Researchers at the University of North Carolina published a paper showing that abortion is the leading cause of death in the United States, far surpassing heart disease and cancer. This finding comes in a research paper as part of United States vital statistics because abortions, which end the life of unique human beings with beating hearts, are not classified as deaths. The UNC researchers make a compelling case that abortions should be classified as deaths, a revision to vital statistics that would highlight the severity of the public health hazard of abortion, especially for minorities.
Researchers James Studnicki, Sharon J. MacKinnon, and John W. Fisher write, “There is no credible scientific opposition to the fact that a new genetically distinct human organism begins with fertilization and that, simply stated, human life begins at conception.” From this, the authors show, even abortion activists acknowledge that abortion results in a human death.
In their research, they analyzed how abortion deaths compared to other causes of death and how abortion affects years of potential life lost (a measure of the years from age of premature death and statistical index age). Finally, they examined how these findings applied disparately to different racial and ethnic groups, specifically, non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks, and Hispanic populations.
In the United States each year, abortions result for more than 1.5 million deaths. By contrast, the current leading causes of death, heart disease and cancer, accounted for 599,413 and 567,628 respectively in 2009, the year the study analyzed. As the single leading cause of death, abortion comprised 32.1 percent of all deaths in 2009. Commenting on the research, Paul Stark observes, “Disturbingly, among African Americans, abortions made up 61.1 percent of total deaths; among Hispanics, they accounted for 64 percent.”
These figures begin to quantify the disproportionate effect of abortion on minority populations. The contrast between populations becomes even more stark when researchers examined the effect on overall years lost to abortion deaths.
Using 75 years as the average lifespan, the team calculated that 68.4 million years of potential life are lost to abortion. This accounts for almost 80 percent of all years lost in 2009. By contrast, cancer accounted for 4.4 million years, about five percent of the years of potential life lost. This makes sense intuitively, because abortion ends a human life at the very beginning of life, while cancer often occurs in older populations.
Applying the years of potential life lost to racial and ethnic minorities shows that abortions account for 63.1% of years of potential life lost for non-Hispanic Whites. This seems like a staggering number, until researchers show that among non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanic populations, abortion accounts for 86.5% and 87.4% of the years of potential life lost respectively. In other words, almost 90% of the years lost to premature death among minority populations in the United States can be attributed to abortion.
The team of researchers write, “Large racial and ethnic differences have been consistently observed in abortion rates for a number of years, and the overall incidence of the abortion procedure suggests that it is, in fact, a consequential influence on the size and composition of the U.S. population.” They note that identifying specific causes of mortality can result in changes to public policy and resource allocation. As such, they conclude, “The exclusion of a major cause of death from the vital statistics system, especially one with large racial and ethnic disparities, should be a major concern to the scientific community and society as a whole.”
The researchers’ findings highlight the public health implications of legal abortion, implications that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities. Pro-Lifers have long argued that abortion does not empower women and violently ending a human life is not necessary for their advancement. Looking at abortion data and the effect on the U.S. population confirms that abortion, in fact, harms populations, especially those most vulnerable. If any other “procedure” eliminated 90 percent of the years of potential life from a minority population, no one would support that as necessary for women’s health. And yet, the abortion industry continues to do just that.