Publisher's Note: One of the most significant things you can do to promote Liberty is to support our mission. Please make your gift to the 2021 Year-End Campaign today. Thank you! —Mark Alexander, Publisher

Maarten van Swaay / April 21, 2016

Births and Abortions

Some numbers readily available from reputable sources:

U.S. abortions per year: 330,000.
U.S. births per year: 14/1000 –> ~4,500,000.

In other words, about one in 15 pregnancies is terminated by abortion. That fraction would be very hard to explain as a reflection of medical emergencies; much of it is almost certainly ascribable to “choice.” The number 330,000 may not carry much impact, but it amounts to almost 1,000 abortions per day, or about one abortion every 90 seconds. If those abortions are performed during standard 40-hour weekly working hours, there would be almost three abortions per minute.

Reported “intentional homicides” exclude such categories as war casualties and highway fatalities. The data are reported as rates: instances per 100,000 population.

U.S. rate (U.S. total, est.): 2010: 5 (16,000 ); 2011: 5 (16,000); 2012: 4 (12,000).

Countries with reported homicide rates of more than 30 per 100,000 per year: Bahamas, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, South Africa, St-Kitts, Venezuela.

U.S. traffic fatalities: 32,675 in 2014. That number has been above 50,000 for several years during the 1960s and late 1970s, even with a smaller population. From 1962 until 2008 the number only once fell below 40,000.

Data on traffic fatalities and homicides look out of place in a summary about abortion. But they do put some numbers in perspective. The womb is a far more dangerous place than the highway: even though the “womb population” is far smaller than the “highway population,” each year more than 10 times more babies are killed in the womb than people are killed on the highway. Yes, one hears arguments that the unborn are not yet “persons,” and that therefore the word “kill” may be misleading. But if a pregnant woman is killed, the law holds the killer responsible for two homicides, not one.

Abortions also dwarf homicides by a factor of more than 20 in the U.S. The abortion data are unclear about whether they include those produced by “morning-after” interventions. I suspect that those are probably not counted in the reported abortion statistics because they would be much harder to estimate than recorded visits to abortion clinics.

A ratio of abortions over full-term births near 1:15 is very hard to describe in terms of medical emergencies, i.e., unforeseeable accidents. In other words, most abortions are likely to be matters of choice, and not risk. Then it is misleading to label contracts that cover their cost as “insurance”: they have far more in common with subscriptions — a tool to spread episodic costs more uniformly over time. One would expect that subscription rates are set to cover the — predictable — average cost. In other words, with a subscription the customers pay for what they receive, as they should.

But if such contracts are labeled as insurance, and if that insurance is made mandatory, then those costs will be imposed on large groups whose members — by choice — refrain from incurring them. In other words, the many are forced to pay for the choice of the few.

Professor Maarten van Swaay retired from Kansas State University in 1995. He can be reached at [email protected]

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.