be skewed toward the 'pro-choice' position is that Americans tend to grossly overestimate the probability of occurrence of catastrophic or unfavorable events in all fields, including abortion.

An August 1990 Wirthlin Group survey of 2,000 voters nationwide showed that 47% believe that there are less than 500,000 abortions per year, as opposed to the actual number of 1.6 million. Respondents also said that an average of 46 percent of all abortions are performed to save the life of the mother and for rape and incest an overestimation of 25,000 percent![5]

Since most people overestimate the percentage of 'hard case' abortions by a factor of 250, it is no surprise that they would want to keep abortion legal in order to remedy the perceived 'epidemic' of rapes, cases of incest, deformed babies, and life-threatening pregnancies.

Dust 'Em Off Again ...

The pro-aborts heavily emphasized the 'hard cases' in their drive to legalize abortion, and they are now pulling the same tactic out of mothballs in their continuing efforts to keep abortion legal.

When the National Abortion Rights Action League perceived a growing threat to "abortion rights" in the mid-1980s, it attempted to capitalize on this theme with its so-called "Silent No More" sympathy campaign. NARAL hoped to gather thousands of vividly-written stories of women who had had illegal abortions (or who knew other women who had done so), and planned to publicize them heavily in order to influence public opinion on abortion.

However, despite the fact that it was heavily publicized by all branches of the major media, the "Silent No More" campaign was a resounding flop by any possible standards of measurement.

The Big Effort.

NARAL made its biggest push for stories in May of 1985, when it advertised heavily among its 200,000 members and the public, asking for letters detailing experiences with illegal abortions. NARAL proudly claimed that they received "Tens of thousands of letters," but, mysteriously, only 68 were submitted to the Congressional Record for publication on May 22nd, and even these were of poor (even ridiculous) quality.

For example, one rambling letter in the Record claimed that

Thirty-five years ago I was pregnant my baby had died in 4th month of pregnancy but because of abortion being illegal I couldn't have an abortion I had to carry that dead child for 5 months before I finally aborted it myself. I carried that child for 5 agonizing months knowing I was carrying a dead child please legalize abortion it must be pro choice.[6]

Anyone who knows anything about fetal development or obstetrics will realize that the situation described above is physically impossible.

It was revealing to note that most of NARAL's letters were written not by women who were in truly desperate circumstances, but by women who wanted abortion to remain legal for purely selfish reasons of convenience. One typical letter asserted that

My abortion occurred when I was a married adult woman. I simply had not fully dealt with the role of motherhood, and how it might impact upon the rather new career path which I was pursuing. I was not raped. I do not think I carried a deformed fetus. I was not a teenager. I was simply a woman who believes that her uterus was her own, as was the decision as to when or if it would bear a child.[6]

The Pro-Life Response.

There is only one possible effective pro-life response to pro-abortionists who stress or overestimate the 'hard cases;' a counterattack in the form of verifiable statistics showing just how rare these 'hard cases' really are. The rebuttal made by the pro-lifer must be concise and vigorous in order to make the solid impression that the pro-abortionists are lying.

The pro-life response can be aided with word pictures, some of which are described below.

The Corresponding 'Trivial Cases.'

Another tactic that a pro-lifer may use to counter the 'hard cases' sob stories trotted out by pro-aborts is the 'trivial case' counterattack. This consists of emphasizing some of the more famous cases of abortions obtained by well-known people for true personal convenience and purely selfish reasons. If a pro-lifer describes these situations and then asks a pro-abort whether or not these abortions are justified, the pro-abort will be compelled by his philosophy to either reply in the affirmative or ignore the question. This will reveal him to be either a true fanatic or completely close-minded.

At least two examples of well-documented trivial abortion cases come readily to mind.

The first of these was described in the litigation Conn v. Conn, which was the first pure 'father's rights' litigation brought to the attention of the Supreme Court of the United States. Erin Andrew Conn of Elkhart, Indiana, won a court order in June 1988 barring his wife from having an abortion. She defied the court injunction and the wishes of the father of her preborn child and obtained an abortion with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. Her lawyer, Richard A. Waples of the Indiana ACLU, stated in legal papers that "She did what she had to do to protect both her physical and emotional health." Sounds like a pretty serious reason to get an abortion, doesn't it?

