In Southwest Missouri, I am proud to support Life Choices Health Network in Joplin and Care Net Pregnancy Centers in Neosho and Anderson. These two organizations held their annual fundraising events in September and I was privileged to attend both and to learn of the good accomplishments they are making in our area. These centers provide not only healthcare for pregnant women, but also education, training, and counseling for the expectant mothers. In addition to parenting advice, these organizations provide information about adoption, and they make ultrasound information available to the expectant mothers. With their on-going efforts, these pro-life organizations have had a tremendous impact over the past twenty-plus years. As the number of abortions in the United States is declining, the number of abortion clinics is declining as well. From a high of well over 2,176 clinics in the U.S. in 1991, the number today is approximately 750 nationwide. This reflects a 70% decline in surgical abortion clinics. However, in Missouri, there is only one remaining clinic. That one is in St. Louis, and it performs about 6,000 abortions per year.
In 1991 there were approximately 1.6 million abortions performed in the United States. Today, the number has dropped to 1.2 million—fewer, but still disturbing. This translates into over 57 million abortions performed in the United States alone in the 41 years since Roe v. Wade became law. In our country today one baby is aborted every 26 seconds; 137 babies are aborted every hour; 3,304 babies lose their lives every day; 23,196 babies are eliminated every week; 100,516 babies are destroyed every month; 1,206,192 babies are denied life every year. These chilling figures show us that we still have a very long way to go.
Three main factors or efforts that have caused the number of abortions to decline are 1) pro-life state legislatures, 2) education about abortion, 3) out-reach and help being made available to the young expectant women. Missouri has more abortion-related restrictions on the books than almost any other state in the nation and is a national leader in promoting good legislation to help reduce the number of abortions performed. Some of the legislation passed in Missouri includes requiring an ultrasound, obtaining parental consent for minors, providing counseling, and requiring instruction about the abortion procedure and about the baby. No abortions are to be performed after approximately 22 weeks, except when the mother’s life is endangered. Most recently, the required waiting period for an abortion increased from 24 hours to 72 hours.
Women are becoming more educated about the abortion procedure and the physical as well as the psychological effects it may have on them. This is where pregnancy resource centers are so beneficial across our state. They are able to give the young women with unplanned pregnancies good advice and counseling, along with needed support. Adoption information and child-rearing advice is also available.
Research shows that almost 75% of women today who have abortions report that having the baby interferes with their lives, their work, their school, or their daily responsibilities. Others report that they just cannot afford to have a child. About 50% say they don’t want to be a single parent or to have relationship problems with either a husband or a boyfriend. Less than 2% say they became pregnant as the result of rape or incest.
Forty-one years ago Roe v. Wade reshaped national policy, resulting in the division of Americans into pro-choice and pro-life groups. I can’t help but wonder into which group these 57 million innocent aborted babies would have found themselves. Forty-one years and 57 million aborted babies later, we, as a country, are still divided on this issue.