Sunday 21st December 2014

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The Beauty Of Statistics On Abortion”

May 15, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By BRIAN CLOWES

(Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 19 of The Facts of Life, “United States Abortion Statistics,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.)

+    +    +

Edward Tufte, a professor emeritus at Yale, is an information guru. He travels the world teaching people the art of “data visualization,” or how to most effectively present the power and the beauty of evidence. His work highlights the fact that the battle over social issues is largely one of images that activists from all sides attempt to establish in people’s minds.
No battle is more rich in imagery than the struggle over abortion. We have seen everything from coat-hangers to roses, ultrasound photos of preborn babies, faked photos of women killed by illegal abortions, panel trucks with giant bloody aborted baby pictures on them, and NARAL’s “Silent No More” debacle, where weeping women described in great detail the suffering of their (mostly imaginary) women relatives at the filthy hands of drunk illegal abortionists.
We pro-lifers can increase the impact of our message if we cultivate our “visual literacy.” The average pro-lifer doesn’t have access to the sophisticated technical equipment needed to make his arguments visually gorgeous, but he does have the power of imagination.
And this is one of the critical tools that will win the abortion battle in the end — our imaginations. As none other than Joseph Stalin said, “Ideas are more powerful than guns.”
Stalin also said: “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” This is the problem pro-lifers face when talking about abortion statistics. If we can’t get people to care about “X” millions of dead preborn babies, we will never get them interested in specific unborn babies that they will never see.
Pro-abortionists tend to strongly resist using hard facts and statistics because they do not support the “pro-choice” position. Instead, they ignore facts and statistics and lean on emotional appeals and feelings to make their points.
When we use documented statistics backed up by visual imagery during written or oral attempts to persuade, we elevate the debate above emotions and appeal directly to logic and reason. No pro-abortionist can refute documented statistics — especially when they originate with pro-abortion sources, which eliminates the inevitable accusations of “anti-choice bias.”
Using Word Pictures in Discussions. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words has never been more important, because people these days are persuaded by imagery, not words. Therefore, we can increase our impact by painting vivid “word pictures” to illustrate our points during discussions or debates. A pro-lifer makes a tremendous impact on listeners by using his imagination to relate the abortion issue to everyday images that people are familiar with. In other words, we can frame the issue in terms that people understand and will therefore remember.
As of January 1, 2014, there have been 55.7 million legal surgical and medical abortions in the United States since the first states legalized prenatal child killing in 1967.
The worst year was 1990 with 1,608,600 abortions; since then, the number of abortions has declined almost every year to the current level of just over a million annually, partly due to never-ending pro-life efforts and partly due to the “ripple effect” of having fewer young women who are aborting. This phenomenon is itself a reflection of the sad fact that there are fewer young women because many of their would-have-been mothers were themselves aborted 15 to 20 years previously.
The Vietnam Memorial. You might get people thinking by asking if they have visited the National Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. This memorial is a shiny black wall that stretches 492 feet and lists the names of the 58,209 Americans killed in that war. If such a wall listed the names of the 55.7 million babies legally killed by surgical and medical abortions in the United States since 1966, it would be 90 miles long! And a wall that commemorated the 2.3 billion preborn babies wiped out by surgical and medical abortions worldwide since 1960 would stretch 3,723 miles — from coast to coast, from Los Angeles to New York City, with a thousand miles to spare.
Cemeteries for Preborn Babies. Pro-life activists frequently set up temporary displays of thousands of crosses representing the number of preborn babies killed by abortions in the United States every day. These crosses make a riveting display of the brutal reality of abortion (at least until they are torn down by pro-abortion vandals).
If standard burial plots were allocated to each preborn child killed by surgical abortion in the United States, the resulting cemetery would cover 300 square miles. If there were a cemetery for all of the 2.3 billion preborn babies killed by surgical abortions in the world since 1959, it would cover more than 12,500 square miles — larger than the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, or Vermont. But, because of “freedom of choice,” these billions of children will never see the light of day.
Holding Hands. If these 55.7 million babies had been born and had grown up, then got together to hold hands, the resulting line would stretch around the world at the Equator more than two and a half times — more than 64,000 miles!
A Much Larger “Quilt Project.” For several years, American homophile activists promoted the “Quilt Project,” where 3 foot by 6 foot rectangles of cloth decorated with the stories of victims’ lives were laid side by side. The primary purposes of this project were to generate sympathy and show the magnitude of the AIDS epidemic. The largest such display to date has covered an area equivalent to a football field. If 55.7 million of these quilts were laid down adjacent to each other, one for each aborted preborn baby, it would cover an area of 36 square miles!
This quilt would easily blanket the central districts of any large city. You can mention landmarks bounding this area in the appropriate city in order to strengthen your point. For example, let us suppose that a circular quilt commemorating all of the preborn babies in the United States who have died from abortion were laid over Washington, D.C., centering on the White House. This quilt would cover Crystal City and Reagan National Airport in the South, the Smithsonian Zoo in the North, all of Georgetown in the West, and the National Arboretum to the East.
The “Marching Aborted.” During the height of the population scare in the late 1960s, bigoted anti-population alarmists sometimes referred to their fear of “the marching Chinese.” They meant that the population of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was increasing so fast (21 million per year at that time) that the Chinese could march two abreast past a single point and never have the same person pass twice.
We can adapt this concept to describe the magnitude of the “marching aborted.” There are about 46 million surgical and medical abortions committed all over the world annually. If these children marched past one point continuously for 24 hours a day, they would be four abreast.
Crashing School Buses. Population control groups allege that 300,000 women die of illegal abortions all over the world each year. They say that this is equivalent to the death toll of a fully loaded jumbo jet crashing every 12 hours, year-round, with no survivors. We can adapt this visual imagery for our own purposes. For example, any community would mourn for weeks if a school bus full of 50 of its children crashed, killing all inside. If we assume that the abortion mills in this country are operating 50 hours per week, 50 babies are killed every eight minutes! A pro-life debater could also tailor this image to a local abortuary — for example, one which killed 2,500 babies every year would be equivalent to a 50-child school bus crashing every week.
The Dead States. In the United States, abortionists have killed a number of children equal 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. A map of the United States with all of these states blacked out is a real attention grabber. This gives an audience some idea of the colossal magnitude of the abortion disaster.
But if someone thinks that this is not particularly impressive since these states are the most sparsely populated in the United States, consider this: Surgical abortion has killed enough preborn children to populate six of the largest American cities and their surrounding population centers: Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., whose combined populations are about 56 million.
Visual imagery can also be very effective when we discuss other abortion statistics, such as abortions for the “hard cases,” abortions among minorities, and late-term abortions. This will be the topic of the next column.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

