Thursday, April 21, 2011

By the Numbers: The Abortion Controversy in Perspective

Dan McLaughlin posted a whole lot of numbers over at Red State blog yesterday -- numbers calculating how many Americans have died in wars, how many died through execution, how many detainees were water-boarded, and so on. He did this to give an enlightened perspective on the ongoing public controversy over abortion.

And yes, he gives those statistics too.

It is all very sobering. But remarkably instructive too.

Thus McLaughlin concludes:

You know, there are a lot of issues I care about, as a conservative Republican. I don’t especially like having to draw lines in the sand over abortion, and if you’re reading this, even if you’re pro-life, chances are you don’t either. But it is useful at times to prick our consciences with the sheer scale of this atrocity, happening daily under our noses.

Liberal activists and lawyers devote massive efforts every year to battling the death penalty - yet all the executions of the post-Roe era don’t even add up to a third of a day’s worth of the number of abortions. We agonize, and rightly so, over the cost in life of our wars - but the toll of abortion is equal to fighting the Battle of Antietam, or two Battles of Okinawa, every single week, or two entire Vietnam Wars every month. Our commentariat was racked with paroxysms of moral reproach over three prisoners being waterboarded, yet considers it gauche to even mention well over three thousand abortions daily, each of which destroys a biologically unique human being.

(Your religion may override your regard for the science, but there’s no way around the fact that an unborn child has his or her own unique genetic code, the definitive scientific hallmark of an individual).

Numbers alone can’t make the moral judgments that constitute public policy for us. But they can certainly inform our sense of perspective. And looking at the number of abortions is a reminder that maybe, sometimes, we go too far in trying to make this just another issue.