Chuck Colson

Light In the Darkness:  Abortions Decline


by Chuck Colson

The new film Life is Beautiful has caused a great stir because it suggests that even during the Holocaust there were signs of light in the darkness.

Well, we in America have seen a holocaust of astounding proportions perpetrated against the unborn for the past 26 years. Nevertheless, as was the case 50 years ago in Germany, there are signs of light today, a cause for hope.

Consider: A recent study by the pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute reveals that the number of doctors performing abortions, and the number of women seeking abortions, is declining. And the number of abortion providers and facilities are at the lowest level since 1974, the year after Roe v. Wade.

And there’s more good news. Nationwide, the number of abortion providers dropped by 14 percent between 1992 and 1996 alone. Abortion advocates complain that fewer communities want to have abortion facilities in their midst; town after town is rejecting zoning requests to open up new clinics along Main Street.

What’s responsible for this dramatic change? Abortion supporters blame anti-abortion violence. Not so: Despite massive publicity suggesting otherwise, aggressive acts against abortionists are actually down sharply.

I believe the real reason for the decline is that abortion is being exposed for what it is, and cultural attitudes are changing.

This attitude is reflected in medical schools which are increasingly refusing even to teach the techniques of death: Only about 1 of every 10 OB/GYN programs trains its students to perform first trimester abortions—and even fewer teach mid and third trimester techniques.

Anecdotal evidence is flooding in as well. I know one doctor who threatened to quit his practice unless his colleagues dissociated themselves from a doctor performing abortions in their clinic. I know another doctor who went on television to speak out against partial-birth abortion despite a warning from hospital administrators that they might revoke his privileges if he did so. The doctor spoke out anyway, and, in the end, the hospital administrators were persuaded by his arguments.

So what does this increasing disdain for abortion amongst women, doctors, and communities tell us, tragically, that although people’s hearts have been hardened, the truth has not been forgotten.

Fewer doctors are going into this abominable trade because their consciences are being penetrated. Remember what Paul said in Romans 2, of the Gentiles; the law is written on their hearts and accuses them.

In recent months I’ve sensed a growing malaise among evangelicals over our inability to change the culture. On all sides, I hear battle-weary brethren saying we should abandon the cultural engagement and tend to our own backyard instead.

Nothing could be more ill-advised. The dawn of the new millennium is a time for Christians to advance our arguments all the more enthusiastically. For what these abortion statistics reveal is, sure, we may lose some court cases, but we’re winning the hearts and minds of the culture. And that’s what really counts.

We may not see abortion eliminated in our lifetime, but we can pray—we must pray—that we will see more children spared from the tragedy of abortion. We must pray for the hearts of our countrymen.

If we do, we just may see the light overcome the darkness in our land.