Shouldn’t Every Child Be Wanted?

The three most popular pro-abortion slogans are “Woman’s body, woman’s choice!,” “Freedom of choice!” and “Every child a wanted child!”

These slogans are catchy, and they appeal in a superficial manner to the sense of fairness in all of us.  However, it takes only a little thought to break through the attractive façade and see them for what they really are.


Origins of the Slogan “Every Child a Wanted Child”

Pro-abortionists have used the “Every child a wanted child!” slogan for nearly a century.  The cover of the November 1923 edition of The Birth Control Review showed a haggard woman sprawled on the trash-littered ground, attached to a huge black iron ball by a heavy chain.  The ball is inscribed with the words “UNWANTED BABIES.”

Birth Control Review November 1923

The Birth Control Review repeated this slogan hundreds of times in its 24-year run.  Margaret Sanger herself claimed that “Each and every unwanted child is likely to be in some way a social liability.  It is only the wanted child who is likely to be a social asset.”1 She even claimed that “unwanted children” were the primary cause of World War I.2

Sanger was ardently anti-Catholic, as are many pro-abortion activists.  Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s co-conspirator at NARAL, Lawrence Lader, fumed that “As long as the Catholic Church, or any faith, continues to block legislation allowing individual conscience and free choice in abortion, the core of our democratic system is crippled.  The right to abortion is the foundation of Society’s long struggle to guarantee that every child comes into this world wanted, loved, and cared for.  The right to abortion, along with all birth-control measures, must establish the Century of the Wanted Child.”3

NARAL continued to push this theme in its 1974 debate guide entitled “Preparing for Action.” It promised us, “Legal abortion will decrease the number of unwanted children, battered children, child abuse cases, and possibly subsequent delinquency, drug addiction, and a host of social ills believed to be associated with neglectful parenthood.”

Abortion advocates have discovered the great value of having ultra-liberal church people parrot their slogans to the public as a counterpoint to traditional Christian teachings on the value of every human being.  Robert McClure, former Moderator of the United Church of Canada, was brutally direct when he said that “To bring an unwanted child into the world is the greatest obscenity.”4 Pro-abortionists also parade Catholics who are traitors to their Church’s teachings before the public.  Failed Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro used cost savings as a heartless justification for abortion when she said, “The cost of putting an unwanted child through the system outweighs the cost of funding those [abortion] procedures.”5


Result: Devaluation of Children

Pro-abortionists seem to be the only people who do not understand that, when you label some children “unwanted,” it inevitably leads to a coarsened collective national conscience that devalues children generally.

The central message of the “every child a wanted child” slogan is that the only value that children have is assigned to them by others.  If they are not “wanted,” they are worthless and can be discarded like a worn-out shirt.  In other words, the child has no intrinsic value, and his or her worth is purely a function of the happiness or feelings of fulfillment that he or she brings to other people.  The child is reduced to the status of a slave or an inanimate object.


The “Unwanted” Children Today

This is already happening on a vast scale in nations where abortion is legal.  More than 90% of Down Syndrome children are aborted in North America.  If, as is very common in China and India, the parents want a boy and an ultrasound shows that the mother is carrying a girl, they can abort it.  And, if the baby is ugly or if a “gay” gene is ever discovered, people like “ethicist” Peter Singer and James Watson think that parents should be able to abort their children who might grow up to be homosexual or not attractive enough to suit their tastes.6

down syndrome baby


Transition to Infanticide

The “every child a wanted child” slogan can be applied to born as well as to unborn children and, in fact, this happens quite frequently.  When unborn children are treated as property, this attitude inevitably leads to people treating born children like property.  Many leading scientists and thinkers have declared that infants should be as disposable as unborn children.

Dr. Francis Crick and Dr. James D. Watson shared the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA in 1953, and both believed ardently in the murder of “imperfect” infants.   Crick said that “No newborn infant should be declared human until it has passed certain tests regarding its genetic endowment and that, if it fails these tests, it forfeits the right to live.”7  Watson wrote that “If a child were not declared alive until three days after birth, then all parents could be allowed the choice that only a few are given under the present system.  The doctor could allow the child to die if the parents so chose and save a lot of misery and suffering.”8

Ethicist Joseph Fletcher also blurred the lines between convenience abortion and convenience infanticide when he wrote that “It is reasonable to describe infanticide as post-natal abortion … Infanticide is actually a very humane thing when you are dealing with misbegotten infants.  We might have to encourage it under certain conditionalities of excess population, especially when you’re dealing with defective children.”9

Most people have noticed the increase in the reports of newborns being dumped in trash cans and public restrooms by their mothers.  This kind of murder is a direct result of thinking that only “wanted” children should live, and this mentality begins with the so-called “freedom of choice.”


