How Does Abortion Affect the United States?

The first states legalized abortion in 1967. Since then, there have been about 61.7 million abortions performed in this country. One-sixth of our nation’s entire population has disappeared into the maws of the latter-day extermination camps that the corrupt media calls “reproductive care centers.”

How does abortion affect society?

We have killed a vast number of children equivalent to the combined populations of 18 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.1

united states map with grayed-out states showing the number of people killed by abortion in the US


This is equal to more than the combined populations of the five largest metropolitan areas in the United States — Greater New York City, Greater Los Angeles, Greater Chicago, Greater Dallas and Greater Houston.2

The social and economic impacts of this shameful and hidden slaughter are catastrophic. They are increasingly felt in the businesses, schools and families of the United States. How has the loss of so much of population to abortion in the U.S. affected the social and economic dynamics of life in our country?




Loss of Talent

The greatest loss we have suffered because of legalized abortion in the U.S. is tens of millions of talented people.

Assuming that the class of those exterminated would resemble in basic character the surviving population, this country has so far lost to a woman’s so-called “right to choose”:

  • 2 United States presidents and 2 vice-presidents
  • 7 Supreme Court Justices, including one Chief Justice
  • 42 Nobel Prize winners
  • 108 state governors
  • 118 U.S. senators and 891 U.S. congressmen
  • 653 United States ambassadors
  • 206 Olympic medalists, including 80 gold medalists.3


two olympic gold medals on red background

Economic Impact of Abortion in the U.S.

Of course, the direct loss of human talent is not the only consequence that abortion wreaks upon a society.  A country suffers many other inevitable and profound problems, including a deformed support ratio (i.e., ratio of workers to elderly people supported by non-workers).

The architects of the Social Security retirement system obviously did not anticipate the future legalization of abortion in the U.S.  As fewer and fewer children are born, there will be fewer workers to support the elderly through the Social Security system.  These forbidding statistics tell the tale:

  • The number of workers paying into the Social Security fund for each retiree in the United States was 5.0 in 1980 and 4.7 in 1990. Then, as fewer workers entered the job market due to legalized abortion, the worker-retiree ratio slid to 4.6 in 1995 when it would have been 4.8 without abortion. Today (2021), the ratio of workers to retirees is 3.5, when it would have been 4.3 without abortion. As time goes on, the worker-retiree ratio in the United States will approach 2.7:1, an insupportable situation.4
  • 18% of the workforce has been wiped out by abortion, and this number will climb to 23% by 2035.
  • The Social Security system began running deficits in 2010. Our current total tax burden will have to increase to more than 40% of every worker’s salary to pay for Social Security and other benefits promised to retired workers. In fact, Social Security and other federal retirement benefits will consume over half of the federal budget by 2025.5

If the stresses on the Social Security system are extreme now, imagine how much greater they will be in only twenty years!  The growing worker-retiree imbalance is already lending impetus to a general push for euthanasia, and state after state is legalizing the killing of the sick and the elderly. National magazines that cater to the elderly (including Modern Maturity Magazine, of the American Association of Retired People) often extol the virtues of an “easy and good death.”

elderly couple walking with a dog


Racial Distribution of the Population

There are many other major impacts caused by nearly half a century of legal abortion in the U.S., far too many to address in this article. One of the most important of these is the deformation of the racial distribution of our population.

The total fertility rate (TFR) is the average number of births that each woman has in her lifetime. A TFR of 2.11 represents “replacement level” fertility for the total population of a group in a developed nation.

For the first time in 1983, the TFR of black women dipped under replacement. Then in 2007, for the first time in 35 years, the TFR of white women exceeded replacement. What this means in plain language is this: because of its extraordinarily high abortion rate, black Americans comprise a much smaller percentage of the population than they would have without abortion. About 11% of whites have been wiped out by abortion, but a staggering 32% of blacks have been aborted.6

Since a group’s political and social influence correlates with its percentage of the population, this does not bode well for racial progress in the United States.


Impacts on Religious Institutions

Those churches embracing an anti-life and anti-family philosophy are quickly dying out. By contrast, pro-life and pro-family churches are growing rapidly, especially in comparison to the anti-life churches.

During the time period 1970 to 2020, pro-life Catholic, Evangelical, and Mormon churches have exploded in membership, while the so-called “mainline” pro-abortion churches are obviously in deep trouble. The pro-life churches in the United States have gained 43% in membership from 1970 to 2020, while the pro-abortion churches have lost 45% of their membership during the same period.