In reality, court documents showed that she had the abortion because she had planned a trip to the beach and wanted to look good in her new bathing suit![7]

In the other case, European investigators discovered a hideous and widespread practice among female track and field athletes. Coaches and trainers without a trace of morals found that early pregnancy would actually enhance the athletic performance of their female competitors in many events. Therefore, the women would be artificially inseminated by their coaches, would compete in their events at anywhere from five to seven weeks of pregnancy, and would then travel en masse to local abortion mills to kill their preborn children.

Gynecology professor Renate Hoch of Geneva said "The problem has become so widespread now that my colleagues and I last week made a rule never to help a woman athlete if she wants to get pregnant purely and simply to win a race."[8]

The London newspaper Sunday Mirror reported that "Success-hungry women competitors are now improving their performances by deliberately becoming pregnant and then having abortions," and quoted Finnish sports medicine expert Dr. Risto Erkola: "It's horrible and immoral. Now that drug testing is routine, pregnancy is becoming the favorite way of getting an edge on competitors."[8]

Contrast this practice to the position taken by many pro-abortionists, reflected in Anne Gaylor's amazingly-named book Abortion is a Blessing: "No woman ever gets pregnant in order to have an abortion."[9]


[A medium text size on your computer's 'view' setting is recommended, otherwise, the tables may be discombobulated.]

                                                                                                 Abortions Per
                    Legal           [Legal Abortion Percentages*]      1,000 Women
Year          Abortions          All          White    Minority          Aged 15 to 44

1965                7,000           0.2%                                                        0.2
1966                9,500           0.3%                                                        0.2
1967              13,700           0.4%                                                        0.3
1968              18,000           0.6%                                                        0.4
1969              73,000           1.8%                                                        1.5
1970            193,500           4.0%        3.4%       17.6%                       3.9
1971            485,800         10.8%        7.1%       20.1%                       8.0
1972            586,800         13.5%        9.4%       22.0%                     13.2
1973            744,600         15.3%       11.9%      27.9%                     16.7
1974            898,600         18.0%       14.4%      33.7%                     19.1
1975         1,034,200         23.9%       16.6%      38.8%                     21.7
1976         1,179,300         26.5%       18.9%      44.3%                     24.2
1977         1,316,700         28.6%       20.9%      49.0%                     26.4
1978         1,409,400         29.2%       22.6%      52.9%                     27.7
1979         1,497,700         29.6%       24.0%      56.2%                     28.8
1980         1,553,900         30.0%       24.4%      55.6%                     29.3
1981         1,577,300         30.0%       24.4%      55.9%                     29.3
1982         1,573,900         30.0%       23.8%      55.5%                     28.8
1983         1,575,000         30.4%       23.4%      55.5%                     28.5
1984         1,577,200         29.7%       23.1%      55.8%                     28.1
1985         1,588,100         29.8%       22.7%      57.7%                     28.0
1986         1,475,000         27.9%       22.5%      57.0%                     27.2
1987         1,510,000         29.1%       22.8%      58.5%                     27.6
1988         1,540,000         29.4%       23.5%      59.6%                     28.1
1989         1,520,000         29.9%       22.4%      57.8%                     27.9
1990         1,535,000         28.9%       22.7%      57.9%                     27.8
1991         1,545,000         28.8%       22.6%      58.5%                     27.6
1992         1,540,000         28.5%       23.3%       59.1%                    27.4
28 YRS  29,578,200        26.1%       23.3%      56.6%                   25. 6

NOTE: * = Percentage of all pregnancies ending in abortion.

References: United States Bureau of Commerce, Department of the Census. National Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States. 1990, 110th edition. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. Table 101, "Legal Abortions, By Selected Characteristics: 1973 to 1985." Also: annual statistics from the Centers for Disease Control Abortion Surveillance Unit and the Alan Guttmacher Institute in the Alan Guttmacher Institute's Family Planning Perspectives.



