A recently issued report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that abortion rates have reached a historic low since the legalization of abortion in 1973. From 2005 to 2014, rates fell 22 percent and only 1.3 percent of abortions in 2014 occurred after 20 weeks gestation.
While not all states submitted data for the report, the data should still be welcome news, especially for those actively engaged in the pro-life movement. Great strides have been made in recent years in the United States, especially in engaging a new generation of pro-lifers in the defense of life. However, the CDC report also indicates that a decline in the number of unintended pregnancies is due to a sharp increase in the use of long-term contraceptives. Thanks be to God that fewer innocent lives have been lost to abortion. Yet, our pro-life witness also requires an effort to defend the procreativity of the marital relationship against the tendency to limit child-bearing in the interest of practicality.
Our culture, tacitly or otherwise, can often present childbearing as a rival to personal fulfillment or flourishing, whereas our faith teaches that childbearing is a unique participation in the creativity of God himself. In this Advent season, a season marked by the joy and hope brought by the promise of new life, we should be willing to pledge our prayers, our encouragement and our material support to those who have chosen, often with great sacrifice, to generously welcome children into their families and the world.