January 22 marked the 30th year of legal abortion in America, which translates to more than 30 million people who were conceived but never born. Every year since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, prolife Christians have protested and helped women whose consciences would not allow them to treat abortion as if it were trivial, like cosmetic surgery, or therapeutic, like removing kidney stones.
Prolifers have appealed to reason and the facts of biology to slow the juggernaut of state-sanctioned violence against life in the womb. And they have watched in horror as celebrity ethicists such as Peter Singer take prochoice arguments to their logical conclusion of infanticide for the handicapped and euthanasia for the terminally ill. Sometimes it has seemed that the United States is determined to become Holland writ large, with doctors dispensing death as readily as healing.
But signs are emerging slowly that the tide could be turning in the prolife movement's favor. Consider, for instance, the annual abortion rate, which averaged 1.2 million for so many years after Roe, but has been on a steady decline since 1991. Fewer than 862,000 women had abortions in 1999. To put it another way, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 256 abortions occurred for every 1,000 live births in 1999. Prolifers still grieve that nearly 900,000 women turned to abortion in 1999, even while we are thankful that abortion is no longer the ghastly growth industry that it was in the 1970s and 1980s.
Prolifers also take heart that younger Americans, so often depicted as slackers and terminal ironists who treat nothing soberly, are more conservative than are baby boomers about abortion. The Buffalo News reported that "one third of ...1