According to a recent report from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 36,280 lives were lost in our Commonwealth because of abortion in 2011. It is a sobering number– we’ve legally allowed 36,280 citizens to be killed, and 36,280 mothers are left with an irreversible scar.
If the numbers from the Department of Health are looked at further, we can find an even more telling statistic. There were 139,542 births and 36,280 abortions in Pennsylvania in 2011. That means that over 20% percent of pregnancies in Pennsylvania ended in abortion.
We would decry any other health condition that had a 20% death rate. But in Pennsylvania, being conceived carries with it a 20% mortality rate.
Further, nearly 1 in 3 women in America will have an abortion by age 45 (Source: Guttmacher Institute). These women have faced the most difficult, unimaginable decision and instead of meeting them with love and support so that they might choose life, our society tells them that violence towards their children is the answer to the problem.
Certainly, there are signs of hope: the numbers released by the Department of Health show a slight decrease in abortions over the previous year (1.4%, or 498, more abortions were performed the prior year). The current number is also a 44.8% decrease from the highest annual number of abortions – 65,777 in 1980 – ever recorded.
But these numbers should serve as a call to action. There are several ways pro-life Pennsylvanians can work to promote a culture of life in our Commonwealth. You can reach out to your local pro-life office to see how you can help women in need in your area. You can click here to send a message in support of pro life legislation and sign up to become a member of the Catholic Advocacy Network. Legislators need to hear from their pro-life constituents.
Later this month, thousands of Pennsylvanians will travel to Washington DC to participate in the annual March for Life. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision and many parishes and dioceses organize bus transportation for interested parishioners.
Accepting that 20% of the pregnancies in our state end in abortion or that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion by age 45 impacts not only the mother and the child. Mother Teresa reminds us of this, “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”
Joelle Shea is the Director of Outreach for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference – the public affairs agency of Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops and the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania.