January 22, 2014 marks the 41st anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s twin decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which allowed unrestricted abortion on demand, and which have resulted in the tragic deaths of more than 56 million unborn children.
In the intervening years, the right-to-life movement has worked, to the extent possible allowed by the courts, to enact laws that protect unborn children and offer support and life-affirming alternatives to their mothers.
Laws enacted at the state level have helped immensely in reversing the disturbing trend established by Roe and Doe. In 1990, the annual number of abortions reached their peak at just over 1.6 million. Since that time, we have seen that number decrease to just over 1.1 million if current trends continue to bear out in the data. That’s 500,000 lives saved every single year because of laws that actively work to promote life and treat mothers facing an unexpected pregnancy with compassion.
At the federal level, laws like the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, enacted in 2003, and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007, helped raise nationwide awareness to the gruesome and deadly reality of late abortions allowed under Roe and Doe. It is estimated that the Hyde Amendment, named for its original sponsor, the late Rep. Henry J. Hyde of Illinois, which prevents the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortion in the Medicaid program, has saved upwards of one million lives since it was first enacted in 1976.
Abortion remains widely available, but any woman seeking an abortion knows someone close to her who would encourage her NOT to kill her baby. However, she generally doesn’t talk about it because as a society, we still don’t discuss abortion as anything more than an abstract socio-political issue. The act of killing a living member of our human family is still something that, at our core as a society, we abhor. And after years of being told that abortion was “the best choice” or “their only choice,” women are learning that there are alternatives to abortion that affirm their lives and the lives of their children.
This report looks at the current tragic state of abortion in the United States, but the bottom line is simple: the right-to-life movement is succeeding because even after 41 years and more than 56 million abortions, the conscience of our nation knows that killing unborn children is wrong.