A Beautiful Choice

Picture this: A yuppie couple comes home from work and relaxes on the couch watching a rerun of thirtysomething. They're young and sophisticated, and what they see on the show reflects their own secular and politically correct world view. Then, during a commercial break, a vivid message breaks through, with a completely different worldview. School children laughing and tumbling down steps. A father helping his son tuck in his shirt. Tots in Halloween costumes. "All these children have something in common," says an announcer. "All of them were unplanned pregnancies ... that could have ended in abortion. But their parents toughed it out ... and discovered that sometimes the best things in life aren't planned." It's a commercial extolling life. The commercial is one of two produced by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation. The Foundation says its primary goal is not to change the law but to change people's minds. And that's exactly what it does. These commercials are attractive and engaging. They counter the standard media portrayal of pro-lifers as fanatics and woman-haters. The decision not to abort is presented as courageous and life-affirming. The DeMoss Foundation has hit upon a crucial aspect of pro-life strategy. Many who are opposed to abortion have focused their energies on the legal side of the battle: passing laws that limit abortion, or laws that challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. These are worthy efforts, and they may soon be rewarded. The Supreme Court has agreed to review a Pennsylvania case that could reverse Roe v. Wade. If that happens, it will be cause for great rejoicing. But winning the legal battle is a far cry from winning the war against abortion. If the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade, that will push the question back to the states, where it will be decided by the democratic process. Which is to say, it will be up to the people. And that's where the ultimate battle lies: in the hearts and minds of people. The DeMoss commercials are an excellent model of how to win hearts. In a gentle, engaging style, they nudge people to reconsider how to respond to a problem pregnancy. It holds people up as admirable if they carry their babies to term. It reminds the audience that there are millions of couples ready to offer a loving home for those babies. The DeMoss Foundation's decision to air these commercials during prime time is brilliant. Right during thirtysomething, no less, when the audience consists of just those middle-class, single women most likely to abort. No wonder pro-abortionists are howling. Many pro-lifers have already started using the commercials in a wider context. They're recording them for use at pro-life counseling centers, or to show their friends. That's a good idea. Why not watch for these commercials on your local stations, or on cable networks. Record them on videotape. Then invite some friends over who are undecided about abortion, or who even favor abortion. It may be a slow process, but remember: That's how the battle for people's hearts and minds is waged. One person at a time.


Chuck Colson


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