Bogus religious groups like “Catholics” for [a Free] Choice, the “Religious” Coalition for Reproductive Choice and the Interfaith Alliance like to claim in their glossy propaganda that there is no religious “consensus” on abortion. As always, they are dead wrong. In 2020 in the USA, pro-life churches had a combined membership of 138.4 million people, and pro-abortion churches had a combined membership of only 13.3 million. This is a membership ratio of more than ten to one, a decisive consensus by any measure.7

Two cardinals, 74 archbishops and bishops, 14 abbots, 5,600 priests, 6,300 religious sisters, 3,000 permanent deacons, and 569 religious brothers have been killed by abortion in the USA since 1967. This means that every week, an average of eight future priests, sisters, deacons and brothers are thrown into dumpsters behind abortion clinics around the nation.  Meanwhile, Call to Action and its fellow dissenting organizations heartily approve of this slaughter under the pretense of “freedom of choice.”8

As of 2020, there were 5.7 million Jews in the United States, the second largest population of Jews in the world. The worldwide population of Jews is 14.7 million, which means that they have not yet recovered their pre-Holocaust population of 18 million.

And now, it looks as if they never will recover, largely thanks to abortion in the U.S. In our country, the percentage of Jews was 4% of the population in 1945 (at the end of the Second World war) and is now only 1.7% due to an extremely low birthrate, a very high abortion rate, and pervasive intermarriage with Gentiles.9

More than half of the Jews in the United States who married during the 1980s married non-Jews, and only about one-fourth of these couples raise their children to be Jewish. If this trend continues, Judaism may well become extinct in the United States by the dawn of the next century.

In short, pro-life religious institutions are growing rapidly while pro-abortion institutions are dying out.


The Death of Abortion in the U.S.

The only positive aspect of birth limitation through abortion and contraception is that it is a self-correcting evil. Those people, social groups, nations and even continents that practice it tend to die out over time. Margaret Sanger, Marie Stopes, Lothrop Stoddard and their fellow eugenicists fretted constantly over “dysgenic genes” gaining ascendency in their time.

Speaking of Sanger, her grandson Alexander recently conducted a tour of college campuses and received an enthusiastic welcome―but not the kind he had expected. He found that pro-choice college groups are rare, but every single college he visited had a large number of pro-life women willing to confront him. He said, I’ve seen the numbers and I find them unbelievably shocking. Isn’t it obvious that young women have to be at the forefront of fighting for their reproductive rights because they’re the ones who need them? It’s not just the numbers that are down among pro-choice women, it’s the enthusiasm.

wooden pro life sign with letter blocks

Sanger and other leaders of the “pro-choice” movement speculate endlessly why this is so — and, being “progressives” who always depend upon their feelings rather than rational analysis, the always arrive at the wrong answer. They claim it’s because the pro-life movement has “re-invented itself” and has produced more persuasive “propaganda,” including the use of ultrasound images. Or possibly it is because young people are naïve or, as Francis Kissling so patronizingly puts it, “It’s very easy for young people to romanticize life.” Or because of “a new reverence for motherhood.” And, of course, it might be because “they’ve never lived through the sordid conditions of back-alley abortions, the deaths from botched procedures, the desperation of a woman trapped by her own changing body.”

These pro-abortion leaders are not just whistling past the graveyard; they are sprinting past it with air horns blasting in both hands. Not one of them is willing to admit that they themselves are the cause ― it is logical that “pro-choice” women have fewer children and pro-life women have more.

The population of this country, especially the young population, is becoming more pro-life every year. Forty-seven percent of people aged 18-34 said that they were pro-life in 2002; that number ten years later was 54% ― a gain of 7%. In fact, the only one of the nineteen measured demographics that was more “pro-choice” over this period were atheists ― and even then by only 1%.

Overall, the percentage of the population that calls itself “pro-choice” has plunged from 61% in 1998 to 50% in 2020, and pro-lifers have increased from 37% to 49% during the same time period.

In other words, the pro-abortion movement carries within itself the seeds of its own inevitable destruction — as evil always does.



[1] World Population Review.  “U.S. States — Ranked by Population 2021.”

[2] ProQuest LLC.  ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2019, 7th Edition. Bethesda, Maryland: 2018. Table 21, “Large Metropolitan Statistical Areas — Population:  2000 to 2017.”

[3] Calculations based on (1) ProQuest LLC. ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2019, 7th Edition. Bethesda, Maryland: 2018.  Table 3, “Resident Population Projections and Components of Change: 2017 to 2060;” Table 109, “Life Expectancy at Birth, 1940 to 2016, and Projected, 2020 to 2060,” Table 450, “Members of Congress — Seniority of Senators and Representatives: 1961 to 2017;” Table 456, “Vote Cast for and Governor Elected by State:  2013 to 2016;” and Table 458, “Composition of State Legislatures, by Political Party Affiliation:  2016 and 2017.”

