According to a recent Morning Consult poll, 3% of eligible voters are still undecided as to whether they will vote for Donald Trump or Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. This is a low number compared to the 2016 election, but considering how clearly and diametrically opposed the two candidates are on practically every issue, one still wonders what might be going on in the minds of the undecided.
In any case, I have a suggestion for these wavering fence-sitters. Instead of vacillating between contempt for Trump’s harsh, “narcissistic” and “unpresidential” rhetoric, and alarm over Biden’s inappropriate “sniffing and groping” and inability to speak English coherently, perhaps these folks should forget personal biases altogether and simply vote according to the numbers.
Numbers have always played an important role in American politics. The 58,000 U.S. casualties in Vietnam were a major factor in determining two presidential elections. The 52 American hostages in Iran doomed any chances of President Jimmy Carter’s reelection to a second term. The 3,000 people killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks eventually led to the unpopular Iraq War, which caused George W. Bush’s approval rating to plummet to 19%, a record low for any U.S. president. And today, the media is obsessed with the number of Americans killed by COVID-19 — a death toll now topping 225,000. How that figure will affect the presidential election remains to be seen.
But there is another number that’s not being reported — a number that makes all these others seem miniscule by comparison. And that is the number of abortions performed every year in this country and throughout the world.
Abortion is the most divisive, controversial, and emotionally charged issue under the sun. But one effective way to deal with it is to just stick strictly to the numbers — the cold, bare, hard numbers.
According to the Guttmacher Institute — a research and policy organization committed to advancing abortion rights in the United States and globally — the number of U.S. abortions that occurred between the years 2000 and 2018 has ranged from 1.3 million to 862,000 annually — an average of approximately 900,000 abortions per year. Between 1973 and 2019, there have been 61,328,524 total abortions in the United States. Yes, over sixty-one million.
To understand what this means, let’s look at another number. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018, a total of 2,839,205 deaths were registered in the United States. Therefore, the number of surgical and medical abortions — 900,000 — represents a number equal to one third the total number of American deaths.
It also dwarfs all subcategory statistics for causes of death. For instance, heart disease kills approximately 647,000 people per year; cancer, 599,000; accidents and injuries, 169,000; respiratory diseases, 160,000; Alzheimer’s, 121,000; diabetes, 83,000; influenza and pneumonia, 55,000. The number of annual abortions far exceeds all of these figures — including this year’s 225,000 from COVID.
Bear in mind these statistics only represent the number of surgical and medical abortions. They do not take into account the fact that many contraceptive measures are actually abortifacients — drugs that induce abortions. It’s estimated that an average of 11 million American women currently use abortifacient methods of birth control. Thus, it’s probable that millions of chemical abortions occur in this country annually that are not counted in any statistics.
Worldwide, the numbers are even more staggering. According to “Abortion: Worldwide Report,” put together recently by researchers Thomas Jacobson and William Robert Johnson, the last century saw 100 countries kill a total of one billion children by abortion.
I know it’s hard for most people to wrap their minds around such huge numbers. And yet, how can they be ignored? Think closely about this: 3,000 people were killed on September 11 and, as a country, we still haven’t completely healed. Yet 56 million unborn children around the world and 900,000 right here in the United States are killed every year, but because they’re not shown on the nightly news or reported regularly by the media, a large portion of Americans hardly bats an eye.
Consider the irony. Right now, NFL audio engineers are piping fake crowd noises to broadcast games because of the decreased number of fans attending due to COVID. The networks are understandably trying to make TV viewers feel the humanity that’s missing from spectator sports. And yet the number of babies aborted in the United States each year would fill 13 of those football stadiums!
We hear it said all the time — even from some misguided clerics in the church —t hat it’s wrong to be a “single-issue” person. But even a cursory glance at these statistics reveals why so many Americans find it unthinkable to cast their votes for any pro-abortion candidate for office — no matter where he or she stands on immigration, the economy or health care.
Which leads me back to my initial suggestion. Undecided voters in this election should take a long, hard look at the numbers. If they’re waffling because they don’t like their perception of Donald Trump’s personality, they should remind themselves of the old Roman maxim, Salus populi suprema lex esto — “The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law."
In the United States today, we need a president who knows the difference between serving the public and killing the public by abortion. And no president has had a more compelling commitment to the pro-life cause than Donald J. Trump.