Dear Abigail

Here's a hard task for your generation

Issue: "Life Issues," Feb. 24, 2001

Dear Abigail

Here's a hard task for your generation

Your parents, who have been WORLD subscribers for the last five years, e-mailed to tell me of your safe arrival in Memphis on Jan. 22. Since you are their very first baby, but especially because of the date of your arrival, I wanted to write you this note.

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Actually, I wrote a note very much like this to another young friend 13 years ago. I saw him in church yesterday-now a strapping teenager-and seeing him reminded me of what I wanted to say to you.

Jan. 22 was a notable day for you, since it was at 11:37 on that Monday morning that you gasped your lungs full of the first air they'd ever breathed. Although you didn't know it, it was also the first day of business for the new administration of President George W. Bush.

In that sense, your birthday came on a day of both dark and bright symbolism. I hope your future birthdays are happy ones, and that Mr. Bush will do some very specific things to make that so. But you should know that your birthday will always come on one of the darkest days on our calendar.

Always? Well, bluntly, that is what I am writing you about. The prospects of Jan. 22 ever being anything but a national day of mourning are not good. Even with Mr. Bush's election, and even if he should appoint some very good men and women to the U.S. Supreme Court, and even if that body should sometime stun the nation and reverse the terrible Roe vs. Wade decision that 28 years ago opened the bloodgates of abortion, there would be nothing that could be done for the 40 million babies whose lives will already have been wasted.

Actually, Abigail, it's a statistical marvel that you made it to Jan. 22 alive. Once you had been conceived here in the United States, your chances of not being a victim of abortion were no better than seven out of 10. You would have been far safer going as a marine to Vietnam, or growing up in Bosnia. But now you have made it into this world, such as it is. Sooner than you know, it will be your task to join us in correcting those terrible odds.

What are the chances of our doing so? Pretty grim, I'd say. Here's why.

Even while you've been spending the last nine months getting a bit of a head start on life, those of us in the outside world have been locked in a pretty ferocious battle having to do with who shapes the culture of our society. You can hardly believe how closely that battle seems to be pitched right now. It's almost literally a 50-50 draw, and no one but God Himself knows which direction things are headed.

We pro-lifers have put a lot of focus on the Supreme Court, mostly, I suppose, because that's where our abortion policy first got so visibly off track. But the destruction brought about by that dreadful decision just may not be all that reversible-even if all nine justices wanted to do so. They would need incredible courage.

You've been born into a society, Abigail, where for better or for worse important policies are determined by majority votes. And majorities in human history have never distinguished themselves by worrying about principle. The fact is that our country has now settled into a comfortable acceptance of abortion. It is an enormous convenience, and my guess is that, as a society, we'd far rather give up garbage disposals and trash compactors than our right to abortion on demand.

That's a grisly thing to tell a month-old little girl. Yet it is true, Abigail, and those of us who, with your parents, will teach you what kind of world you have been born into and what God expects you to do about it, need to tell you early that the struggle will not be easy.

Both the biblical record and our own experience demonstrate that when people reject God and His standards, they are in fact choosing the way of death. Sometimes that is just a figurative way of looking at things. In the current debate, it's gone well beyond the figurative.

The battle is so much bigger than getting a 6-3 or 7-2 majority on the court. It's bigger than a Human Life Amendment. Winning such political battles will be hard-but they may be the easy part of your assignment. The much harder part will be to change the deep-down desires of the people the politicians represent. Don't ever suppose it's just the politicians who are the "bad guys" who never listen to the "basically good" people "out there." They listen, all right. The problem is that they should stop listening and start leading.

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