Missouri abortions decline by 3.8 percent in 2004
By Allen Palmeri
August 23, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY– The number of resident Missouri abortions declined 3.8 percent in 2004 from 12,476 to 12,000, according to Missouri Department of Health Statistics released in August.
From 1998-2003, abortion numbers hovered in the 12,000-13,000 range. Rodney Albert, chairman, Christian Life Commission, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), said the decrease last year may indicate that Missouri is headed toward another year like 1975, when 11,077 abortions were performed.
“I would like to see a bigger drop, but every drop, a single percentage point in these statistics, represents human lives that are being saved,” he said. “Abortion is becoming rarer in Missouri, and we long for the day when we see those numbers even lower.”
The Missouri General Assembly will go into special session Sept. 6 to produce legislation designed to lower the number of abortions. Republican Gov. Matt Blunt, who attends Second Baptist Church, Springfield, is encouraging pro-life lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass a bill – or bills – he can sign in defense of the unborn.
“We stand on the verge of more legislation that is going to protect innocent children from certain death,” Albert said. “Decades of pro-life persistence are starting to really pay off and show us some solid gains. We have been touting this message for over 30 years and our culture is finally starting to get it. We finally have a culture that includes pro-life politicians in places of influence that rightly understand a developing human being inside a woman’s womb is worthy of legal protection.”
Joe Ulveling, MBC family ministries specialist, came alongside Albert with similarly worded sentiments about the drop in abortions.
“When people really understand what goes on, then they’re in shock,” Ulveling said. “People are becoming more educated. They’re becoming more aware of the issues.
“Anything on the downward trend is a positive, although it’s still a tragedy of lost lives—innocent, unborn babies.”
Since Jan. 22, 1973, the date of the United States Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, 46 million babies have been killed in America. That is one baby every 24 seconds over the course of 32 years, according to American Life League research. To mark the tragedy, the first-ever Pro-life Memorial Day will be observed Oct. 3. For more information, visit www.ProlifeMemorialDay.com.
Both Albert and Ulveling are encouraged that Blunt has been elected governor of Missouri through 2008. Republicans control both the state House of Representatives and Senate, and the vast majority of them along with several Democrats oppose abortions. The key to getting pro-life legislation passed, Missouri Baptist political observers have noted, is the leadership of a governor who has adjusted the priorities at the state Capitol to ensure that abortion policymaking is taken seriously. Blunt differs from his immediate predecessor in that he is not inclined to veto bills that place restrictions on abortions.
“I’m thankful for how he’s standing strong on this,” Ulveling said.
Missouri Baptist churches need to remain informed about the issue so that they can hold their elected officials accountable to pass legislation that will reduce the number of abortions, Albert said.
“It’s the idea of not being weary in well doing,” he said.