At some point in the past year, the United States experienced its 55 millionth legal abortion -- a number far more than the combined U.S. death toll of every American war since the nation's founding, Baptist Press reports. The total spans 40 years, beginning with the Jan. 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. The abortion count is based on data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights. National Right to Life releases an annual tally using the Guttmacher data. "That's 55 million creative minds, 55 million people that could be working, 55 million that could be contributing to society," said Randall K. O'Bannon, National Right to Life's director of education and research. "It's hard to fathom all the different ways in which any person has the potential to impact the community and impact our country. The loss is staggering." To put the total of 55 million in perspective, the combined number of military deaths in all of America's wars -- from the Revolutionary War to the second Iraq war -- is 1.2 million.