It’s the time of year when thoughts turn more concertedly to the ongoing tragedy – and travesty – of abortion. Activists count back to the January 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade and produce new calculations on how many lives have been ended prematurely through the deliberate choice of their mothers—and with the often enthusiastic cooperation of medical professionals who have found their own ways of reconciling the destruction of life with their Hippocratic oath. (The latest addition tells us that a number roughly equivalent to the population of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Arizona has been subtracted from the human race.)
Partisans of “a woman’s right to choose” rejoice, taking shelter in the assertion that the decision to abort a child is a personal one, between a mother and … well, really, no one. A father’s rights are no longer any more sacred than the life in the mother’s womb, parents are often legally required to stand aside, and doctors these days are on hand less to offer medical counsel than to facilitate the mechanics or chemistry of destruction.
On that score: chemistry is rapidly trumping mechanics, as the efficiency of the abortionists grows. Planned Parenthood is making new fortunes in blood money through the increasingly widespread use of “tele-med” abortions, which negate the presence or participation of medical staff. An expectant mother simply steps into a room, confirms to a doctor via a video chat her determination to abort, follows his directions to press a specific button, and – voila! – a drawer pops open with two pills inside. “Take one now and one tomorrow,” the doctor says. No muss, no fuss … no baby.
Such simplicities make it easier for the body count to accumulate, and there, too, the abortionists are at an advantage, for as Joseph Stalin reminded us, “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” The more babies that die, the less unbearable the death of one more … a hundred more … a thousand more becomes. Abortionists know better than most that nothing succeeds like excess.
Stalin, though, had nothing on Shannon Dea, co-president of Planned Parenthood’s Waterloo Region, in Canada, who recently declared that “Medical science is irrelevant to the question of when a fetus becomes a human being – that matter is a legal and philosophical one, not a medical one.” But what, exactly, is to be gained by wading into debate with those who deem undeniable truth – and even facts – irrelevant?
Nothing, likely. But for the general benefit, let us consider one particular philosophical implication of all those lives, quenched in the womb. The roughly 53 million children aborted since 1973 equals about 17 percent of America’s current 312 million-plus population. Nearly one-fifth of us, simply taken out of the equation … the equation being our culture, our communities, our daily interactions, our myriad accomplishments as a people.
How would any of us begin to estimate the cost of losing not just the lives, but the extraordinary impact of one-fifth of our nation’s people? What diseases have gone untreated because the mind that could have isolated the necessary bacteria or virus never lived to see a laboratory?
Across those two lost generations, what outstanding leaders of business or industry, what eloquent voices of religion or politics, have been forfeited to a mother’s choice? What paradigm-shifting ideas and insights … what soul-stirring art and music and language … what heroic explorations and athletic accomplishments have never transpired because the unique imaginations and wills and endurances that would have achieved them were vacuumed from a woman’s womb?
How many of those aborted had within them the one-of-a-kind vision that might have accomplished peace … rolled back poverty … broken down racism … staved off tyrants and terrorists … translated, transformed, transcended some aspect of our civilization in a way no one ever had before?
A mind like Einstein’s … the eloquence of Martin Luther King, Jr. … the wisdom of Washington … the physical grace of Baryshnikov … these come along maybe once or twice in a generation. In our arrogance and near-sightedness, did we forfeit our most gifted ones to the expediencies of a self-centered, sex-obsessed culture?
We may never know – but we can wonder. In city after city, as child after child is destroyed without coming to fruition, what are we costing ourselves – and our own children and grandchildren? The abortionists are half right: abortion is as personal as a decision gets.
But it’s about far more – so very, very much more – than any woman’s “right to choose.”
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.