Fifty seven million babies have been killed in their mother’s wombs in the United States since Roe versus Wade. In the UK there have been more than 8 million abortions since 1967. In this country this is not even a political issue; in the US it is. Increasingly it seems as though those in favour of abortion are at least willing to admit it is a human life which is being extinguished although they argue over when life begins. I never found a card in the shops with the message ‘congratulations on your foetus’. We are all aware of the hard cases – they were the reason the Abortion Act in the UK was passed in the first place – but if someone really believes that nearly 200,000 women’s lives were in danger last year, then I have a title-deed for Manhattan Island for sale at a very reasonable price, so do get in touch.
If we are honest – and some are – then we know that the majority of abortions are to do with a different sort of choice – the choice of the putative mother to take time off work and have her career/life disrupted by the demands of a baby; the choice of parents who both need to be working to afford high house prices, not to have a child because of the cost and the life-style consequences. When I was born my father got a family allowance, and there were tax-breaks for mothers and for families; married couples also got tax breaks. The State realised that taking on the responsibilities of a family was a commitment it needed t support – how else, in a purely utilitarian way – was it going to keep its tax base up and fill the jobs that needed to be filled? We know the answer now – immigration – so who needs babies?
Professor Tina Beattie has recently been arguing that in the early church early abortion was only a small sin. Like a lot of her arguments, it is disingenuous with a kernel of truth. The truth is that there was a debate in the early church, as now, about when life began, the disingenuous part is gliding past the fact it was always considered a sin. One of the marks of the early Christians was that in a society where abortion and the exposure of unwanted children on hillside was common, the Christians cherished every life as being from God. Even slave women were as valuable in the eyes of God as the Emperor – in fact, as Jesus taught, it was more likely that the latter would be amenable to the call of the Spirit than the latter, blinded as he would be by flatterers and wealth.
For Christians abortion has always been a ‘hot button’ issue. We live in a society which appears happy to offer up to Moloch its young. Those who argue about when life begins at least show some sign of realising that you shouldn’t kill young humans; but there are others who simply argue that a woman has that right. Apart from praying for them, and their dead children, I don’t know what can be done. But when I read that the sin that cries out to heaven the most is sodomy, I despair – this evil, this vile industry which preys on the lives of the most vulnerable, is the sin that cries to Heaven. If we, as Christians, will not unite to protest again slaughter on this industrial scale, then I don’t see the point in our protesting against lesser evils. The Pope recently said that it seemed as though the church was always talking about abortion. Unlike some here, I admire this Pope, and to be fair, he himself has spoken about the evils or abortion, but I disagree if he was implying we can say too much about this. We can’t. Let us pray to the Lord for the souls of the lost, and for the mothers and fathers concerned – but let us as Christian communities, ensure we make sure our legislators know what we think. In the UK, actually just enforcing the law as passed would make a difference.