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55 million legal abortions? The number is actually much higher

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jan 22, 2013

This week I've seen dozens of comments on the 55 million abortions that have been performed in the US in the years since Roe. Shocking as it is, that estimate is much too low.

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There have been roughly 55 million surgical abortions. The government doesn't keep good statistics on the number of surgical abortions, but there are at least some figures.

There are, on the other hand, no statistics at all about the number of chemical abortions. We have no idea how many babies have been killed either deliberately (through the use of pills like RU-486. designed to induce abortions) or semi-accidentally (through the use of contraceptive pills with abortifacient properties). One can only guess that there have been many, many millions more. 

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: fenton1015153 - Jun. 22, 2018 9:22 PM ET USA

    This is result of Cardinal McCarrick not telling truth to law authorities. On social sins the Church should require that one part of their penance be letting the law authorities know what they did. A sin out in the open is no longer a sin that can scandalize the Church 20 years later.

  • Posted by: Retired01 - Jun. 22, 2018 3:45 PM ET USA

    Why were so many bishops willing to run cover for McCarrick? Perhaps, because there is a powerful gay lobby within the Church that takes care of their own.

  • Posted by: bill.mureiko5646 - Jun. 21, 2018 5:20 PM ET USA

    Tragic beyond words. Phil, do you think this will cause more harm to the Church than even the Boston scandal?

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jun. 20, 2018 10:55 PM ET USA

    I think the journalists were frustrated by the unwillingness of the credible witnesses to go on the record. I think the biggest suppressed story in Catholic media is the ultimate fate of whistle-blowers who were fired, demoted, or ostracized for their truthful statements. There's a lingering fear that a deep conspiracy of homosexuals remains very powerful in the chanceries and rectories. The career and protection of McCarrick is a evidence of that.

  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - Jun. 20, 2018 9:15 PM ET USA

    "Why were so many journalists willing to let the rumors go unexplored? For the same reason journalists do not report about the rampancy of false abuse accusations against priests. Overall, journalists are very lazy people, their time is stretched thin, and they want their stories handed to them without any heavy lifting.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jun. 20, 2018 6:41 PM ET USA

    For the sake of unwinding the corruption in the Church, it would be worthwhile to expose the prelates who stood behind McCarrick's promotion upward in the hierarchy and their motivations.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Jun. 20, 2018 6:00 PM ET USA

    Oh I would love to know which Bishop confronted Cardinal McCarrick in 2003! I would like to shake his hand.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jun. 20, 2018 5:37 PM ET USA

    My (18 y/o) daughter asked to see Spotlight last night. We did. In Spotlight the story "was buried" in the Metro section so nobody noticed. One of the same newsmen involved then, was in the Spotlight investigation years later. He had forgotten about it. Pope St. JP II was canonized so expeditiously. I hope this does not become problematic as time moves on and jubilant memories moderate, but the crimes of the Cardinal Laws, McCarricks, Bernadines, and Rev. Marcials feed on unlimited fuel.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jun. 20, 2018 3:58 PM ET USA

    The reach of the Lavender Mafia's blackmail runs deep into all the corners of the Church, the press, and government. McCarrick was one of theirs and was allowed to graze about the sexual landscape, undisclosed, and unopposed. He was a force to contend with. Recall, he was caught red-handed lying to the entire USCCB in 2004 about the communion question. In 1968, he headed up the Land-O'-Lakes declaration. All the while, the straight bishops were quiet …. the blackmail list must be very long.

  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Jan. 23, 2013 7:58 AM ET USA

    Nor does this number factor in the number of children who have not been born because their potential parents were killed in the womb. The blood of abortion here and throughout the world is much deeper than we think.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jan. 22, 2013 6:04 PM ET USA

    We have bad government statistics and two worthless political parties, one that does nothing to stop this and the other that does everything to promote the slaughter. The latter, the Democrat Party, was once known by its enemies as the Party of Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion; today even its friends know it as the Party of Sodomy, Suicide, and Slaughter. And GOP has come to stand for Gutlessness, Obfuscation, and Posturing.