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How to Change a Culture

Trends and data aside, the fact remains that abortion is still legal and readily accessible to American women of any age at virtually any point in their pregnancies. And while it is tempting to take the latest reports to mean that the pro-life movement is “winning” the abortion war, we should realize that we can’t and won’t win until abortion is illegal and nonexistent in our nation.

How is that to be accomplished?

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput has said that “if we change one heart at a time, while we save one unborn life at a time, the day will come when we won’t need to worry about saving babies, because they’ll be surrounded by a loving and welcoming culture.”

More than 54 million babies have been murdered by abortion in the U.S. since 1973 when the Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade decision legalizing the practice nationwide. After peaking and cresting in recent decades, the abortion rate has leveled off at 1.2 million per year. Saving “one unborn life at a time” will take an eternity. Archbishop Chaput admits that, with this “changing hearts” approach, he likely won’t live to see the day when the culture of life finally triumphs. Can we wait that long? Can the babies being led to the slaughter on a daily basis wait that long?

The noble and necessary work of sidewalk counselors and crisis-pregnancy centers, of those earnestly striving to win over one heart and save one baby at a time, mustn’t be diminished or neglected. But they can’t win the abortion war by themselves. Intellectual arguments must also be made (for example, by writing magazine articles) to win over minds; prayers must be offered ceaselessly to win over souls; marches and demonstrations must be organized and participated in to shape public opinion. But all this is still not enough to defeat abortion.

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