Reference: United States Bureau of Commerce, Department of the Census. National Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States. 1990, 110th edition. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. Table 101, "Legal Abortions, By Selected Characteristics: 1973 to 1985." Also: annual figures from the Centers for Disease Control Abortion Surveillance Unit and the Alan Guttmacher Institute appearing in Planned Parenthood/Alan Guttmacher Institute's publication Family Planning Perspectives.


   (all numbers in thousands)
YEAR    1980    1981    1982    1983    1984    1985    1986   1987    1988   Percents

              1,554   1,577   1,574   1,575   1,577   1,588   1,475   1,510   1,540   100.0%

Age of Women
  <15          15       15       15       16       16       17       16       18       18       1.0%
  15-19     445      433      419      411     405      411     368     402      411      26.3%
  20-24     549      555      552      547     562      572     542     519      533      35.5%
  25-29     304      316      326      328     332      319     299     315      314      20.2%
  30-34     153      167      168      172     167      170     159     161      165      10.8%
  35-39       67        70        73        78       74        77       72       75        78        4.9%
    40+        21        21        21        21       21        22       19       20        21        1.3%

Race of Women
   White  1,094  1,108   1,095    1,084  1,079    1,066      998 1,003   1,029    68.3%
   Minority 460      470      479      491     498       522      477     507     511    31.7%

Marital Status
   Married 320      299      300      295      303      295      277     288      275    18.9%
   Single 1,234   1,279   1,274    1,280  1,274    1,293   1,198 1,222   1,265    80.1%

Prior Births
   None     900      912      903      890      886      894      807     828     830     56.4%
   One       305      312      321      329      338      335      319     323     330     20.8%
   Two      216      220      222      228      219      225       221     231     241    14.4%
   Three       83       85        82         83       88         90        82      85        92      5.5%
   Four+      51        49        46        45       46         44        46       43       47      2.9%

Prior Abortions
   None  1,043   1,023      994      964      944      942      809     841     845    59.9%
   One       373      390      398      406      411      415      426     431     445    26.5%
   Two+    138      165      182      205      222       231      240    238     250    13.6%

Weeks of Gestation
    8-9 wks 800     810      806      792     790       786      694     731     740    49.7%
  9-10 wks 417     424      420      424     430       433      422     414     425    27.3%
  1-12 wks 202     204      205      210     213       220      214     219     223    13.7%
13-26 wks 123     126      129      136     129       134      132     131     136      8.4%
27-40 wks   13       13       14         13       15         15        13       15       16      0.9%

References. United States Bureau of Commerce, Department of the Census. National Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States. 1990, 110th edition. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. Table 101, "Legal Abortions, By Selected Characteristics: 1973 to 1985." Also: Alan Guttmacher Institute and Center for Disease Control Abortion Surveillance Unit annual reports.


AVERAGE ANNUAL ABORTIONS, 1981 to 1990   1,550,000       100%
   Women not using contraception
      (abortion as birth control)                                           555,000         37%
   Failed contraception                                                      995,000         63%
   Unmarried                                                                  1,255,500         81%
   Married                                                                         294,500         19%
   First trimester (1-13 weeks)                                       1,395,000         90%
   Second trimester (14-26 weeks)                                   139,500          9%
   Third trimester (27-40 weeks)                                         15,500          1%
   To save the mother's life or health[3]                                  2,050        0.13%
   For rape and incest[4]                                                          980        0.07%
   For fetal birth defects[5]                                                    3,750        0.24%
   For girls under 15 years old[2]                                         15,500       1.00%
   For women over 40 years old[2]                                     20,150        1.30%
   Total 'hard cases'                                                            42,430        2.74%
   Non-Medically Indicated Abortions                            1,507,570      97.26%

