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Ethics & Religion
Column #1,898
January 3, 2018
Why Are Abortion Rates Falling?
By Mike McManus

There have been 60 million abortions in the United States since the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in America. That's the bad news.

But there is good news. The number of abortions have fallen significantly - from 1.6 million in 1990 to an estimated 926,000 in 2014, with similar numbers expected for 2015-2016.

What's behind this 42% drop in the annual abortion rate?

First, there has been a tremendous decline in the nation's abortion clinics that have fallen from 2,176 clinics in 1991 - to only 704 in America today. That is a two-thirds plunge!

Second, and more important, I give major credit to 2,764 Pregnancy Counseling Centers - which are helping women consider keeping their child, rather than aborting it.

One group of 1,100 centers is called Care Net that gave free pregnancy tests to 251,000 women in 2016, and administered ultrasound to 126,000 of those women. Ultrasound gives pregnant mothers the opportunity to see their living child in their womb.

Another 489,000 Care Net students received sexual health education and 113,000 clients received Life Skills Parenting Education with a strong Christian perspective.

The women were not charged for these services. However, they were not inexpensive. Care Net's Health Services cost $32.9 million; their emotional and social support required $11.2 million; materials were $6.7 million; and educational services, another $6 million. That's $56.8 million of services given free!

This work was made possible by 30,594 volunteers and 431,100 donors.

One-third of those women were considered at risk for abortion. What's significant is that 74% of them chose Life for their child. Over nine years, Care Net helped save 603,000 lives!

Another network of Pregnancy Counseling Centers is called Heartbeat International. It was organized in 1971, two years before the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, and became the first network of pro-life pregnancy resource centers in the U.S. It supported, strengthened and sparked the creation of 2,000 pregnancy help locations on every inhabited content to give women alternatives to abortion.

Heartbeat is a federation, a loose type of association. Members must adhere to five basic principles, but all other matters of policy and management are up to the local Board of Directors. They are encouraged to use a statement of faith with which they feel comfortable.

By contrast, what became the Care Net centers were more explicitly evangelical prolife organizations.

Heartbeat International is more international in scope. As Matthew 28:19 put it, Jesus said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

In addition to creating 1,300 pregnancy help centers (medical and non-medical), Heartbeat International runs 76 maternity homes, 93 non-profit adoption agencies, abortion recovery efforts and social services. In 2015 they reported serving 628,000 clients.

However, I was unable to learn what percent of women chose life over abortion and how many gave their children up for adoption in Heartbeat centers. Nor could I learn how many of its centers were located in the United States vs. other countries. Heartbeat does not provide data on its budget, as does Care Net.

Nor does Heartbeat report on what percent of those seriously considering abortion, decided not to do so while Care Net reports that three-fourths of such women they worked with decided to keep their baby.

Unquestionably, however, both Heartbeat and Care Net are helping reduce America's abortion rate. They deserve both applause and financial support from people committed to life.

Remember that the number of abortions has plunged from a peak of 1.6 million a year to 924,000 in 2014. Thanks to these prolife organizations, more mothers are giving birth.

Now what's needed are more marriages and more adoptions. Those children deserve more than birth. They ought to have a married mother and father.

Sadly, 1.6 million American babies are born out-of-wedlock. That's 40% of all U.S. births - 20 times higher than the 2% unwed birth rate of Japan! And only 136,000 - less than a tenth of unwed births - are adopted.

Pro-life leaders need to become pro-marriage and pro-adoption leaders as well.

___________________________________

Links:
Care Net:  https://www.care-net.org
Heartbeat International: https://www.heartbeatinternational.org

___________________________________

Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. For previous columns go to  www.ethicsandreligion.org. Hit Search for any topic.

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