More than 62 million abortions have been performed in the United States since the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, according to a new report from National Right to Life that mourns the lives lost while celebrating the decline in the abortion rate in recent years.
The “State of Abortion in the United States” report, released Jan. 21, estimates that 62,504,904 abortions have been performed in the U.S. since the Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand throughout the nation via a pair of rulings: Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. They were handed down on Jan. 22, 1973.
The report reached the estimate using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute.
Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said pro-lifers have reason to be optimistic, despite the horrific number. That’s partially because the annual number of abortions has been steadily declining since 1990, when there were 1,608,600 abortions, according to Guttmacher. In 2013, the annual number of abortions fell below 1 million, to 958,700. In 2015, the annual number of abortions fell below 900,000 (to 899,500).
The pro-life community, Tobias said, is “moving our nation away from Roe and Doe’s deadly legacy.”
“This drop in numbers can be traced to a number of factors, but among them are the efforts by National Right to Life and its network of state affiliates to enact protective laws that provide legal protection to unborn children and offer hope and help to their mothers,” Tobias wrote in the report. “These legislative efforts are at the very heart of our work, and they are one of the keys to ending abortion in the United States.
“All of this is welcome news,” Tobias wrote. “Pro-life education and legislative efforts are making an impact on our culture and in the lives of women facing unexpected pregnancies. But there is still much to be done.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.