Notes. [1] Planned Parenthood and various government agencies vary somewhat in their estimates, but generally agree that there are about two million contraceptive failures in the United States every year. About half of these women abort. For more detailed statistics and information on contraceptive failure rates, see Chapter 99 of Volume III, "Contraceptive Use and Effectiveness." [2] United States Bureau of Commerce, Department of the Census. National Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States. 1990, 110th edition. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. Table 101, "Legal Abortions, By Selected Characteristics: 1973 to 1985." Also: Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) annual reports. [3] Based on the very liberal standards used by the Hyde Amendment. This amendment covered poor women (about 20 percent of all women), and paid for a total of 811 abortions to save the mother's life in Fiscal Years 1983 to 1984. Assuming that such a ratio would apply to all women, the total number of abortions performed all over the country to save the mother's life would be about 2,050 per year. This figure includes abortions for serious health problems. For more detailed information, see Chapter 59, "Maternal Deaths Due to Abortion," and Chapter 51, "Health Indications for Abortion." [4] Assumes all rapes and incests resulting in pregnancy are aborted, and that as many pregnancies are caused by incest as by rape. For supporting calculations, see Chapter 79, "Rape and Incest Exceptions for Abortion." [5] David A. Grimes, M.D. "Second-Trimester Abortions in the United States." Alan Guttmacher Institute's Family Planning Perspectives, November/December 1984. Dr. Grimes quotes a range of from 1,500 to 3,750 abortions per year for serious birth defects. This agrees with an empirical solution; i.e., the average maternal age is 26 years. For this age, an average of one in 769 pregnancies results in a child with a serious or debilitating birth defect, including Down Syndrome, Trisomy-13 and Trisomy-18, and sickle cell anemia. Many babies with such birth defects are born, but are offset by a similar number of healthy babies aborted due to 'false positive' genetic tests. This would result in a figure of about 2,000 eugenic abortions per year. For further information and statistics, see Chapter 38, "Risks of Birth Defects."


(From Figure 87-4: Annual Averages, 1980 to 1988)

Birth defects (eugenic abortions)                              3,750
Life or physical health of the mother                         2,050
Rape and incest                                                         855


ABORTION                                                  1,570,000
ALL HEART DISEASES                                 980,000
ALL CANCERS                                              510,000 
ALL OTHER CAUSES                                    460,000
ALL LUNG DISEASES                                   160,000
ALL ACCIDENTS                                           100,000

Note. (*) "All other causes" includes, among many other causes of death, murder, suicide, septicemia, congenital abnormalities, AIDS, ulcers, tuberculosis, meningitis, and hepatitis.

Reference: United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Reference Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. 1990 (110th Edition). Table 115, "Deaths and Death Rates, By Selected Causes: 1970 to 1988."


Rank Cause of Death                     in 1988                   Abortion Causes:

1 Abortion                                     1,540,000
2 Ischemic heart diseases                  511,100                 3 times as many deaths
3 Cerebrovascular diseases               150,300               10 times as many deaths
4 Lung cancer                                   140,800               11 times as many deaths
5 Stomach/peritoneum cancer            116,600              13 times as many deaths
6 Pneumonia                                       75,400               20 times as many deaths
7 Cancer of the genital organs             53,700                29 times as many deaths
8 Motor vehicle accidents                   50,100                31 times as many deaths
9 Breast cancer                                  43,000                36 times as many deaths
10 Diabetes mellitus                            39,600               39 times as many deaths
11 Suicide                                          30,300               51 times as many deaths
12 Cirrhosis/liver diseases                   26,100               59 times as many deaths
13 Atherosclerosis                              23,700               65 times as many deaths
14 Hypertensive heart diseases           22,900               67 times as many deaths
15 Homicide (murder/manslaughter)    22,200               69 times as many deaths
16 Nephritis/nephrosis                        21,900               70 times as many deaths
17 Septicemia                                     20,900               74 times as many deaths
18 AIDS                                            19,886               77 times as many deaths
19 Cancers of the urinary tract            19,400               79 times as many deaths
20 Leukemia                                      17,400               89 times as many deaths
21 Emphysema                                   15,800               97 times as many deaths
22 Congenital abnormalities                12,800             120 times as many deaths
                  .                          .                               .                          .
                  .                          .                               .                          .
                  .                          .                               .                          .
31 SIDS                                              5,230             295 times as many deaths
68 Airplane crashes                             1,145          1,345 times as many deaths

Reference: United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Reference Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. 1990 (110th Edition), 991 pages. Table 115, "Deaths and Death Rates, By Selected Causes: 1970 to 1988."


