A recent op-ed appeared in these pages titled “Abortion bans lead to disability and death,” which argues that “some abortion is required,” especially in developing countries.
I beg to differ. Abortion leads to death 100 percent of the time, and with very rare exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, it is a violent option that does nothing to advance the status of women.
The ultimate “war on women” is the one that kills them by the millions. A Lancet article published less than one month ago puts the global abortion numbers at 56.3 million every year, an increase of 6 million per year compared to 1990-1994. Fifty-six million babies, or five times the total number of Holocaust victims, every single year. Since 2000, tens of millions have been aborted just because they are female.
Addressing the problems of extreme poverty, sexual slavery, female genital mutilation, child brides, “honor” killings, racism and war does not begin with abortion. Violence begets violence. It is not the answer to the problem. It is the problem.
The real solution begins with strong families, with education and empowerment.
I just returned from a trip to India and Nepal. While in India, I attended the global Women’s Economic Forum, where over a thousand women from 109 countries came together to network and learn from each other. Classes ranged from a discussion of honor killings to social media to women in tech to entrepreneurship and much more. I spoke on Uplifting and Uniting the World Through Family and Relationships. Strong families are the key to healing this world and no family, no community, no nation can be strong that kills its own babies. Mother Teresa said at the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast in 1994, “the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child…..Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.”
When receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, she was asked: “How do we achieve peace on earth?” Her answer was simple: “Go home and love your family.”
Strong families value their sons and daughters equally and as such both can expect to be educated. The numbers of girls worldwide with less than a primary school education can be staggering, yet some variation of the phrase “When you educate a girl, you educate a nation” can be found across numerous cultures and spanning many years, from Queen Rania of Jordan to Brigham Young to African proverbs to the Baha’i faith and others.
Education benefits each individual girl, their families and their communities. Educated girls develop essential life skills that directly impact their own health and well-being and that of their families. Each year of a mother’s schooling, for example, cuts the risk of infant mortality by 5-10 percent. Each additional year of secondary school increases not only family income but the country’s GDP. Educating a girl makes her six times less likely to be a child bride. Educated women become empowered women and empowered men and women change the world.
The Perpetual Education Fund of the LDS Church, LDS Philanthropies, Catholic Charities, Days for Girls, Global Life Vision’s women empowerment centers, Mothers Without Borders and an almost endless number of local, national and international organizations are working to educate girls and women worldwide. They would welcome your help.
There are solutions out there for the big problems in this world but abortion is not one of them. We can and we must work on solutions that don’t include the taking of a life.
Originally posted in the Salt Lake Tribune. Reposted with author’s permission.