The Rise of Child Abuse

As noted above, NARAL promised us that abortion would lead to a dramatic decline in the number of child abuse cases.  It is not surprising that NARAL was simply mouthing empty promises to assist in its bid to legalize abortion.

A 1993 comprehensive statistical review in the journal Pediatrics found “a rising tide of fatalities due to child abuse or neglect” in the years following Roe v. Wade.10

The rate of child abuse in the United States was 2.9 per thousand children annually in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade.  The next year, the rate began to rise rapidly until it peaked at 15.0 in the early 1990s, when the nation had its greatest number of abortions.  Then, as the number of abortions declined, the child abuse rate declined with it, to its current 10.1 per thousand children annually.11

In other words, the child abuse rate more than quintupled after Roe v. Wade and declined as the number abortions fell ― which means that there is a direct correlation between abortion and child abuse, the opposite of what the pro-abortionists promised us.

This is logical.  When people begin to think of preborn children as mere disposable “things” right up until the moment of birth, this attitude naturally carries over to born children.


The True Value of Our Children

“Every child a wanted child” should mean that every unborn child is loved for who he or she is, not subject to disposal if inconvenient to the lives of the parents.

One common charge pro-abortionists make is that pro-lifers don’t care about children after they’re born.  But conservatives contribute much more of their time and effort to assisting others than do more liberal people.  By fighting abortion, pro-lifers are contributing indirectly to saving the lives of born children by educating Americans as to the value of all human life.

+ Endnotes

[1] Margaret Sanger. Woman and the New Race [New York City:  Brentano’s], 1920, Chapter VI, “Cries of Despair and Society’s Problems,” page 74.

[2] “Once the German mothers had submitted to the plea for overbreeding, it was inevitable that imperialistic Germany should make war. Once the battalions of unwanted babies came into existence ― babies whom the mothers did not want but which they bore as a “patriotic duty” ― it was too late to avoid international conflict.  The great crime of imperialistic Germany was its high birth rate.  “It has always been so.  Behind all war has been the pressure of population” [Margaret Sanger.  Woman and the New Race [New York City:  Brentano’s], 1920, Chapter XIII, “Battalions of Unwanted Babies the Cause of War,” pages 157 and 158].

[3] Lawrence Abortion [New York City:  The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc.], 1966, page 165.

[4] Robert McClure, former Moderator of the United Church of Canada, quoted in Blodwen Piercy. “Who Are the ANTI-CHOICE and Why Do They Do What They Do?”  Humanist in Canada, Autumn 1989, pages 3 to 5.

[5] Geraldine Ferraro, quoted in Patrick Buchanan. “Mother Church, Daughter Geraldine.”  The Washington Times, August 1, 1984, page 2C.

[6] Excerpts from an interview of Peter Singer by Viktor Frolke. “Professor Death.”  com Books, June 25, 2001; Dr. James Watson, director of the Human Genome Project, quoted in “Universal ‘Remedy.'”  Humanity [New Zealand], April 1997, page 10.

[7] Francis Crick, quoted in Pacific News Service, January 1978.

[8] James D. Watson. Time Magazine, May 28, 1973, page 104.  Also see “Children from the Laboratory.”  Prism, May 1973, page 13.

[9] Joseph Fletcher. “Infanticide and the Ethics of Loving Concern.”  Infanticide and the Value of Life.  Prometheus Books, 1978.  Quoted by C. Everett Koop, M.D.  “The Slide to Auschwitz.”  Human Life Review, Summer 1982, page 36.

[10] P.W. McClain, J.J. Sacks, R.G. Froehlke and B.G. Ewigman. “Estimates of Fatal Child Abuse and Neglect, United States, 1979 through 1988.”  Pediatrics, February 1993, pages 338-343.

[11] For an Excel spreadsheet with child abuse statistics and calculations for each year from 1972 to 2009, e-mail Brian Clowes at and ask for spreadsheet F-06-01.

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.

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