                                                              GOVERNMENT SURVEYS
                                 Louisiana      Pennsylvania     Japan         Totals
Reason Given        1975-1988 [A]  1983-1984 [B]   1969 [C] 
  By Woman

Mother's life/health            863                  58               630       1,551    (0.18%)
Fetal deformity                  103                                  1,826       1,929    (0.22%)
Rape or incest                    46                    5                221          272    (0.03%)
Mother's mental health 114,231          22,756         741,774   878,761 (99.57%)

TOTALS                    115,243          22,819          744,451  882,543 (100.0%)


"Women seek out abortionists for a wide variety of reasons. In my 50 years of practice I have found that women seeking termination of pregnancy fall into the following categories:

1. Relatively young, married women who, already, have more children than they and their husbands feel they can afford.

2. Married women, past 40, who already have large families and are either too weary or too poor to take on additional burdens.

3. Married women past 40 who fear the rigors of child bearing in their later years and the responsibility of caring for a child.

4. Married women whose husbands have been away overseas. Hundreds of such women came to me during the Korean war.

5. Divorcees or widows. Such women believe the encumbrance of a child would tend to limit their opportunities for remarriage.

6. Unmarried women, including young girls.

7. Women, usually married, who have had difficult birth experiences in the past and feel they cannot endure them again.

8. Women who have already given birth to defective children and who have been warned by doctors against further pregnancies.

"Fear is the underlying factor for virtually every woman who ever came to me for an abortion. Until very recently, the unwed mother has feared the dishonor, the disgrace and social stigma attendant upon bearing an illegitimate child ..."


Reason Given By Woman (more than one may be given) Percent

I'm concerned about how a baby would change my life 76%
I can't afford a baby right now 68%
I have problems with my relationship 51%
I want to avoid single parenthood 51%
I don't want others to know I was having premarital sex 31%
I'm not ready for the responsibility 31%
I'm not mature enough to have a baby 30%
I have all the children I want 26%
My husband or boyfriend wants me to abort 23%
The baby has a possible health problem 13%
My health is not good enough to have a baby 7%
My parents want me to abort 7%
I am a victim of rape or incest 1%

NOTES. [A] In Louisiana, the abortionist must fill out a form entitled "Report of Induced Termination of Pregnancy" (Form #PHS 16-ab) for every abortion he performs. The form notes at the top that "Failure to complete and file this form is a crime." Item 9d on this form is entitled "Reason for Pregnancy Termination." The Office of Public Health of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals compiles these statistics. Over the 14-year period 1975 to 1988, 202,135 abortions were performed in Louisiana. Of these, the reasons were listed for 115,243 of them. The reasons for these abortions are listed above. [B] The Pennsylvania study statistics were contained in a February 24, 1986 letter from Walter W. Cohen, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Post Office Box 2675, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105, telephone: (717) 787-2600, to Representative Stephen F. Freind, House of Representatives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120. [C] The Japanese study statistics were contained in a paper written by Yokichi Hayasaka, M.D., et.al., entitled "Japan's 22 Year Experience With a Liberal Abortion Law," presented at the XIIth International Conference of FIAMC (International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations) in Washington, D.C., Shoreham Hotel, October 11 to 14, 1970. The original data was extracted from the Japanese Ministry of Welfare's Bureau of Statistics "Eugenic Protection Statistical Report 1969," June 1970, page 24. [D] More than one reason may be given by each respondent. Aida Torres, speaking at the 1990 annual meeting of the Association of Reproductive Health Officials (formerly the Association of Planned Parenthood Professionals) released the results of an Alan Guttmacher Institute survey of 1,900 women in 38 states who were waiting for abortions. These women filled out a form asking them why they were obtaining abortions. This survey is described in Aida Torres and Jacqueline Darroch Forrest. "Why Do Women Have Abortions?" Alan Guttmacher Institute/Planned Parenthood's Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1988, pages 169 to 176. [E] Ruth Barnett. They Weep On My Doorstep. Beaverton, Oregon: Halo Publishers, 1969, pages 114 and 115.

Example Word Pictures.

The Vietnam Memorial.

