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Some Abortion Statistics

The following annual statistics for abortion in the United States are helpful in understanding the background of the pro-life pro-choice debate.  There are 1.2 million abortions in the US every year.

  1. Unintended pregnancies account for almost half of all pregnancies.
  2. Four out of ten unintended pregnancies end in abortion.
  3. Out of the total number of pregnancies (intended and unintended), 24% are terminated by abortion.
  4. For women ages 15-44, two out of every hundred have an abortion. Of these, 48% have had one or more abortions previously.
  5. For women choosing abortion, 52% are under 25. Teenagers account for 19%, and women 20-24 account for 33%.
  6. As compared to white women, black women are almost four times as likely to have an abortion. For Latino women, the number is 2.5 times.
  7. Women who have never been married account for 2/3 of all abortions.
  8. The majority of women choosing abortion are already mothers who have had one or more children. They make up over 60% of all abortions.
  9. Women who have never used any method of birth control account for 8% of all abortions.
  10. For women having abortions, 43% describe themselves as Protestant and 27% identify as Catholic.

Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States. Guttmacher Institute May 2006 

The Chirothecœ Are Off–Bishop Tobin v. Lawmakers

“If someone is clearly and consistently and obstinately opposed to the church on something as serious as abortion — which again is a grave and intrinsic evil — then they really have to question their membership in the church and their participation in the life of the church.”  So says Bishop Tobin directed at Lawmakers.  Bam!…there it is! 

In an interview two weeks ago Rep. Kennedy attacked the church’s opposition to current health care legislation and accused the bishops of ‘fanning flames of dissent and discord’: “I can’t understand for the life of me how the Catholic Church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time…You mean to tell me the Catholic Church is going to be denying those people life saving health care? I thought they were pro-life. If the church is pro-life, then they ought to be for health care reform because it’s going to provide health care that are [sic] going to keep people alive.”

Bishop Tobin responded: “Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s statement about the Catholic Church’s position on health care reform is irresponsible and ignorant of the facts. But the Congressman is correct in stating that “he can’t understand.” He got that part right.”Congressman Kennedy continues to be a disappointment to the Catholic Church and to the citizens of the State of Rhode Island. I believe the Congressman owes us an apology for his irresponsible comments. It is my fervent hope and prayer that he will find a way to provide more effective and morally responsible leadership for our state.”

After Bishop Tobin extended an invitation to meet and discuss the “Catholic Church’s longtime support of comprehensive health care legislation and measures that protect and defend life”, Rep. Kennedy responded in a letter, falling short of an apology: “[my remarks] were never intended to slight the church…“that the church has always stood for health-care reform.”

Kennedy said he hopes that “our Church will be true to its millennia-old mission of feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and caring for those less fortunate than ourselves. My Catholic faith is based on these foundation principles.” But his disagreement with “the hierarchy of the church on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.” “We all have our own morals and religious views, but in the end women have to have their health protected. Back alley abortions and so forth will happen if there isn’t a safe, legal means to have that medical procedure.”

And the hits keep coming.  It seems Congressman Patrick Kennedy is feverishly digging himself a deeper hole as he spars with Bishop Tobin of Providence.  They plan to meet at 12:30 on November 12th at a yet to be disclosed location.

btw: Chirothecœ = episcopal gloves

Abortion and Health Care

Over the weekend there was an interesting “Facebook exchange” between a commonly held opinion and a succinct response by a friend who is a priest…thought I’d share it:

Comment“I’m against abortion, but I still think it’s something that must be decided between a doctor and patient. You never know if because some poor women couldn’t afford an abortion her and the baby died. I think the focus should be and should’ve always been the forming of conscience, not the forcing. Even if it is an objective evil I believe the antidotes we create, most of the time is worse than the poison.”

Response“True we need to form consciences – in the dignity of the human person from the moment of conception until natural death. Consciences need to be formed so as to understand that human life is a gift from God and that any doctor or woman has no right to destroy the life of another human being. There is no “forcing”. Abortion destroys and is one of the greatest injustices we have seen in our own day – any law which allows it to take place (or forces others to pay for it in the case of the proposed Health Care bill) is unjust. Laws must protect the baby and help the mother. 

