laughing_for_no_reasonA few years ago, James Huston published an article entitled, “Where did the rest of the class of ’91 go?” It was a fitting question, considering that, since the 1970s, in the United States alone more than a million unborn children per year have had their lives ended through abortion. In all, something like 50 million abortions have been performed since the Supreme Court decision known as Roe vs. Wade was handed down in January of 1973. With the population of the United States approaching 300 million, that means that almost 16 percent of all Americans have lost their lives in legal abortion procedures, without so much as their knowledge, let alone their choice. This stark truth certainly ranks with Hitler’s holocaust and Stalin’s gulag as one of the most horrible facts of our times.

Think of the impact the loss of 50 million American lives means for us now. The oldest among them – those in their mid-to-late 30s –would be well into the process of raising their own children. Some would still be pursuing an education others would be starting careers and families. A significant group would be serving with U.S. troops in various parts of the globe. There would be famed Olympic athletes and accomplished actors and musical geniuses. But the reality is that none of them will ever do any of those things, because they were never permitted to reach their date of birth.

Those conceived in the early nineties would now be headed for the homestretch of high school. They would be thinking of proms and exams and college applications. However, 1.5 million of the Class of 2009 – fully one-quarter of it – will be missing graduation this June. The later members of this missing group of Americans would still be working their way through the lower grades of school. Many would spend this winter sledding and ice skating. They would still be enjoying the gifts received at Christmas. This summer they would play little league ball and go to camp. On the Fourth of July, they would join the rest of us in honoring our country for guaranteeing them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Admittedly, some of these 50 million Americans would have ended up in abusive homes. Some would have found their way into gangs, and possibly ended up in prison. People do sometimes make bad choices and cause others to suffer for those choices. Yet it is also true that some of our most dynamic leaders and most conscientious citizens, as well as some of our best friends, have been lost forever in this largely un-mourned American tragedy. So much for the lost Americans. They are gone forever, past any of our whims or legalities.

And yet, though we cannot change the past, we can affect the present and the future. As for the present, we must deal with our baggage. To ignore the past only causes its patterns to continue. Abortion is a serious sin, just as murder or any taking of innocent human life is morally wrong. But the good news is that sin can be forgiven. That is the whole purpose for which Jesus Christ came into the world. And, whether many people are saying it or not, Jesus is still in the business of cleansing anyone who is willing to be done with the burden of sin and is ready to follow Him.

The future can be different. For now, the laws permitting abortion still stand. Until that can be changed, we must choose life for the unborn. So here are some challenges for the present:

1. To the Christian community: For the most part, we stand for the right to life for the unborn, but we need to do more than just talk about it. We must support organizations which help women with problem pregnancies by giving of our money and our time. We must take issue with those who so blithely talk about babies being merely masses of tissue and who depict women as being restricted or demeaned by motherhood. We also need to continue to use our vote and purchasing power to their maximum potential.

2. To women who have made the difficult choice to have an abortion: What was done is done. God can and will forgive you if you ask his Son to cleanse you. The words of Jesus are still valid: “Go and sin no more.” This year can be a time of release and new beginning for you.

3. To women contemplating abortion: There are better choices available than ending your pregnancy. Perhaps the child within you may be God’s answer to some of the problems of the future. Please take the time to call your local Crisis Pregnancy Center. They will knowledgably and compassionately tell you about some of the alternatives. Seek assistance from a local church. We’re not perfect people ourselves, but we are here to help in Jesus’ name.

Michael Bogart