A pro-life debater might get his audience thinking by asking how many of them have visited the National Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. He can describe the Memorial as a black wall that stretches 492 feet and lists the names of the 58,022 known Americans killed in that war.

He may then go on to say that, if such a wall listed the names of the 30 million babies who have been legally killed by abortion in the United States, it would be fifty miles long!

And a wall that commemorated the one billion preborns wiped out by abortion worldwide in the last 25 years would stretch 1,606 miles long enough to reach from Kansas City to Boston.

AIDS Quilts.

AIDS activists have recently been making big media splashes with their 'AIDS quilts' that commemorate friends and relatives that have died of the disease. In some cases, hundreds of these 3 foot by 6 foot quilts have been laid next to each other and have covered an area the size of a football field. In one widely-publicized event, several thousand quilts covered a large area of the Ellipse in Washington, D.C.

Imagine the size of the quilt collection if each of the 30 million babies our country has aborted had one made for him or her! These quilts would not only cover a single football field, they would cover every one of the more than 17,000 professional, college, and high school football fields in the entire country.

And every week we add enough quilts for unborn babies who are killed by abortion to cover every National Football League stadium in the country.

If all of the quilts were gathered in one place and attached to each other, they would weigh more than 60,000 tons and would cover an area of more than 16 square miles and would create a feature that could easily be seen from space with the naked eye. If this quilt were to be transported, it would have to be carried on more than 3,000 semi-trailer flatbeds in a convoy a hundred miles long.

If a quilt was made for all of the preborn babies killed by abortion in the world since 1967, it would be a two and a half million ton monstrosity that would cover a land area of 645 square miles. Every square foot of this enormous area would be stitched with pictures of babies, children, and adults that never were; the contributions they all made to society, some of which would change the world; and details about their loves, lives, and personalities.

Joining Hands.

If the 30 million babies aborted in the United States had been allowed their births and had grown up, then if they had got together to hold hands, the resulting line would stretch around the world at the Equator more than 30,000 miles!

The Dead States.

Our country has killed a vast number of children equivalent to the combined populations of 14 states: Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. It is riveting to display a map of the United States with all of these States blacked out. This gives an audience some idea of the colossal magnitude of the abortion disaster.

Accidents and Abortions.

Americans kill more children every year than the number of all people who die of all cancers and heart and lung diseases. More than 100,000 Americans are killed in all accidents every year but we deliberately kill fifteen times that many children every year in our abortuaries.

Speaking of accidents, a community would mourn for months if a school bus packed with 50 children crashed and burned, killing everyone inside. But every hour the abortion mills in this country are operating (say 60 hours per week), it is equivalent, in terms of lives lost, to having a school bus full of children crash every six minutes! A pro-life debater might also want to tailor this image to apply to a particular local abortuary.

The Twilight Zones.

The number of women who obtain abortions every year in this country would fill to capacity every seat in every National Football League (NFL) stadium in the country simultaneously. By contrast, the number of women who get abortions for rape or incest would be able to stand in one end zone with plenty of room to spare! Additionally, the number of women who obtain abortions to save their own lives would only fill the bench on one side of the field.

The "Marching Aborted."

Population alarmists sometimes refer to "the marching Chinese," by which they mean that the population of the People's Republic of China is increasing so fast (20 million per year) that the Chinese could march three abreast past a single point and never have the same person pass twice.

This concept could be adapted to illustrate a parallel concept: "The marching aborted." There are about 55 million abortions committed all over the world annually. If these children marched past one point continuously, they would be five abreast.

For Computer Geeks Only.


The amount of information in any single cell of the human body is prodigious. Therefore, it is very useful to describe this kind of information to an audience or person that is technically-oriented, because abortion might be seen as a type of 'information wastage.'

If a person attempts to describe the volume of data contained in an early preborn human being in terms of 'megabytes' or 'gigabytes' he is usually met by an uncomprehending stare, even from those who understand the dimensions of such words.

Therefore, it is very revealing to compare the amount of information in a single human cell to that found in a standard that virtually everyone is familiar with: The Encyclopedia Britannica. Anyone who owns the current set of the Encyclopedia has at his fingertips about 30,500 pages and 27.5 million words of information in 33 bound volumes. This is an amount of information equivalent to about 300 megabytes.