Unfortunately the law of the land becomes the morality of the “little” ones, those who are unable to make the right decisions by not having help from the right people or any religion/faith.  We might think this to not be significant, but it is HUGE when we consider the number of people who have no direction for their lives in regard to such a monumental decision (like destroying the life of your own child!) – the law becomes their morality.

At the very foundation of all laws there must be the dignity of the human person – without which there is no justice.  Many people have been duped into such thinking that it all comes down to a personal choice. How about the choice of the child?

I believe one way to resolve such poor reasoning is to have an “all out” effort to help women to understand the love and the mercy of Jesus in their lives after an abortion.  The more this is made known to post-abortive women (and men), the more the Good News of Christ will spread and the truth of abortion (and faulty thinking) will be made known.”

Two points.
1.  I have difficulty understanding the argument “I’m personally against, but support your right to decide for yourself”, unless the debate is for vanilla or chocolate ice cream.    Take the following statement: “I am personally opposed to sticking a needle in my wife’s eye, but I respect your right to make that decision for yourself”.  Hopefully we are in agreement that this is absurd.  

2.  Any law that omits an entire class (unborn in this instance), even if the intention and foreseen outcome produces a good, is an unjust law.  How can you be against health care?  This is the Patrick Kennedy argument.  Suppose such legislation provided the finest of comprehensive care for all…except African Americans.  The vast majority of Americans would be covered and the law would accomplish a tremendous good.  How could you not be in favor of health care reform?  Quite easily.  How are the examples different?  They are not.  Such a law is unjust and cannot be supported.

Bishops vs. Obamacare

I cannot recall an historic precedent for this.  The USCCB launched a sudden campaign to rally all Catholics to contact their representatives in an effort to prevent the passage of present health care legislation which funds abortion.  (The vote in the House may occur this Wednesday or Thursday.)  The campaign provided pulpit “talking points” and a bulletin insert.  Unfortunately, by the results of some polling in the blogosphere, word didn’t get out to the country’s 19,000 parishes.  The vast majority neither made any mention of the issue nor provided the bulletin insert.

Nationwide Bulletin Insert on Health Care

The US Council of Catholic Bishops has issued a nationwide bulletin insert asking all faithful to demand their government representatives remove abortion funding and mandates from health care reform legislation. The USCCB website on health care has valuable information on the Catholic perspective on proposed legislation. Sure to draw fire from critics and debate regarding the Church’s role in the public square, here is the text:


Tell Congress: Remove Abortion Funding & Mandates from Needed Health Care Reform
Congress is preparing to debate health care reform legislation on the House and Senate floors. Genuine health care reform should protect the life and dignity of all people from the moment of conception until natural death. The U.S. bishops’ conference has concluded that all committee approved bills are seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience, and do not provide adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor. The bills will have to change or the bishops have pledged to oppose them.

Our nation is at a crossroads. Policies adopted in health care reform will have an impact for good or ill for years to come. None of the bills retains longstanding current policies against abortion funding or abortion coverage mandates, and none fully protects conscience rights in health care.

As the U.S. bishops’ letter of October 8 states:

“No one should be required to pay for or participate in abortion. It is essential that the legislation clearly apply to this new program longstanding and widely supported federal restrictions on abortion funding and mandates, and protections for rights of conscience. No current bill meets this test…. If acceptable language in these areas cannot be found, we will have to oppose the health care bill vigorously.”

For the full text of this letter and more information on proposed legislation and the bishops’ advocacy for authentic health care reform, visit: www.usccb.org/healthcare.

Congressional leaders are attempting to put together final bills for floor consideration. Please contact your Representative and Senators today and urge them to fix these bills with the pro-life amendments noted below. Otherwise much needed health care reform will have to be opposed. Health care reform should be about saving lives, not destroying them.

ACTION: Contact Members through e-mail, phone calls or FAX letters.

  • To send a pre-written, instant e-mail to Congress go to www.usccb.org/action.
  • Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.
  • Full contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at www.house.gov & www.senate.gov.


“During floor debate on the health care reform bill, please support an amendment to
incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights. If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”


“Please support the Stupak Amendment that addresses essential pro-life concerns on abortion funding and conscience rights in the health care reform bill. Help ensure that the Rule for the bill allows a vote on this amendment. If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”

WHEN: Both House and Senate are preparing for floor votes now. Act today! Thank you!