The 1,000th Victim


Early this morning, December 2, 2005, probably just a few hours before most readers were arriving at work or school, the 1,000th victim died, the result of a highly controversial Supreme Court ruling from the 1970s authorizing the application of deadly force to a human being.

Despite the opposition (and for sound reasons) of many, the judicially sanctioned execution took place in a routine manner, just like the 999 deaths that preceded it.

Despite the evidence of the natural and social sciences, establishing that such acts–besides the most-significant morality issues–only serve to corrupt civil society and do nothing to solve the nation’s most pressing social concerns, the relentless engine of death continued this day, like it has many times in the past, to reap its deadly toll of human life.

Despite the long-established ethical principle that health-care workers should first “Do No Harm,” the instruments of medicine were used Friday morning, not to save a human life, but to take one.

And, tragically, horribly, before the day is done, another 2,500 more human beings will be destroyed.

I am not talking about the execution this morning of the convicted North Carolina murderer, who became the 1,000th victim of capital punishment since its restoration by the Supreme Court in 1976, but about the 1000th victim of abortion on demand authorized by the infamous Roe v. Wade case in 1973. But it did not take almost 20 years to reach the gruesome milestone of 1,000 dead from abortion, for such a number is reached every day;it is reached several times a day.

For as bad as the execution of a convicted murderer may be, (and I realize that to many there is a fundamental difference between the destruction of the innocent unborn and the putting to death, after trial and appeal, of a convicted killer), the stark, almost-too-horrible-to-contemplate, reality is that, if averaged out over a 24-hour period, the 1,000th victim of abortion occurs approximately every 7 hours, of every day, 365 times a year.

The math, a terrible calculation, is simple. Assume, conservatively that 1,300,000 abortions occur every year. (We don’t really know for sure what the total number is because of the lack of mandatory reporting requirements in many states, but even the pro-abortion side of this most important of all issues seems to accept that this number is not an exaggeration).

If one divides that number by 365 days a year, the result is that everyday approximately 3,500 unborn children are killed.

Divide further the 3,500 abortions a day by 24 hours and the result is that every hour approximately 146 unborn boys and girls are deprived of the most basic of all human rights: the right to exist. And dividing 1,000 by 146, gives the ghastly statistic that the 1,000th victim of abortion is reached every 6.8 hours of every single day.

Almost four times in each and every day, a 1,000th-victim is offered up for destruction on the altar of desperation or convenience or radical autonomy.

So, if 1,000 dead from capital punishment since 1976 deserves to be marked, what should we as a society do to mark the approximately 37,000,000 dead from abortion in that same period?

If capital punishment should be abolished for ending the life of 1,000 human beings, then what should we do about a practice that ends millions of lives? It’s something to think about.

Nikolas T. Nikas is president and general counsel of the Bioethics Defense Fund a public-interest legal organization that advocates for human rights on the issues of cloning and embryonic-stem-cell research, abortion and assisted suicide.