If a person set about reading this set of books at a standard speed of 300 words per minute for a regular 40-hour week, it would take eight months to complete the task.

The following paragraphs compare the amount of information found in the human cell and the developing preborn to that in the Encyclopedia Britannica and other measures of the written word.

The Fertilized Egg.

According to medical and genetic textbooks, the DNA (deoxyriboNucleic acid) in a single fertilized human egg carries as much data as 50 sets of the 33-volume Encyclopedia Britannica.[10]

These fifty sets are equivalent to 1,373,625,000 words which, if typewritten end to end would stretch for 14,453 miles, more than halfway around the world.

For those with an affinity for computers, this is equivalent to about 15,000 megabytes of data. This information would fill 41,700 5-1/4 inch (360 kilobyte) floppy disks, or would make a stack of such disks 280 feet high, about as tall as a thirty-story skyscraper.

If a person read this mountain of information at 300 words a minute for a standard 40-hour week, he could begin on graduation day from college and not finish until retirement at age 58 a total of 37 years!

And all of this data is packed into a two-celled organism barely visible to the unaided human eye.

The Blastocyst.

After conception in the Fallopian tubes, the new human being travels slowly down the tube towards the uterus. Its development has already begun. In fact, by the time the blastocyst has implanted in the uterus, it has undergone eight cell divisions of the 45 required to achieve full adulthood at age 18.

The blastocyst, which consists of about 256 cells, contains as much information as the main library in a large American city. This library would contain more than 3 million volumes with a total of about 350 billion words.

If these books were stacked, they would make a pile fifty miles high. If this information were typewritten in a single line, the line would extend 3.7 million miles, or from here to the moon and back eight times.

For computer freaks, this is 3,840,000 megabytes of information, or 3.84 terabytes.

The Individual at Eight Weeks.

By the time the unborn child is eight weeks old, he weighs 1/30 of an ounce, and is comprised of about one billion cells. He has already undergone 35 of the 45 required cell divisions to achieve adulthood.

The amount of information contained in this baby's body is almost incomprehensible. It is equivalent to 1.4 billion billion words, or a typewritten line 15,467 billion miles long, enough to reach four light years to Proximus Centauri, the star closest to our Sun. It is equal to 15 million terabytes, or 15 million million megabytes.

How great is this amount of information?

It is equal to every word spoken by every one of the more than 100 billion human beings who have walked this earth since the time of Adam and Eve; PLUS every written word in every copy of every book, newspaper, magazine, periodical, newsletter, love letter, and communication of every description that has ever existed on this earth.

And yet this unspeakably miraculous body is torn apart 200,000 times a day, all over the world, and is flushed into sewers all over the planet as garbage by abortionists and mothers who could not care less about God or the miracles He creates.

Useful Figures.

The three volumes of The Pro-Life Activist's Encyclopedia contain more than 150 figures dealing with abortion statistics. These will help a pro-life debater formulate 'word pictures' on the various aspects of abortion. They may also serve as the basis of slides or transparencies that may be used effectively in a debate or presentation.

Some of the illustrative figures in the Encyclopedia are in the chapters listed below. A complete listing of all figures is contained in Appendix E of Volume III.


Chapter 41, "Child Abuse and Abortion:" The rising tide of child abuse in the United States.

Chapter 48, "Demographic Effects of Abortion:" The effect of legalized abortion on United States population age distribution.

Chapter 51, "Health Exceptions:" How rare health-indicated abortions really are.

Chapter 57, "International Situation:" Annual world legal abortions, 1967-1988.

Chapter 59, "Maternal Deaths and Abortion:" Annual maternal deaths caused by abortion in the United States, 1972-1984.

Chapter 60, "Medicaid Funding of Abortion:" Abortion statistics by state and the effects of abortion funding.

Chapter 78, "Racism of Abortion:" United States legal abortion ratios by race, and the racial distribution of the United States population, 1880-2090.

Chapter 79, "Rape and Incest Exceptions:" Pregnancies and abortions caused by rape.

