Only a day away from the Holy Innocents, the senseless slaughter of the youngest first born males of Bethlehem by demonic Herod, we find ourselves poised to begin the New Year with an anniversary of sorts -- Roe v. Wade. This is surely about more than a court decision though it is certainly about that. We cannot discount the tear in the ethical and political fabric of America when a foolish and arrogant Supreme Court (let us not forget Justice Blackman) decided to take this issue away from the public and legislative process and impose their morality upon us. But the truth is that the Court hastened what would surely have come on its own, eventually, because we were already moving toward the idea of sex which has neither consequences nor morality -- at least not any more than any other legalized pleasure available to us.
I am struck as we approach 2011 just how far the culture has come on this and yet how bitterly divisive this issue remains. On one hand, we have had a steady number of abortions each year (1.2-1.4 million abortions each year). It has brought the culture of death very close to us with some 46+ million or more abortions performed since the procedure became "legal" in 1973 (to get a perspective on that number, it is about the number of worldwide abortions each year and more than the entire population of such nations as South Korea, Ukraine, Columbia, South Africa, Spain, Argentina, Poland and Canada, to name a few).
A snapshot of abortion facts shows:
- Nearly half of all pregnancies to American women are unintended; four in 10 of these end in abortion.
- About half of American women have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and at current rates more than one-third (35%) will have had an abortion by age 45.
- Overall unintended pregnancy rates have stagnated over the past decade, yet unintended pregnancy increased by 29% among poor women while decreasing 20% among higher-income women.
- The number of abortions has declined slightly over the years; in 2005, for example, 1.21 million abortions were performed, down from 1.31 million abortions in 2000.
- Nine in 10 abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
- A broad cross section of U.S. women have abortions:
- 56% of women having abortions are in their 20s;
- 61% have one or more children;
- 67% have never married;
- 57% are economically disadvantaged;
- 88% live in a metropolitan area; and
- 78% report a religious affiliation;
- Black women are 3 times more likely to have an abortion than white women;
- Hispanic women are twice as likely to have an abortion as white women;
- 48% of all abortion facilities provide services after the 12th week of pregnancy; 9 in 10 managed care plans routinely cover abortion or provide limited coverage. About 14% of all abortions in the United States are paid for with public funds, virtually all of which are state funds. 16 states (CA, CT, HI, ED, IL, MA , MD, MD, MN, MT, NJ, NM, NY, OR, VT, WA and WV) pay for abortions for some poor women.