An estimated 62 million abortions have occurred since Roe v. Wade decision in 1973

What a Supreme Court shift could mean for abortion

Bill McGurn of The Wall Street Journal discusses how Supreme Court changes could impact Roe v. Wade.

Friday marks the 48th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which has resulted in an estimated 62 million abortions, according to one analysis.

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLTC), the nation’s oldest pro-life organization, says it reached an estimate of 62,502,904 by tracking data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute, which previously served as a research arm of the nation’s preeminent abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

Since Guttmacher’s latest data was from 2017, NRLTC used the number from that year — 862,320 — to project figures for 2018-2020. While CDC has provided counts up to 2018, its numbers are limited due to the exclusion of California, New Hampshire, and Maryland.

Much of the debate surrounding abortion has tended towards discussions about rights and when life begins. Among varying ideas advanced by the left, former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards has argued that “there’s no specific moment when life begins” and that hers began when her children were born.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, an unborn baby’s toes can be seen and its lungs, ears, eyes, arms, and legs start to form before the end of the first trimester. Between nine and 12 weeks after conception, a baby’s face becomes well-formed, genitals appear, and nails appear on the fingers and toes.

CDC data has recently shown declines in abortion rates. According to Guttmacher, between 1975 and 2012, the nation saw more than one million abortions each year. Since 1973, the reported numbers have ranged from 744,610 the first year and 1,608,600 in 1990.

Friday’s anniversary prompted a fiery debate over one of the nation’s most hot-button issues.

Left-leaning organizations like NARAL told others to “reimagine Roe” in an apparent call for a Supreme Court decision that would ensure taxpayer-funded abortions for all women.

“Legal abortion isn’t enough. It’s never been enough. What we need is abortion justice,” NARAL said in a tweet. It linked to another organization calling for “abortion justice” on racial and economic lines. This advocacy came as the Biden administration committed to codifying Roe v. Wade, which conservatives say guarantee abortions up to the moment of birth, and repealing a decades-old measure blocking taxpayer funding for most abortions.

“We are deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care – including reproductive health care – regardless of income, race, zip code, health insurance status, or immigration status,” read a statement from President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Pro-life advocates responded critically. “Today, for the first time in four years, it looks like a declaration that #RoevWade is a gift to women and a pledge to enshrine the slaughter of little children, at any stage of their development in the womb, as a ‘right,'” tweeted Live Action President Lila Rose.


March for Life President Jeanne Mancini responded to the White House’s statement in part by arguing abortion wasn’t health care.

“Abortion isn’t healthcare,” she tweeted. “It is heartbreaking but not surprising that on the day we commemorate the loss of 60+ million Americans to abortion the new administration is already aggressively leaning into abortion extremism.”

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