United States Census Bureau, Department of Commerce. Statistical Abstract of the United States: Reference Book and Guide to Sources. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1997 (116th Edition). Table 672, “Employed Civilians, by Occupation, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin:  1983 and 1997.”

Wikipedia entries entitled “List of Nobel Laureates by Country” and “United States at the Olympics” and its linked pages.

[4] United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2010, (130th Edition).  Table 8, “Resident Population Projections by Sex and Age: 2010 to 2050.”

[5] David C. John. “Social Security Finances Significantly Worse, Says 2012 Trustees Report.” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief #3577, April 23, 2012.

[6] Stanley K. Henshaw and Kathryn Kost. “Trends in the Characteristics of Women Obtaining Abortions, 1974 to 2004.”  The [Alan] Guttmacher Institute. New York: August 2008. Table 1, “Selected Measures of Abortion, by Age of Woman, United States,” pages S1 to S4; Jenna Jerman, Rachel K. Jones and Tsuyoshi Onda. “Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients in 2014 and Changes Since 2008.” Guttmacher Institute, May 2016.  Table 1, “Percentage Distribution of U.S. Women Obtaining Abortions in Nonhospital Settings and of all U.S. Women aged 15–44, and Abortion Index, by Selected Characteristics, 2014 and 2008.”

[7] National Council of Churches (NCC).  Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches. CD-ROM version, 1916 to 2000 Editions, and 2010 print edition, Table 2, “Membership Statistics in the United States,” pages 361 to 371. Inclusive membership statistics are used.

[8] Calculations based on the General Summaries in the 1960 to 2020 editions of P.J. Kenedy & Sons’ Official Catholic Directory.

[9] Earlier figures are from a report entitled “State of the Jewish World” issued at the January 1996 annual convention of the World Jewish Congress in Jerusalem, as described in “Jewish Populations Decline.” The Washington Post, January 27, 1996. Later figures for the Jewish population in every nation and region of the world are from American Jewish Committee (AJC).  American Jewish Year Book, chapter entitled “World Jewish Population.” All volumes of this publication from 1899 to 2008 can be found on the AJC’s website.

Did you find this useful?

Dr. Brian Clowes has been HLI’s director of research since 1995 and is one of the most accomplished and respected intellectuals in the international pro-life movement. Best known as author of the most exhaustive pro-life informational resource volume The Facts of Life, and for his Pro-Life Basic Training Course, Brian is the author of nine books and over 500 scholarly and popular articles, and has traveled to 70 countries on six continents as a pro-life speaker, educator and trainer.


  1. Brigid Ayer on July 6, 2019 at 6:23 PM


    • Jackson Flowers on September 18, 2019 at 2:27 PM


  2. Matteo on September 26, 2019 at 11:30 PM

    When was this published?

    • HLI Staff on September 27, 2019 at 11:54 AM

      This resource was published June 7, 2017 and updated on April 28, 2021.

  3. Marchia Razayeski on October 22, 2019 at 7:24 PM

    Thank you for this information. It is very relevant.

  4. Fred Erikson on November 18, 2019 at 2:54 PM

    You neglect to realize these children are unwanted and unwanted children are neglected children and neglected and unwanted children probably wouldn’t succeed to the same degree as you theorize thus creating subsequent generations of neglected unwanted children that would further drag the country down vs lift it up.

    • HLI Staff on November 19, 2019 at 9:17 AM

      Actually Fred, every person has the right to live and that’s why the Church ran orphanages and is still involved in foster care. There are so many families wishing to adopt. It’s also pretty heinous to say to someone, “It would be better to have killed you,” which is basically stating the murder is okay. It’s never okay, once a child is conceived. God has the final say in that, not us.

    • John L. on December 7, 2021 at 4:19 PM

      If you consider that there are a high number of successful people that have come up through much adversity and have defied the odds. This obviously isn’t always the case but it’s not uncommon to hear how someone started out dirt poor or in a bad situation which ultimately drove them to not want to live that way and to help others not live that way. Consider the possibility that there may have been some people aborted that could have been philanthropists that could have helped those less fortunate or innovators that came up with an at least partial solution to help people pull themselves up and create a better life for them and others around them. The effects resonate much further than we can imagine.

  5. Rebecca Schmidgall on June 26, 2022 at 7:29 PM

    The numbers used reflect only the lives of the lost babies, but perhaps should include the loss of their children and their children’s children as well. Much like the 6 million precious children lost in the Holocaust, this initial lost generation represents many more lives than their own. In order to begin to understand the repercussions of the last 50 years and 60 million lives lost, I recommend visiting the Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem in Israel. You can see an image from inside the memorial here: What you learn is that all of those lights that you see are reflections from just 3 candles, each representing 2 million lost lives. The reflections are the lost generations.

    May God continue to bless you.

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