In the year I was born, almost one third of all pregnancies ended in abortion.
In the past 40 years, abortion has claimed more than 55 million lives. In Pennsylvania alone, an unborn child dies every 15 minutes in an abortion.
It is precisely facts like these that convince me and so many in my generation that abortion is unnecessary and wrong.
The facts show all too plainly how any of my siblings, friends or classmates could have been killed before they had a chance to be born. And they make me wonder how many of my peers I will never know.
In January of 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its abortion ruling in Roe v. Wade, young women did not have access to the facts about abortion that we have today. Nor did they have the perspective of looking back over 40 years of data showing the consequences of abortion on demand.
My generation does.
In the past 40 years, studies have shown that abortion is common, unsafe, and frequently the result of outside pressure on women.
We now know that at the moment of conception, the human embryo is a complete, unique life.
We now know that more than half of women who had abortions felt pressured into the decision.
We now know that most women have abortions for social reasons such as relationship issues, finances, career or education, lack of readiness for the responsibility.
We now know that hundreds of women have died and thousands more have been injured by "safe," legal abortions.
We now know, thanks to a pro-life leader of my generation, that abortion facilities cover up sexual abuse, give incorrect information, and perform abortions simply because of a baby's gender.
These facts point to the injustice of abortion both for women and unborn babies. These are the facts that motivate me and so many other young people to advocate for the vulnerable.
Take, for example, my childhood friend Ashley, who spends an exhaustive number of hours in her community promoting the value of every human life. In her gentle, compassionate way, she reaches out to expecting and new mothers and counsels post-abortive women. The spare time she has is dedicated to loving and caring for her severely disabled brother and making sure everyone knows how valuable his life is, too.
And there is Hope, a vibrant, intelligent young woman whose passion for social justice is leading her to law school and nursing school. She plans to dedicate her expertise in both fields to the defense of life in the womb.
And then there is Beth, a friend of mine who faced an unplanned pregnancy. Beth never wanted to be a mother; she had never held a baby in her life when she found out she was pregnant. She faced criticism about what a baby would do to her career and finances. Yet, abortion was never an option for her. She knew that what was growing inside of her was not a clump of cells but a life worth protecting.
As young women, we know not just believe that abortion is wrong. After living our whole lives in a society that devalues life, we know that something needs to change.
It's time to end abortion and make the right to life from the moment of conception to natural death our first priority.
Because the facts don't lie.
Micaiah Bilger of Mifflintown is the education coordinator for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.