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Abortion is leading cause of death worldwide for fourth year in a row

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AFP via Getty Images/Emiliano Lasalvia

Statistics reveal that abortion was the leading cause of death worldwide for the fourth year in a row, as the number of abortions nearly quadrupled the number of deaths from infectious diseases in 2022.

Worldometer, a database that keeps track of statistics about health, the global population and other metrics in real-time, continuously compiles information about the number of abortions worldwide. The last available snapshot of the Worldometer from 2022, captured on Dec. 31 by the internet archiving tool The Wayback Machine, shows that more than 44 million abortions took place last year.

While Worldometer cites a fact sheet from the World Health Organization as the source for its abortion statistics, the WHO maintains that “around 73 million induced abortions take place worldwide each year.” The global organization characterizes abortion as an essential health service.

The second leading cause of death in 2022, as identified by the Worldometer, was communicable diseases, causing nearly 13 million casualties. The deaths attributed to infectious diseases, as well as the more than 8 million deaths caused by cancer, the approximately 5 million fatalities triggered by smoking, the roughly 2.5 million alcohol-related deaths and the nearly 2 million deaths caused by AIDS this year combined add up to less than the number of lives lost to abortion in 2022.

Additional leading causes of death identified by the Worldometer include road traffic accident fatalities, which claimed more than 1 million lives last year, and suicides, numbering slightly more than 1 million. Over 800,000 people lost their lives due to water-related diseases last year, half a million people died because of the seasonal flu, nearly 400,000 people died of malaria and around 300,000 women died during childbirth.

Deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which have become the subject of much media attention, were measured at 1,209,570 in a separate set of statistics compiled by Worldometer. Worldometer identified the total number of deaths worldwide in 2022 as just over 67 million. That figure does not include the number of abortions, but if it did, the number of worldwide deaths in 2022 would exceed 100 million. The total world population at the end of 2022 came in at slightly above 8 billion. 

The number of abortions performed in 2022 constitutes a slight increase from the approximately 44 million measured in 2021. Nearly 44 million abortions were performed in 2020, and 42.4 million were performed in 2019. In all of those years, abortions were the leading cause of death around the world. 

Worldometer’s abortion statistics reflect the fact that the United States Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationdecision determining that the U.S. Constitution does not contain a "right" to abortion, was in effect for slightly more than half of the year.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, a pro-life advocacy group, has analyzed the impact of pro-life laws that went into effect following the June 24 Dobbs decision. Before the Dobbs ruling, the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision establishing a right to abortion prevented states from restricting abortions early in a pregnancy.

In 14 states that have implemented total or near-total abortion bans since the Dobbs ruling, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America estimates that 125,082 fewer abortions have occurred as of Dec. 2. A 15-week abortion ban in Florida has resulted in 3,805 fewer abortions. 

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America has listed the estimated impact of total or near-total abortion bans currently on hold in seven states because of ongoing litigation at 44,495 and the estimated effect of an Iowa law banning abortions after six weeks gestation at 1,914. Overall, the pro-life advocacy group estimates that the pro-life laws enacted by states following the Dobbs ruling have impacted 175,296 abortions. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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