Chapter 88, "Suicide By Teenagers:" Annual suicides among teenagers and young adults in the United States, 1960-1988.

Chapter 99 of Volume III, "Contraceptive Use and Effectiveness:" Estimated number of annual contraceptive failures in the United States.

Chapter 123 of Volume III, "Just War Theory:" Costs of United States wars in terms of dollars and human lives, including the war on the unborn.

Reference: United States Abortion Statistics.

[1] Looseleaf booklet entitled "Organizing for Action." Prepared by Vicki Z. Kaplan for the National Abortion Rights Action League, 250 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10019. 51 pages, no date. Pages 30 and 31, "Introduction to Debating."

[2] Ruth Barnett. They Weep On My Doorstep. Beaverton, Oregon: Halo Publishers, 1969, page 49.

[3] "Let's Tell the Truth About Abortion." Pamphlet distributed by Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood. 1985, 22 pages. Fight Back Press, Post Office Box 61421, Denver, Colorado 80206. Page 7.

[4] Minnesota abortionist Jane Hodgeson, quoted in Human Life International Special Report no. 83, August 1991, pages 6 and 7.

[5] Peter Steinfels. "New Voice, Same Words on Abortion." The New York Times, November 20, 1990, page A10.

[6] Quoted from the May 22, 1985 Congressional Record and quoted in "Wimps of the Week," The Review of the NEWS, July 3, 1985, pages 55 and 56.

[7] In re Unborn Baby H., No. 84C01 8804JP185, slip opinion at 1-2 (Vigo County, Indiana Circuit Court, April 8, 1988). Also see "Woman Defies Court, Father, Aborts Child." Washington Times, April 15, 1988.

[8] "Pregnancy Ploy Draws Criticism." The Spokane, Washington Spokesman-Review. May 23, 1988, page C2. Also see "No Moral Compass." Our Sunday Visitor, June 5, 1988, and "Women Athletes Using Pregnancy to Gain Strength." San Francisco Examiner, May 23, 1988.

[9] Anne Nicol Gaylor. Abortion is a Blessing. New York, New York: Psychological Dimensions, Inc. 1975, 124 pages. Page 88.

[10] Dennis J. Horan. Villanova Law Review, February 1977. The total amount of information communicated since Adam and Eve were created has been transmitted in the form of about 12 billion hardback and softback volumes averaging 180 pages and 55,000 words apiece; 500 billion newspapers, magazines, periodicals and newsletters of every description, each averaging 45 pages and 25,000 words; and 100 billion people having spoken an average of 7,500 words per day for an average 45-year lifespan.

Further Reading: United States Abortion Statistics.

Alan Guttmacher Institute. Pregnancy, Contraception & Family Planning Services in Industrialized Countries
Authors: Elise F. Jones, Jacqueline Darroch Forrest, Stanley K. Henshaw, Jane Silverman, and Aida Torres. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. 1989, 273 pages. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, examines statistics and culture in four countries (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands) in an effort to find out why unplanned pregnancy and abortion rates are so variable among societies that have so many similarities.

United States Bureau of Commerce, Department of the Census. National Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States
1990, 110th edition, 956 pages, softback, hardback. May be ordered from any Department of Commerce district office or from the Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, telephone: (202) 783-3238. This book has absolutely every statistic you could possibly want to know about United States citizens. A very enjoyable book just to browse through. An absolute must for stat rats and info-maniacs.

Nancy Michels. Helping Women Recover From Abortion
Bethany House Publishers, 6820 Auto Club Road, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55438. 1988, 192 pages. This excellent book is packed with references and statistics and quotes from studies that deal with why women have abortions, the impacts of abortion, and how abortion stresses can be healed. One chapter deals with the impacts of abortion on siblings and fathers.

Emily Campbell Moore-Cavar. International Inventory of Information on Induced Abortion
International Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, Columbia University, 1974. 656 pages. An outdated, but still interesting work of more than 800 pages on the early history of abortion in North America and Europe. Also contains more than two hundred pages on public attitudes toward abortion.

© American Life League BBS — 1-703-659-7111

This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist’s Encyclopedia published by American Life League.