Abortion: Horrified by the Unfairness?

20 10 2008

Abortion is one of the only moral issues within our society to which the terms horrific and unfair can be simultanaeously applied without fear of exaggeration. On last night’s Westminster Hour on Radio 4 Labour MP Emily Thornberry used precisely these terms in relation to a bill which is of deep concern to evangelical Christians (and a host of others) in Northern Ireland at present. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill being debated in Parliament in this incoming week threatens to extend the act of abortion to Northern Ireland, thus breaking 30 years of immunity from the on-demand infanticide of the Mainland. The fact that the majority of campaigning on the issue within Northern Ireland is being undertaken by those outside of the Province is a particularly hard pill to swallow, in a distastefully immoral movement.

What was fascinating about Thornberry’s comments were that they were made in a pro-choice context, rather than that of pro-life discourse. She stated that most voters are horrified that women in Northern Ireland cannot have an abortion in their own country, and that it is simply unfair that the 1500 women who travelled to England for the procedure in 2007 had to pay for it privately.

The outrage expressed in such a statement is a good barometer of where Britain is in moral terms. How horrific that the extermination of children is not a convenient option for women in Northern Ireland, and how unfair that they should have to pay for destroying life – shouldn’t that fall to taxpayer after all…

The assertions of the pro-choice lobby are repugnant at the best of times, but for me as a new father they are tinged with darkness. Our daughter was born on 21st August after nine months of hope, prayer and expectation. We followed her physical development from her 10 week scan onwards, marvelling at each grainy black and white glimpse we gained of her. Arm buds became arms, the rib cage could be seen, her head and face became more visible at each appointment, and the little splashing heartbeat eventually made its way to our ears via a doppler scan. She rests in our home tonight, a miracle of God’s grace and creative power, and we praise His name for her. I have learned to love what pro-choice advocates see as a conglomeration of cells which ought to be at the mercy of a mother’s whim and a doctor’s signature, and have witnessed the ingenuity of how life is formed at first hand.

No one can tell me that on-demand abortion is ever right – and this does not merely spring from an over inflated paternal instinct. Scripture speaks with consistency and authority on the sanctity of human life (Exodus 20) and the humanity of unborn life (Psalm 139; Jeremiah 1). Abortion is the scourge of our national conscience, a horror beyond words, murder of the most helpless and voiceless. If we are to be horrified at unfairness, let it be reserved for those whose cries will never break the guilty silence of nation adrift from God, from morality, and from ethical common sense. Not for those who cannot access services which ought not to be available within the UK at all.

Please pray against the Bill being extended to Northern Ireland this week, and for groups such as The Christian Institute who are seeking to bring a reasoned evangelical voice to a debate evacuated of moral fibre. Pray that the debate on Northern Ireland will not see the light of day in Parliament, so that thousands of children might see the light of day in the future. How we need God to move in our nation, to bring us back to Himself, and to the dignifying principles about humanity which His Word contains.

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