TW Viewpoint | Abortion: A Crisis of Global ProportionsMay 20, 2022 | Michael Heykoop
Few topics stir up as much passion and emotion as abortion, and rightfully so, as it is literally a matter of life and death. Like many contentious and complex matters, defining terms, examining some numbers, and especially turning to the Bible can help make sense of this important moral issue.
Abortion is defined as "the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus." Let's also consider the definitions of embryo and fetus. A human embryo is specifically "the developing human individual from the time of implantation to the end of the eighth week after conception." A fetus, in this context, is "a developing human from usually two months after conception to birth." So, to define abortion simply, it is the act of ending a pregnancy by causing the death of an unborn human being.
So, how many abortions take place in the world each year? According to a July 22, 2020 article by The Lancet—a highly respected, peer-reviewed medical journal—approximately 73 million abortions took place globally per year between 2015 and 2019. This figure was also reported by the World Health Organization and a Guttmacher Institute fact sheet published in July 2020.
73 million yearly abortions—a staggering number. How does it compare to a few other statistics?
According to a 2021 table on nations' populations by Worldometer, only 19 countries in the world have a population greater than 73 million. For example, Thailand, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy all have populations of between 60 and 70 million.
Let's consider the total number of abortions from 2015 to 2019. Seventy-three million abortions per year for five years is a total of 365 million abortions. How does 365 million deaths compare to some of the deadliest events in history?
The Black Death (bubonic plague), which was likely the worst pandemic in human history, killed an estimated 75 to 200 million people over the eight years between 1346 and 1353. (The Bright Side of the Black Death) The number of abortions over the recent five-year period is about twice to three times as high as the death toll attributed to the Black Death.
The two world wars were the deadliest wars in human history, with common worldwide death toll estimates of 40 million and 75 million, respectively, for a total rough estimate of 115 million deaths. (The United Nations remembers the dead of WWII). These wars covered a combined total of about ten years. In comparison, about three times as many deaths have resulted from abortion in five years.
Consider the number of abortions per year and the number of total deaths per year from other causes in the world recently. According to a December 9, 2020 article by the World Health Organization, about 55 million people died in 2019 from causes other than abortion, while about 73 million abortions took place that year. This means that, in 2019, 18 million more human lives ended due to abortion compared to all other causes of death. In other words, 18 million more human lives ended before they were born than after they were born. To state it yet another way, around 30 percent more human lives ended inside their mothers' wombs compared to those that ended outside.
Consider also, countries like Canada, China, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Poland and even Russia and Ukraine (before the current crisis) that are facing economic and cultural collapse due to population decline attributable to the large-scale abortion rate.
These numbers are mind-boggling and heartbreaking. Abortion, sadly, is just one of the horrors mankind has brought about on themselves. Yet it's difficult to fully fathom it and distressing to try. The murder of 73 million unborn babies per year before their first opportunity to take a breath is unthinkable and truly reflects the deplorable state of our society today.