Michael-VorisSeveral months ago Michael Voris admirably apologized for an unintentional gaffe he made in one of his ChurchMilitant.TV videos.

Voris’s March 10 video, “Abortion change?” calls for a similar retraction.

I’d call Voris a friend. We have tussled over the Catholic/Protestant issue a time or two, but I always look forward to sitting down with him for a beer when we’re in the same place. I admire his courage and conviction.

I contacted Voris to give him a heads up about this post, and I appreciate his attempt to respond, but we seemed to talk past each other.

Nevertheless, I cannot let his numerous false statements made against the pro-life movement go answered.

Here was the premise of Voris’s video:

When it comes to the specific issue of abortion, a serious look has to be given to the entire state of the movement. Forty-two years and counting, and nothing has changed of significance.

I agree more could be done, and mistakes have been made. But the examples Voris listed as evidence to demonstrate the pro-life movement’s failures were inaccurate. Citing no sources, Voris claimed neither the number nor rate of abortions is declining, nor is the number of abortion clinics.

Students for Life of America has ably addressed Voris’s numerous misstatements, and I’d like to add my two cents as well.

Voris claim #1: The number of U.S. abortions isn’t actually decreasing, because annual totals do not include chemical abortions, only surgical.

Per Voris, emphasis his:

In the United States, reports indicate that chemical or medical abortions are 25% of the number of surgical abortions. That means you have to look at the number of surgical abortions and add 25% of that number back in to the surgical abortion number to arrive at the true number of total abortions.

So, in 2011, the last year for which the number of chemical abortion numbers are available, there were 1,058,000 surgical abortions in the U.S. If you take 25% of that… roughly, 250,000, and add it back to the 1,058,000 thousands, you get right around 1.3 million total abortions. 1.3 total abortions is the annual number from the year 2000 before chemical abortions became widely available.

So, there hasn’t been any real change in the overall number of abortions, just the type of abortions being done.

This is mostly wrong. Voris didn’t list his source, but the 1.058 and 1.3 million figures came from Guttmacher, and Guttmacher clearly indicated it included chemical abortions in its totals – with the exception of hospitals, for which numbers were not available, but which reportedly commit only 4% of all abortions:

Between April 2012 and May 2013, we surveyed the known universe of abortion providers in the United States….

All respondents were asked the number of induced abortions that were performed in their facilities in 2010 and 2011, and whether early medication abortions (defined as procedures at or before nine weeks’ gestation) were offered. Clinic and physician providers (but not hospital providers) were also asked about the number of early medication abortions performed, with separate items for mifepristone, methotrexate and misoprostol alone….

We asked fewer questions of hospitals because hospital informants typically have access to less information about the specifics of abortion service provision. Information restricted to nonhospital facilities represents the experience of most women having abortions, since these providers performed 96% of all abortions in 2008.

Guttmacher’s abortion numbers have never included chemical abortions at hospitals, so its totals from year to year use the same sources – apples to apples.

Also important is the population of the United States has increased by 100 million since 1970 – up from 200 million to 300+ million today. This means more women are having fewer abortions.

Voris claim #2: The rate of abortion isn’t going down either.

Per Voris:

Why is it that various pro-life organizations are so quick to tout headlines saying, “Abortion rates decline,”when the reality is that’s only half the story. It’s just surgical abortions, not overall abortions, declining. At the end of the day, roughly the same number of children are dying.

But, referring back to Guttmacher, both the rate (abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44) and ratio (abortions per 100 pregnancies) are declining along with the number, which, again, includes chemical abortions (from Y2K onward anyways, the year RU-486 was legalized)…

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Voris claim #3: The number of abortion clinics isn’t declining either.

Per Voris, emphasis his:

When you hear about various abortion chambers closing up or going out of business, don’t be so quick to let your thoughts carry you to wrong conclusions. Many abortuaries close up because the demand for surgical abortions has been substituted for by the demand for chemical abortions.

But we do keep track of the number of both chemical and surgical abortion clinics. Of course the number of chemical abortion clinics has gone up. Chemical abortions weren’t legal before 2000. But the total number of abortion clinics is still drastically down, from a high of 2,176 in 1991 to 737 at last count….


Voris also said opinions on abortion haven’t changed much. SFLA listed several charts and stats to indicate otherwise.

Voris concluded, “A whole new strategy needs to be devised, because the day of ‘no abortions, no exceptions’ is just as illusory and out of reach as it was on that fateful day of January 22, 1973. We are doing something wrong.”

I’m all for new strategies and see many emerging.

But here’s the thing. By all measurable standards Voris proposed, we are winning. The number, rate, and ratio of abortions is down, the number of abortion clinics is down, and public opinion is changing for the better.

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