UNITED STATES: by Bill MuehlenbergNews Weekly
Record number of abortion facilities closed in 2013
, February 1, 2014
While everyone concerned about the slaughter of the innocents would like to see an end to all abortions, often an incremental approach is how the pro-life war is being won. Many recent battles for life have indeed been successful, and we should all celebrate these very real victories along the way.
What follows is primarily about the scene in America, but other nations have also experienced some wins during the past few years. And we can all take encouragement from what the pro-lifers in the United States are doing. They are making some real headway, and we need to learn from their successes.
One of the big stories from there concerns the number of abortion clinics closed in 2013. A very helpful website called AbortionDocs.org lists all the clinics opening and closing in the U.S., and it has found that 93 clinics were shut down in 2013. Of these, 87 were surgical abortion clinics, and six were medical abortion clinics (www.JillStanek.com, December 23, 2013).
After this record year, it was announced on January 1, 2014, that the Fort Wayne Women’s Health Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, would be the next surgical abortion clinic to officially shut down (LifeNews.com, January 3, 2014).
One report states: “The total number of surgical abortion clinics in U.S. fell 12% to 582 in 2013 — a 73% decline from a high of 2,176 in 1991. Texas led all states with 11 closures in 2013, most of which shut down after Texas passed an abortion law earlier this year that required abortionists to maintain local hospital privileges.
“New clinic safety rules in Pennsylvania and Maryland also prompted closures in those states. ‘The numbers don’t lie. A 73% drop in surgical abortion clinics is a significant loss. We are witnessing the death throes of the abortion cartel,’ said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, which conducted the study.”
The report quotes Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, as saying, “We have been teaching for the last two decades that abortion collapses under its own weight, and that the weak point is precisely the abortion mill. In this year when the horrifying nature of the abortion industry came to light in the Gosnell trial and when so many state laws increased the standards for abortion mills, we see that coming true more than ever” (CNSNews.com, December 29, 2013).
Randall O’Bannon comments, “The industry tried to pass Philadelphia doctor Dr Kermit Gosnell off as one ‘rogue’ operator, but stories surfaced of other abortionists accused of similar gruesome practices. Spokespeople for Planned Parenthood acted appalled, but neglected to tell people that more than thirty of its own clinics advertise and perform second-trimester abortions. While at least a dozen more of its clinics do abortions on babies at twenty weeks or older — and some of these offer to help women find abortionists willing to abort them after 24 weeks!” (National Right to Life: News Today, December 31, 2013).
Bloomberg Business Week did a cover story on this late last year, and explained the closings this way: “New laws are responsible for roughly half of the closures, while declining demand, industry consolidation, and crackdowns on unfit providers have also contributed to the drop” (Bloomberg Businessweek, November 27, 2013).
The pro-death camp is quite aware of all this, and their own studies paint a bleak picture for them. The Guttmacher Institute (a pro-abortion think tank connected to Planned Parenthood), admitted that 2013 capped a “three-year trend that saw more laws passed limiting abortion than in the previous 10 years combined”.
Kirsten Anderson of LifeSiteNews.com has commented: “According to the group’s year-end report, 205 new abortion restrictions became law in the last three years, 70 in 2013 alone, making last year second only to 2011 as the most pro-life year across the state legislatures since Roe v. Wade. In the decade 2001-2010, only 189 similar restrictions were enacted” (Kirsten Anderson, LifeSiteNews.com, January 3, 2014).
This is all great news, but of course much more needs to be done. At least, however, abortion mills are closing and lives are being saved. That alone should motivate all pro-lifers from around the globe to keep on keeping on. We need to redouble our efforts, and never give up until every baby is safe while in the womb.
But it is not just America which is making headlines here. Internationally the abortion lobby is also suffering defeats. Consider just one example of this. Austin Ruse informs us that, against all the odds, “abortion is losing at the United Nations”.
This is how he begins his recent article: “Pro-abortion forces have spent hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man-hours in the past twenty years and they have not advanced their agenda even a single syllable past what they got at the Cairo Conference in 1994.
“Let that sink in for a moment, because it is something that haunts the days and nights of the UN Population Fund and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. They have dedicated a significant portion of their lives to establish an international right to abortion and all they have achieved is vague language on reproductive health and rights that most countries soundly reject as having anything to do with abortion. They are no nearer to an international right to abortion than they were when they began.
“What’s more, they have even begun to see their slight gains fade. Two years ago the UN hosted the 20-year review of the Rio Conference on the environment. Delegates rejected language related to reproductive rights. Hillary Clinton denounced the outcome document as did many other pro-abortion figures including Nafis Sadik, former head of the UN Population Fund.
“In the past several months the UN Population Fund has hosted regional conferences in preparation for the upcoming negotiations for new development goals and the 20-year review of the Cairo Conference. These stage-managed regional meetings are full of radical pro-abortion language. How have these documents been received by delegates in New York? With polite disdain” (C-FAM, January 2, 2014).
That is certainly great news. But of course all this did not come about by accident. It is not that the pro-death camp has gone quiet or eased up on its efforts. It is because pro-lifers have rolled up their sleeves and got to work. A small army of committed pro-lifers have been working like mad to defend the unborn, and their efforts are starting to pay off.
All over the world a dedicated band of men and women have worked hard and long to speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. And all their activity, efforts and very hard work are producing real, noticeable fruit. That should simply spur us on to more action in the future.
Much has been accomplished, but much remains to be done. So while we rejoice in a bumper year of pro-life activism and results, we dare not rest on our laurels. Many more people need to get involved in this most important of human rights issues.
U.S. President Ronald Reagan had it exactly right back in 1984 when he said, “The real question today is not when human life begins, but, What is the value of human life? The abortionist who reassembles the arms and legs of a tiny baby to make sure all of its parts have been torn from its mother’s body can hardly doubt whether it is a human being. The real question for him and for all of us is whether that tiny human life has a God-given right to be protected by the law — the same right we have.”
Or, as U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (Republican, Florida) said much more recently: “In this battle between the right to choose and the right to live, the only ones who can vote are the ones with the right to choose. The only ones who can participate in the political process are the ones with the right to choose. An unborn child can’t vote; an unborn child can’t speak.
“Actually, they can. You speak for them. That’s what you are. In this competition between two competing sets of rights, you are the voice of children that cannot speak for themselves.”
Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at: www.billmuehlenberg.com
Kirsten Anderson, “More pro-life laws passed in last two years than in the previous decade, pro-abortion study finds”, LifeSiteNews.com, January 3, 2014.
Craig Bannister, “Record 87 surgical abortion clinics close in 2013 — total drops 73% from 1991 high”, CNSNews.com (Cybercast News Service, Reston, Virginia), December 29, 2013.
Esmé E. Deprez, “The vanishing abortion clinic”, Bloomberg Businessweek, November 27, 2013.
Randall K. O’Bannon, “2013: Clinics close, abortions drop, an industry retrenches”, NRL News Today (National Right to Life, U.S.), December 31, 2013.
Austin Ruse, “Abortion is losing at the UN”, C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, U.S.), January 2, 2014.
Cheryl Sullenger, “First abortion clinic closes in 2014 after record number closed in 2013”, LifeNews.com, January 3, 2014.
Jill Stanek, “Breaking: 93 abortion clinics closed in 2013”, www.JillStanek.com, December 23, 2013.