The Human Cost of Roe and Doe

We often talk about just how bad Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton are as judicial decisions. Even many people who support abortion won’t pretend that Roe and Doe made any coherent judicial sense.

What sometimes gets lost in discussions about these U.S. Supreme Court cases is the actual human cost of them. Abortion is not just an abstract debate; abortion results in the death of real individuals at an unimaginable rate.

Our best guess is more than 56 million people have died since 1973 because of Roe and Doe overturning the abortion laws of all 50 states. How can we make sense of such an extreme loss of life?

56 million lives lost is the equivalent of erasing the people living in 25 states. Another way to imagine it is our entire Midwest disappearing overnight instead of disappearing daily in non-descript clinics down the street in our towns.

If we observed a 15-second moment of silence for each child killed by abortion since Roe and Doe, our silence would last 26 years. That doesn’t include the nearly one million abortions a year that continue to happen.

Though the annual abortion numbers have been declining for many years now, the loss of nearly one million lives a year is beyond tragic. Abortion takes more lives every year than cancer or heart disease, making it the number one cause of death—if it counted.

There are more American lives taken by abortion in a single year than American lives we’ve lost in combat in all of our wars combined from 1775 to 2017.

There are no words strong enough to describe the utter devastation abortion has wrought in Black community. Since 1973 abortion has ended more Black lives than every single other cause of death combined. Did you know that?

For those unmoved by the human cost of abortion, what about the practical costs? Those 56 million children lost to abortion would be alive today and contributing an additional $3 trillion in annual productivity to our economy. They would be generally young and healthy, shoring up our looming aging crisis when it comes to health insurance costs, Medicare and Social Security.

Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton aren’t just legal injustices. They are more than the grave personal injustices to the unborn children whose lives have been taken so brutally. They are an ongoing national disaster of incomparable proportions.