Book review by Mike Mastromatteo
If anyone needed a dollars and cents argument to deflate the claims of pro-abortion blustering, the need look no further than Lawrence Roberge’s new book, The Cost of Abortion (Four Winds Press, 1995).
A specialist in biomedical science and technology, Roberge provides a concise but troubling insight into the impact of 22 years of abortion on American society. Using the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision as a starting point, Roberge cites demographic, economic and educational statistics to reveal how abortion has impacted negatively on most aspects of U.S. society. The author also shows that those on both sides of the abortion debate little understood the long-term societal costs the Roe v. Wade decision would exact.
Roberge, who recently attended the Human Life International conference in Calgary, argues that while data on abortion is still “young,” there is doubt it has affected American society in a number of unseen ways. Educators for example, have keenly felt the impact of more than 27 million potential students who failed to pass through the system since the mid-1970s. This represents an enormous loss of potential not only as students, but in a decreased need for related educational expenditures (teachers, school buildings, supplies, computers, administration).
Roberge notes a cruel irony in his discussion of these potential students lost to abortion. “Sadly, the National Educational Association (NEA) of the U.S. supports abortion…I question whether teachers (especially unemployed teachers), realize their union endorses policies that reduce their job opportunities.”
In terms of demographics, Roberge saddest a clear link between abortion and a reduced fertility rate in the U.S. Despite more than 20 years of study and research into fertility and child bearing since 1973, there has been no significant increase in fertility rates. Roberge says that not only does abortion reduce the national fertility rate, it can also lead to infertility problems for women who have undergone abortion. He referred to Asherman’s Syndrome- tissue adhesions within the uterus producing menstrual abnormalities and miscarriage- as a factor in post-abortion infertility.
For those who prefer money arguments, Roberge draws interesting parallels among abortion and economic growth, personal income and tax revenue.
At the core of these arguments is that the 27 million lives lost to abortion between the 1970 and 1993 represent a “missing population” which would have contributed to society as employees, consumers and taxpayers.
“The cumulative effect of these lost lives will be increasingly felt as the U.S. enters the 21st century,” cumulative abortions will increase as more consumers and laborers are ‘missing’ form the tax revenue system.”
This blow to the future economy is compounded by abortion’s impact on natural population growth. An aging population, coupled with a low birth and fertility rates, puts strain on the economy as fewer workers contribute to an overburdened social security system.
Roberge appeals to American patriotism in arguing that abortion’s negative impact on population growth could have national security implications. A strong military, he says, requires a “robust population” not only to staff the armies, but to supply the human resources for scientific, technological, communications and administrative operations. With abortion and low birth rate, the U.S. could face population declines in the next century.
Despite extensive use of charts and graphics, Roberge does not sacrifice his message to a welter of scientific or sociological jargon. His book is for the reader who might otherwise be intimidated by extensive statistics and figures.
And while some of the author’s conclusions will have to be re-examined in light of further research, there is little doubt Roberge is on solid ground in raising the question of abortion’s true “costs.”
At a time when pro-life and pro-abortion arguments can be colored by emotion or abstract rhetoric, it’s good to have some rudimentary data at one’s disposal. Bottom-line arguments can be persuasive, especially when appeals to logic, reason and natural justice fall on deaf ears. Perhaps Roberge’s analysis will make some headway in the area.
Campaign Life Coalition has limited quantity of The Cost of Abortion for sale for $8 (plus shipping and handling)
To order your copy, contact CLC at (416) 368-8479.
Copies can also be ordered by calling 706-882-5368. Bulk orders are available by writing the publisher, Four Winds Publishing, P.O. Box 3102, LaGrange, GA, 30240. The U.S. price is $6.95 plus $3.50 shipping and handling.