Through the Back Door

colson2Most of you know that the Supreme Court recently handed the pro-life cause an important victory by upholding a ban on partial-birth abortion. The Court may have banned only one method of abortion, but now we have hope that perhaps there will be additional legal restrictions on abortion in the future. But we must remember that there are other fronts in the battle for human life besides the law. One front is the hearts and minds of those who would perform abortions: that is, doctors. As the BBC recently reported, “The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says there has been a big rise in the number of doctors who are ‘conscientious objectors.’” In other words, doctors in the UK just do not want to do abortions any more. In fact, the number of willing abortionists is dropping so rapidly that pro-choicers are complaining of an “abortion crisis.” Analysts offer various explanations. Katherine Guthrie of the Royal College suggests, “You get no thanks for performing abortions. You get spat on. Who admits to friends at a dinner party that they are an abortionist?” But we have good reason to believe that the reasons go even deeper than that. James Gerrard, a general practitioner in Leeds, says, “Out of the six doctors in our practice, three of us object to abortion. I had made up my mind on abortion before entering the medical profession. I feel the foetus is a person and killing that foetus is wrong.” So it’s not just about being ostracized. It is an “unprecedented moral revolt,” according to This Is London. Guthrie says, “The Department of Health is really worried.” Ann Furedi of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service explains why: “Within five to seven years, a woman’s ability to get an abortion will be more shaped by the service’s ability to provide them rather than the state of the law.” Isn’t this remarkable? The very group that has the most to gain from abortions is turning away from them. They know better than anyone else exactly what an abortion is—and they want nothing to do with it. And because they are the ones most directly involved, they are having even more impact than the government could ever dream of having. As I have said many times on “BreakPoint,” Christians must be engaged in politics and government. But as we labor in the political arena, we have to work in the culture to change hearts and minds and to promote an understanding of the sanctity of life. Maybe you remember the scene from Amazing Grace, that marvelous movie about William Wilberforce, in which Wilberforce and his friends come up with fresh new strategies for getting rid of the slave trade. Instead of working directly to outlaw it, which was getting them nowhere, they did an end run around their opponents, finding a way to put financial pressure on the owners of the slave ships—and the trade started to dry up. When the front door would not open to them, they sneaked through the back door—and they got results. It’s as simple now as it was then: If doctors will not do abortions, that trade, also, will dry up. A back door is opening for us, and pro-lifers need to make sure we take advantage of it, by supporting those physicians who make the right choice. And you can help by talking to your own physician about this. Nothing less than life is on the line. And if the British doctors are changing their minds, certainly it can happen here.
Today's BreakPoint Offer
That They May Have Life”—an Evangelicals and Catholics Together statement on the sanctity of human life.  
For Further Reading and Information
More Young Doctors Oppose Abortions on Ethical Grounds,” This Is London, 16 April 2007. “Abortions ‘Crisis’ Threatens NHS,” BBC News, 16 April 2007. Hilary White, “UK Doctors Refusing to Commit Abortion Alarm Royal College,” LifeSite, 16 April 2007. BreakPoint Commentary No. 070420, “A Baby’s Cry: Upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.” Vanessa, “The Abortion ‘Crisis’ in the U.K.,” blog, 16 April 2007. William Saletan, “Window to the Womb,” Washington Post, 29 April 2007, B02. “House OKs Bill Requiring Waiting Time, Ultrasound before Abortions,” Gainesville Sun, 28 April 2007.


Chuck Colson


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