The prospective $165 billion merger of AOL and Time Warner temporarily left WORLD's editors feeling like they were running the Bailey Brothers building-and-loan in competition with Mr. Potter's bank. Meanwhile, as the 27th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision approached, press accounts were quoting the usual suspects from organizations with grand-sounding names like Planned Parenthood International.
The prospect of many media uniting for destruction was evident in the publicity campaign for The Cider House Rules, a new film based on John Irving's pro-abortion novel of that name. Planned Parenthood praised the supposed serendipity of the film's emerging at anniversary time, and promised free screenings, close dealings with sympathetic film critics, and a broad campaign to let all those who have come of age in the past quarter-century know how bad things were in the days when fetuses were babies.
But the history now being made is more complex than the headlines allow. In journalism, publications with little more than five smooth stones don't seem able right now to slay the Goliaths, but they can still raise Cain by investigating what others cover up, and they can provide alternative perspectives for unconventional readers. And the pro-life movement, which a decade ago was alienating millions by trying to outchant and outmuscle the other side, is now having considerable success as thousands of its persevering members wage a guerrilla peace.
In this issue of WORLD we don't hide the difficulties. In Houston, predictions that attacks on the unborn would lead to abandonment of the born seem to be coming true. In Oregon, a new "open adoption" law is likely to discourage some young women from placing their children for adoption. Around the country, the well-rounded year 2000 is likely to bring with it a misshapen, deadly number: RU-486. And even though new abortion statistics show the nationwide number to have dropped from the 1.5 million that was standard for many years to 1.2 million, the glass is still four-fifths empty.
And yet, the evil empire is not all-powerful. In Texas and around the country, as our lead stories show, more and more schools are now teaching abstinence, and some powerful new messages seem to be having an effect. In Pennsylvania, one town is successfully fighting back. Small statements are also telling: In North Carolina and Florida, an old statute and some new license plates are communicating the value of unborn human life. And, as our last column relates, ultrasound machines are becoming an important part of the work of crisis pregnancy centers that, patient by patient and with lots of patience, help to save one life and change another, from the inside out.