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Numb numbers

Commentary from American Life League president Judie Brown

As a society, we love to count things. In fact, we count almost anything that can be counted. Whenever there are a lot of things to count, official counters seem to pop up, and shout out to the media whenever they've completed a new count – and it's always headline news, whether it's housing starts, unemployment claims, car sales, import/export tonnage … or abortions.

Every year, the official abortion counters file their own specialized set of statistics. This year's numbers were just released, and we are told that the abortion rate is at its lowest point since 1976.

That's got to be good news, right? Abortion is going down!

But – not so fast.

Counters beware; there could be a couple of zingers in this report, factors that don't immediately meet the eye.

For one thing, the source of these numbers is the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The group collects all kinds of abortion-related information and cranks out many types of reports. But after observing this outfit for many years now, it seems to me the release of this material is never random or haphazard. These releases are usually timed to coincide with an issue where Planned Parenthood has a stake in the outcome – legislation involving funding for so-called family planning programs in many instances, or in this case, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice.

If you thought it was a coincidence that the latest abortion numbers came to the public's attention one day prior to President Bush's July 20 announcement regarding Judge John Roberts, let me assure you that this is not the case.

The Guttmacher Institute is far too sensitive to political timing to do nearly anything accidentally, including being totally honest about facts, figures and findings. Let me offer some examples. Guttmacher can't just present a lower abortion figure; it must offer conjecture as to reasons why the death count is dropping:

  • One scientist opines that the changes in contraceptive technologies and use over the years could account for the declining number of surgical abortions.
  • An assertion that access to abortion is not as readily available to women these days is a purported second reason for the decline in the numbers.
  • The fact that not all states report surgical abortions uniformly is a third reason cited for the decline.

Setting aside the AGI "reasons," there's something missing in the report that, to my mind, exposes the blatantly ideological skew the numbers provide. Nowhere in the report does there appear a clear definition of what abortion actually is.

So before we have a celebration because "abortion rates are the lowest ever," we should take a look at this report under the microscope of logic.

Abortion is an action (or the result of an action) that results in the intended death of an innocent human being. Abortion can occur because surgical instruments were used, or because a combination of chemicals were used, or because a particular method of birth control caused the starvation death of the embryonic human being, or because an in vitro fertilization lab "created" more human beings than needed, and discarded those who failed to meet quality control standards.

In other words, intended abortion occurs in numerous ways. In each case above, abortion is intended, and the result is a death.

Unintended abortion never enters this discussion. If the human infant dies naturally because of a problem that prevents him from growing, that alone is called a miscarriage. Planned Parenthood never estimates miscarriage rates or attempts to tell us much about them. There's no client fee involved with the loss of a child under natural circumstances.

So when the report was issued on July 19 of this year, it dealt overwhelmingly with only one type of abortion – the surgical abortion procedure. If surgical terminations are on the decline in America, it may be because of the fact that the abortion industry has come up with certain medical techniques – "medication abortions," as Guttmacher calls them – that employ the use of a combination of chemicals such as mifepristone (a.k.a. RU-486), plus misoprostol.

The Guttmacher web site mentions, "about 37,000 medication abortions were performed in the first half of 2001." That, of course, is an approximation. We have no idea of knowing exactly how many lives have truly been lost to "medication abortions" being done throughout the nation, yet not reported in Guttmacher's pages.

When we get to chemical abortions, which can be caused by any of the most popular forms of birth control including the pill, the morning-after pill or the IUD, a certain finesse comes into play. The abortion advocates long ago decided to simply define the beginning of pregnancy as eight days later than it actually occurs (when the newly-formed human embryo implants in the wall of the mother's uterus).

These purported experts flatly deny the fact that pregnancy begins when the human being begins at conception/fertilization. They have chosen to ignore science, common sense and human embryology so that they can lie. They tell patients that the particular chemical they are using does not cause abortion. With a straight face they describe a totally false scenario regarding the beginning of pregnancy.

There is no way they would admit this. Furthermore, there is no proper way to calculate the actual number of abortions caused by these chemicals. Various experts in pharmacology and embryology have estimated chemical abortion numbers, but nobody really knows precisely how many little boys and girls die because their moms use the pill, the patch, the Depo-Provera shot, etc. Sad but true. But none of these lost lives ever make it to the Alan Guttmacher Institute's annual notebook of statistics.

The laboratory abortions done in test-tube baby clinics across the land are denied in the same way. Human beings are treated like products in such places. Little ones created in a petri dish are often summarily trashed. The discards are refuse that require elimination; and their own parents allegedly donate these candidates for deadly research and experimentation. Either way, the little ones die quietly, unobtrusively, but die nonetheless. Yet the records of their deaths are nowhere to be found in the Alan Guttmacher reports.

You see, the numbers are numb. They are devoid of fact; they are free of substantiation; they are merely a fabrication – a figment of the death culture's imagination. They are numbers created by people who have grown increasingly insensitive to the reality of what one abortion does to one innocent human being. They are callous toward the target of the act; they are deadened to the horror that makes America with greater frequency the land of the dead rather than the land of the free.

The nation is numb – numbed into passivity, demanding nothing from a Congress that is also numb, disinterested in getting into the actual facts at hand so that appropriate action can be taken to rid the nation of this tragedy.

Numbers can do many things; they can be used to inform, certainly, but they can also be used to deceive. So the next time people tell you the abortion rate is down, ask them to sit down for a minute and listen to the truth.

Release issued: 5 Aug 05