Ethics & Religion
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
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
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
Pro-life leaders need to become pro-marriage and pro-adoption leaders as
Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus,
President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. For previous
columns go to
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