CACG: Faux Catholic Front Group Still An Outsider?

At Catholic World Report Anne Hendershott revisits the notorious democrat front group, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and gives us an idea of their set of 2016 tricks. Promising yet again to “move beyond partisan and ideological divisions,”…Continue Reading

The Catholic Weakness

A large proportion of traditional, Mass-going Catholics don’t believe basic Church doctrine. Why not? By Maggie Gallagher   Last week I wrote about one piece of data that jumped out from the Austin Institute’s fascinating new study, Relationships in America:…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke . . . “The Church depends on sound Catholic family life, and it depends on sound Catholic families.”

An Interview with Cardinal Burke  On Vatican II Q. Your Eminence, you grew up before the Second Vatican Council. How do you remember those times? A. I grew up in a very beautiful time in the Church, in which we…Continue Reading

Did Pope Francis really say all dogs go to heaven? UPDATED

That nice man, Pope Francis, says you get to see your pets again in Heaven. But Pope Benedict is a mean old Grinch who wants to remove the animals from your Nativity scene Christmas decorations. Oh, really? Please don’t believe…Continue Reading

Catholic Church in Australia links celibacy to child abuse

By Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney, and Nick Squires in Rome 8:04PM GMT 12 Dec 2014 Priests’ vows of celibacy may have led to paedophilia, the Roman Catholic Church in Australia has said, in what is believed to be the first such…Continue Reading

Pope Calls For More ‘Integration’ Of Divorced Catholics, Gays

By Francis X. Rocca Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said that the Catholic Church must consider various ways to integrate the divorced and civilly remarried in the life of the church — not merely allowing them…Continue Reading

‘I’m not worried’ about resistance, Pope Francis says in new interview

Vatican City, Dec 7, 2014 / 11:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an interview with the Argentine daily “La Nacion” published Sunday, Pope Francis spoke on a variety of topics, giving specific attention to the ongoing reform of the Roman Curia,…Continue Reading

Catholic Church Severs Ties with Agency over Gay Adoption Ruling

The Catholic Church in Northern Ireland is pulling the plug on a long-standing relationship with the Family Care Society, a Catholic adoption agency, after a judge ruled that all adoption services must be willing to place children with same-sex couples…Continue Reading

Reaction to Chicago archbishop’s remarks on pro-abort pols receiving Communion

n a radical departure from the position of Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Blase Cupich – said to have been handpicked by Pope Francis for Chicago – has presented giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians as a positive move. Asked Sunday…Continue Reading

Pope Francis dodges reporter’s question on treatment of homosexuality in Synod’s controversial mid-term report

Since the conclusion of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, reporters around the world have been wondering where Pope Francis stands on the controversial language about homosexuality in the mid-term Synod report.  The opportunity to ask the pope…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cupich Says Yes to Communion for Pro-Abortion Politicians

In October of last year veteran Italian journalist Sandro Magister wrote of the new path that many believed the Church was embarking upon. Magister observed: “In Italy, but not only there, it was the cardinal and Jesuit Carlo Maria Martini…Continue Reading

Francis calls for a change mentality in the Church, easier homilies and flexible times

Francis addresses participants of the International Pastoral Congress on the World’s Big Cities: “Go out and facilitate”, don’t be afraid of multicultural contexts or of proclaiming Jesus DOMENICO AGASSO JR ROME Francis was honest from the start: “I don’t want…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope Francis receives John XXIII Community

