Ten Surprising Facts concerning the Abortion Controversy in America

By Ryan C. MacPherson, Ph.D.

Presented for the Annual Meeting of Lutherans for Life (Central Minnesota District) at Trinity Lutheran Chruch, Sauk Rapids, MN, 17 Jan. 2010.
Presented at Trinity Lutheran Church, Belle Plaine, MN, 20 Feb. 2010.
Presented at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, MN, 29 March 2010.



This presentation reveals ten key transformations in the fields of medicine, politics, and theology that have resulted in the legalization and widespread practice of abortion. The course of history would have been difficult to predict. Now looking back on 37 years of legalized abortion in America, one can discern several surprising developments that explain why Roe v. Wade remains the “law of the land.” These historical insights also may suggest what defenders of life can do at such a time as this.



  1. The legalization of abortion arose from the legalization of contraception, despite a promise to the contrary (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965).
  2. Teen pregnancy rates increased after abortion was legalized … but birth rates decreased.
  3. Abortion has remained legal in the United States because five influential people did not want the Supreme Court to admit that it had made a mistake in Roe v. Wade or to inconvenience women who were pursuing careers (Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 1992).
  4. The “exceptions” in pro-life legislation and pro-life doctrinal statements undermine the rule (Doe v. Bolton, 1973).
  5. Surgical abortion is not the only form of abortion, nor is it necessarily the most common.
  6. Almost everyone has become “pro-choice,” even many of abortion’s opponents.
  7. On-demand access to abortion isolates women and hinders men from helping them, rather than liberating women or making women equal to men.
  8. “Reproductive health care” is neither reproductive, nor healthy, nor caring.
  9. Three of the most influential supporters of abortion have repented of their sins against the unborn and the women bearing them, and have received forgiveness in Christ.
  10. Lutheran theology, with its firm foundation in Scripture and its historic richness in the catechism and hymnal, points the way forward.


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