March for Life Los Angeles 2022
“If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.” --Joseph Stalin (Comment to Leonard Lyons, Washington Post journalist, 1947)
Each year, my family attends the March for Life in Los Angeles. Despite what news headlines would have us believe, this annual event is not a protest. It is a fundraiser, like walks for cancer or ALS. The goal of the fundraiser is to heighten awareness of the staggering number of abortions that take place in the United States each year. While those who are pro-abortion could argue that there are fringe cases (such as rape, incest, or sex trafficking) that make preserving legalized abortion necessary, the pro-life march focuses on the larger problem: the overwhelming majority of the total abortion cases which are done, not because of rape, incest, or sex trafficking, but simply because the child is unwanted. The legalization/criminalization debate consists of valid concerns on both sides, and hopefully one day we can come to an agreement on a course of action without vilifying each other or destroying innocent lives, especially regarding those fringe cases. However, there is a larger and more pressing problem at the moment. As a society, we need to examine whether we support the termination of life simply because a pregnancy is unwanted.
Playing off of Stalin’s quote above, if only one baby dies due to a miscarriage or soon after birth, that is a tragedy. If millions die due to purposeful termination, that is only statistics. Abortion has become a ‘medical procedure’ in our society, and the staggering numbers are now merely statistics. Not long ago, I witnessed a celebrity speak in praise of her 10-week abortion, saying it allowed her the freedom to further her career. A couple of years later, she publicly mourned the miscarriage of her 8-week-old pregnancy. Although the 10-week-old aborted baby was older in age, it was not called a baby, it was called a clump of cells. The 8-week-old miscarried baby was younger and yet it was not deemed a clump of cells, it was called a baby. It seems that the only deciding factor determining if something was a baby was whether or not it was wanted. The woman’s miscarriage was a tragedy. Her abortion was a statistic.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, over 850,000 abortions took place in the United States in 2017. That is over 2,000 per day, 98 per hour, or one abortion every 37 seconds. According to the American Adoptions website, over 2 million couples are currently on their waiting list to adopt a child. Fitting together the number of families wanting to adopt versus abortions performed, we can see that those 850,000 aborted babies could have been adopted, with another one million parents still left on the waiting list. If we add to this the fact that 81.5 million families have considered adopting a child (40% of adults), this greatly increases the number of families willing to adopt the children of women with unwanted pregnancies.
With the above statistics, we can see that there are plenty of families who can help women with unwanted pregnancies—twice as many than the yearly need calls for, in fact, even with the exclusion of the 81.5 million willing to adopt but not currently on the waiting lists. Keeping this in mind, let’s look at a few other statistics. A simple internet search will pull up Planned Parenthood’s financial data, which change from year to year. To give you an idea of what these Planned Parenthood statistics show, here are some simple numbers. According to recent data, they received over $618 million in government grants, performed 354,871 abortions (6,824 per week), and had only 2,667 adoption referrals (1 in 133 pregnancies). If you take an objective look at all of the numbers, it seems that the nation’s need for saving the lives of babies for adoption is greater than its need for terminating those lives—yet that is not the need that Planned Parenthood is serving. There are a staggering number of families out there that want these babies—more than enough families—yet Planned Parenthood has an extremely low adoption referral rate. Their annual income can give us a clue as to why this may be the case. There is far less money to be made with adoptions. Women are being exploited and their babies sold, essentially. At the same time, a couple million families sit on waiting lists for years in the hopes that they will be able to adopt a child. In addition to these staggering numbers with regard to the babies, there are huge volumes of data concerning the shocking effects of abortion on women’s physical and mental health. That is beyond the scope of this short article but suffice it to say that the pro-life group is concerned for both mother and child.
As Catholics, we know where we stand on this issue, or at least where we should stand. Not everyone agrees, but maybe we can reduce the flood of abortions performed simply because the baby is unwanted, by sharing these statistics and emphasizing that the majority of abortions are not performed for the fringe cases that are so often touted. While both sides may disagree on ultimately making abortion illegal, I think there is a lot of common ground regarding the morality of the majority of abortion cases, especially when you consider that there are an overwhelming number of families ready to adopt unwanted babies. I realize that the issue is not exactly that simple, but the statistics given above would cause any reasonable person to at least stop for a moment to think and reconsider whether the majority of abortions are justified and if we could seriously employ adoption as a better solution. Abortion providers are not given an incentive to provide adoption services, and the result is that very few women realize that this is a reasonable way to deal with their unwanted pregnancy. The pro-life community could possibly make a big difference if they focused on creating connections between those with crisis pregnancies and those wanting to adopt a child. It is not very effective to say, “Abortion is murder!” Rather, we should approach crisis pregnancies by saying, “We have 2 million families waiting to care for your child once it is born. We can help.”
If you are able to attend a March for Life event in your area, I highly recommend it. It is a family-oriented fundraiser, not a protest, and it affords you the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones while supporting a good cause and enjoying a relaxing day. Sitting in the park at the end of the march, I jokingly asked my daughter, “How many babies did you save today?” Her answer was hopeful. “All of them,” she said.
God willing and Amen!
© Copyright 2022 Jessica Tucker