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received nearly 8 thousand members and associates of the Pope St. John XXIII Community on Saturday. Now recognized as an Association of Lay Faithful, the  Pope John XXIII Community was founded by Fr. Oreste Benzi of the clergy of the Diocese of Rimini in 1968, on the basis of his decade of experience with young people…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: The Church Is Not An Entrepreneur But A Mother

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis said on Friday that there is much sterility within the Church and the people of God, a sterility that comes from power and egoism.  The Church, he stressed, is a mother and not an entrepreneur. His remarks came during his homily at morning Mass celebrated at the Santa Marta residence. The Pope’s reflections on the themes…Continue Reading

General Audience: Jesus Chose To Come To The World As Part Of A family

POPE700

Vatican City, 17 December 2014 (VIS) – The family is the “great gift that the Lord has given to the world ever since the beginning, when he entrusted to Adam and Eve the mission of multiplying and filling the earth; the gift that Jesus confirmed and sealed in His Gospel”, said the Holy Father during this Wednesday’s general audience, in…Continue Reading

Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!

pope693

(Vatican Radio) There was a festive atmosphere at the weekly General Audience on Wednesday, as Pope Francis celebrated his 78th birthday. As he made his way through the crowds, Pope Francis stopped by a group of seminarians from the Legion of Christ, who offered him a birthday cake, complete with lighted candles. The Holy Father also took the opportunity to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Piacenza To Confessors.. Remember The Priceless Ministry Of Confession At Christmas

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Here is a letter to confessors from Mauro Cardinal Piacenza, major penitentiary, released Gaudete Sunday, December 14. In the letter, the cardinal emphasized that “the time of Advent, and especially the days of the beautiful novena of Christmas, are characterized by a particularly attentive waiting, not only by men for God…but…Continue Reading

Archbishop Of Karachi . . . Says “The Taliban Will Stop At Nothing Now”

By JOHN PONTIFEX LONDON (ACN News) — Innocent people in Pakistan — young and old alike — are now at increased risk of terrorist attack, according to the leader of the country’s Catholics, who has called on the government to step up security in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre. Archbishop Joseph Coutts of…Continue Reading

Ten Complacent Maxims

By DONALD DeMARCO Mark Strand, Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. poet laureate, passed away recently (November 29, 2014). He was a staunch atheist, declaring that he had never met God and had never been to Heaven. He said: “Although there are a lot of people claiming that God is telling them what to do,…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Abortifacient Brief: Depo-Provera”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 2 of The Facts of Life, “Abortifacients,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Depo-Provera is an injectable contraceptive drug that sometimes has an abortifacient effect. It also possesses…Continue Reading

An Advent Reflection . . . The Very Visible Sin Of Gluttony

By REY FLORES Ever since I can remember, I have always had a problem with the fluctuation of my weight. As a child, my nickname was “Gordo,” which means fat in Spanish. I wasn’t bothered when my own family called me that, but it did bother me when the other school kids would make fun…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Canon Of Scripture

By DON FIER Part 2 We ended last week’s installment by showing that the apostles and early Christians accepted the 46-book Septuagint as the authentic Old Testament right from the Church’s beginning. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches, these 46 divinely inspired books constitute “an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture” (CCC, n. 121) and “bear witness to…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Questions And Answers About Christmas Q. Do we know the exact year in which Jesus was born? A. No, we do not. In the sixth century, a monk named Dionysius Exiguus drew up a calendar that fixed the birth of Christ in the Roman year 753, but scholars today agree that Dionysius miscalculated by a few years. So it is…Continue Reading

The Law Of The Lord

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Feast Of The Holy Family (YR B) Readings: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 Col. 3:12-21 Luke 2: 22-40 Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. In a particular way this refers to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. However, it also refers to all families that are striving to live according to the ways of holiness and truth.…Continue Reading

Pope’s Message For World Day of Peace . . . “No Longer Slaves, But Brothers”

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Here is the text of Pope Francis’ message for the 48th World Day of Peace, which is celebrated on January 1, 2015. For a text with footnotes, go to www.zenit.org. + + + At the beginning of this New Year, which we welcome as God’s gracious gift to all humanity, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . True Joy Awards Intense Preparation For Christmas

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK With the arrival of these days of late Advent, we have already journeyed through the Solemnity of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception and Gaudete, or joy, Sunday. We have taken the opportunity to deepen our love and devotion for our heavenly Mother in celebrating the singular prevenient grace of God that equipped her unique preparation for…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Urban V

By CAROLE BRESLIN The year 1309 marked the beginning of the Avignon papacy, under Pope Clement V, who was French. The Popes of Avignon built a papal palace, increasing it in size over the next 70 years. The first crack in the control of the papacy by the French began when Pope Urban V left Avignon to reside in Rome…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Sabbas

By CAROLE BRESLIN Silence. Quiet. The search for peace, serenity, and calm has led many in today’s world to take up Yoga, Eastern mysticism, or life in remote areas to escape the noise of our modern world. This is not a modern quest. The quest for quiet has been with man for millennia. Although St. Anthony the Great (died 356)…Continue Reading

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading