Doing the math: The cost of abortion

A June news report by Sharon Youngs, Communications Coordinator for the Office of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), announced that at the end of 2009, total  membership of the Presbyterian Church (USA) stood at 2,077, 138 (down 3 percent from the previous year. VaGentleman posted a comment to the article: Why would any reasonable Christian of traditional faith continue to worship with or support the mission of a denomination such as this? By this time next year PC(USA) is likely to have fewer than 2M members – the direct result of policies from the past 40 years.

What did he mean by "the policies of the past 40 years?" Being the Executive Director of a pro-life organization of PC(USA) members, I immediately thought of the erosion of the church’s historic and biblical stand against abortion. I was curious, so I did the math. Ordinarily numbers mean nothing to me compared to the spiritual health of the church. It is the latter that I believe is the true cause of our denomination’s decline, but even I was astonished at the numbers that resulted from my calculations. Here it is—straight from my tiny little desk calculator.

In 2009 the Presbyterian Board of Pensions spent $11,000 to cover abortion claims under the Medical Benefits Plan for employees (and their dependants) of PC(USA) churches and other entities. That amount represents between 7-26 abortions at rates charged in Pittsburgh abortion clinics. (Costs vary with the number of weeks of the pregnancy—from $420 for early abortions to $1500 at 19 weeks gestation.) Let’s say all those abortions were done early in the pregnancy. Suppose there were 26 children of PC(USA) pastors & their families aborted last year. Figuring that there are 11,000 churches in the denomination and just guessing that they average 3 employees per church who are covered by the Medical Benefits Plan, .08% of those individuals had abortions in 2009. That number seems insignificant, but it does not tell all.

Curious, I went a little further. I figured that .08% of the 2,077,138 members of the PC(USA) would be 1,662 and added that to the 26 abortions paid by the BOP in 2009 (1,688). Then I multiplied that number by 20 years (a generation). The result was 33,760 PC(USA) members lost to abortion over a 20 year period.
We all know, however, that every life touches and influences other lives. I went further. Suppose every one of those 33,760 persons, if they had been allowed to live, would have influenced one other person to join the PC(USA). Now we have a total of 67,520 persons. Suppose each of those persons married and had 2 children (202,560).

Imagine, then, that in the next 20 years each of those children brought one person into the PC(USA) and also married and had two children. We are now talking about 1,012,800 PC(USA) members aborted.

Yes, VaGentleman, the policies of the last 40 years have cost us immeasurable loss. The cost is spiritually first, but also numerical.


  1. Good article. However, you are preaching to the choir. As an expert in how people change, it has been obvious for decades that the leaders of the denomination find traditional biblical values repugnant and will change in only one direction; toward more liberal policies. Education will not work with our opponents when they are as educated as we but with every insight become even more committed to abortion.

    As a counselor on campus in the seventies we were urged to "educate" the students about drugs. That was advice that did not work because the students were experts in drugs but used anyway.

    What we conservatives have been doing for decades is not working. When shall we change our strategy?

  2. Gary, thanks for your comments. I apologize for the delay in responding--the auto notification feature was apparently not working.
    Just this morning I heard Chuck Swindoll quote something his father had said to him many times. "The dead still speak" he said, meaning that he continues to hear his father's voice in his mind. Truth does not always elicit an immediate response. Your points about the denomination only changing in one direction are an accurate reflection of what we now see, but for God!
    There are two reasons I can think of immediately for PPL to continue to work at educating the church on the Scriptural perspective on human life. One reason is that the "choir" needs to hear the message too! Those who agree with PPL's perspective are not immune to the subtle erosion of the culture--so we need to continue to educate so they may be equipped to stand. The second reason is that the calling of a prophet does not go away simply because one is not "winning". No one in PPL has been thrown into knee deep mud in a cistern as was Jeremiah or into a furnace as were Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego. So why would we stop "preaching" what we believe with deep conviction?
    That being said, it sounds as though you might have some ideas for new strategies and I would love for you to share those! Fresh new approaches are welcome!


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