I wish these abortion facts were fake news
By: Kim Ketola
I recently heard a speaker say there have been 1 billion abortions around the world in the last 100 years, and I had to check it out.
As a lifelong broadcaster in our age of fake news, I can say that journalism and broadcasting ethics rules are pretty straightforward, check things out with multiple sources before writing or saying anything. If you have a premise, be sure to report any findings which refute it. And know what is newsworthy, go beyond the who, where, when and ask so what, who cares and what’s in it for me in the mind of the average listener or reader.
The “1 billion aborted” statistic is accurate. It comes from a report the Family Research Council issued in January: Abortion Worldwide Report: 100 Countries, 1 Century, 1 Billion Babies. One of the most striking findings is that wherever abortion has been legalized it has proliferated. Saying outlawing abortion won’t stop it is just plain wrong. A ban may not eradicate abortion, but it will protect the majority of the youngest members of the human family.
I jumped into pro-life advocacy as a vocation after I had been working in broadcasting for over twenty years. Motivated by redemption from an abortion which had set the stage for that career, I was first shocked to learn mine was not an isolated case.
Setting out to answer who cares led me straight into the possibility that millions upon millions are being impacted, yet each thinking they are the only ones.
Welcome to the gateway to the alternate universe of abortion statistics, where truthiness and fake facts have been the best answers available for decades. A recent article in the Deseret News noted this realm encompasses a controversy within a controversy: how do you craft policy and assess needs if you have no reliable handle on the scope of the problem?
For example, in 2003 I wanted to know how many women had had abortions. I kept running into a statistic which asserted that by the time a woman reached the age of 45, one in three would have had an abortion. The number served to prove abortion is common, no big deal; the problem is it’s not true. After Wendy Davis staked her infamous filibuster on that flawed claim, Politifact ruled it Half-True at best. That fake fact about abortion lived for a good fifteen years before it was challenged and debunked.
But shouldn’t the US government have the data? Especially given that women still die in legal abortions, at least 400 since 1973, or nearly one every six weeks since legalization.
Abortion surveillance from the Centers for Disease Control includes information collected on a voluntary basis from abortion providers and from health departments. Several states do not report. So the answer that nearly one million women have an abortion each year is at best a projection from the CDC.
So who cares?
Back to that 1 billion. The mind goes numb at the idea of the collective trauma to the women of the world and the nations involved. How to measure the dimensions to ask so what. What have we lost? How can we possibly recover?
I thought of Stalin’s quip that one person hungry is a tragedy, one million starving is a statistic. As I pondered that enormity of evil, worship music suddenly broke through. I heard the verse from Jesus Loves Me:
“Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong.”
Here’s what in it for us. Jesus loves those children we’ve been destroying, following the lead of the USSR in 1920. Jesus loves them.
My heart is overjoyed knowing Jesus loved his little one, when no one on this earth did, not even me, his mother. What if someone, anyone had been there to let me know that my child and I were loved–that we belong, that even in our weakness, our God is ever strong.
Jesus loves them. If you’ve lost a child before birth by any means it’s hard in our abortion-driven culture to know the value of their young, short lives. But, Jesus knows them one by one, and He loves them.
Now, do we?
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