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The Anti-Abortion Movement is Tiny



TRANSCRIPT

Almost every public opinion survey done on abortion reveals that about 10 - 20% of American adults believe abortion is always wrong. That is, only about 15% of America is truly anti-abortion. That’s about 50 million people. If you subtract everyone under the age of 15 or over the age of 65 that leaves 32.5 million American adults who are anti-abortion, and in a stage of life when they can do something about it. A minority to be sure, but a very large minority.


Yet of this population of pro-life people, very, very few are actually involved in anti-abortion activity beyond merely praying, voting and donating. We can know this because pro-life organizations are almost all registered as non-profits and therefore their tax returns are a matter of public record. Also, over the years various think tanks have compiled data on the movement and published those findings online. For the sake of making my point, in this video I’m going to consider almost every facet of anti-abortion activity to be part of one single movement, even though as I’ve said elsewhere, much of that movement is engaged in dramatically ineffective activities.


By far the largest segment of the movement are those who work at pregnancy help centers. A 2020 publication by the Charlotte Lozier Institute claims that pregnancy help centers employ almost 15,000 paid staff or about 5 per center. Every other facet of the movement is much, much smaller. Having pulled the tax returns of every anti-abortion organization I can think of, I found only 1,390 paid employees. So that’s a total of 16,390 people drawing a paycheck.


Volunteer numbers are much harder to estimate, because organizations often grossly inflate the number of volunteers they claim are working with them and because the same people are often volunteering with multiple organizations. Just for the heck of it, let's assume that the reported numbers are accurate and that each and every volunteer is exclusive to that organization. If you add up the 54,000 people who supposedly volunteer at pregnancy help centers, the 7,000 people who supposedly volunteer with the various right to life groups, the 200,000 people who supposedly sidewalk counsel and the 52,000 folks who are supposedly involved with other activities, that’s about 313,000 pro-life volunteers. Add that to the paid employees already mentioned for a grand total of 329,390 pro-life workers throughout America. That’s the absolute maximum. It’s also highly inaccurate.


If we don’t take the reported numbers at face value but read between the lines a bit, things look a lot different. Regular anti-abortion volunteering is not very common. For instance there is no way each of the nation’s 3,000 pregnancy help centers has 18 regularly serving volunteers. Lots of those places aren’t even open most days. 40 Days for Life claims 200,000 volunteers but as we all know this includes everybody who showed up even just once to pray outside an abortion mill during the course of a year. And most of the 7,000 volunteers reported by our nation’s right to life groups are, I guarantee you, only involved in political campaigns during election years. So if you account for all this and reduce the numbers accordingly, a somewhat more realistic estimate would be about 35,000 anti-abortion volunteers total. Add that to the paid employees and our new grand total is only 51,340 people.


Our high estimate is about 1% of the entire adult pro-life population. Our somewhat more realistic estimate is less than .16% of the entire adult pro-life population. That means only 0.16 - 1% of those who believe abortion is always wrong are doing anything to stop it on a regular basis. Everyone else is, like I said, engaged in nothing more strenuous than praying, voting every couple years, and sometimes paying someone else to take action.


Now, please remember that the actual US population is over 334 million people, and only about 15% of them are fully against abortion. The rest, about 284 million, are either pro-choice or don’t really care. That means we’ve probably got 51K people trying to influence the habits and culture of 284 million. One of us for every 5.5K of them. I don’t like those odds.


I’m not yet sure how this compares to other successful social movements in American history. Maybe there is no fair way to compare them. But what is clear is that most pro-life people are not acting upon their principles. The anti-abortion movement is tiny. Most of us are living lives not greatly affected by the ongoing barbarism that is baby killing. Our movement is anything but “all hands on deck”. And I can’t help but wonder how much more successful we’d be, if more of us actually got serious.


The Revelation 3:2 Project challenges all pro-life people to dedicate at least 2% of each week (or 3.5 hours per week) to the goal of ending abortion. Visit GetSeriousChurch.com and click on Efforts We Endorse to learn how.


Thank you.


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