27 October 2017 marks 50 years since abortion in certain circumstances became legal according to British law.
While the Abortion Act (1967) currently only allows abortions when the mother or child’s physical or mental health is at risk of permanent damage, the law is rarely honoured, even in its flawed current form, and reports of malpractice in this regard are common.
It is important that church leaders and the Christians that make up the membership of local churches equip themselves with the facts surrounding abortion. Christian Concern (CC) desires to facilitate this process and is involved in providing resources and opportunities that aid Christians in this process.
The likelihood is that churches will contain, or come into contact with, women who are considering or have experienced an abortion. There must be clear, compassionate, and Christ-centred testimony to the truth of life, as made in God’s image, as well as every effort to help women in and through any practical difficulties having a child may initially present.
Here are some brutal and grim realities of abortion in the UK at the moment:
1 in 3 women in mainland Britain have had an abortion.
The Abortion Act was allegedly meant to save women’s lives from the dangers of illegal abortion. In the six-year period following the introduction of the Act, as many women died from legal abortions as from illegal (both figures fell after 1976, due to improved available medical care).
Since the Act, the number of abortions has spiralled, to where over 200,000 a year are aborted in the UK. Well over 8 million have been aborted since 1967.
Abortion often discriminates against sex.
Abortions are sometimes sex-selective. Doctors have been filmed covertly agreeing to abort for the sole reason that the child is expected to be a girl. Leading UK abortionist and activist Wendy Savage, who claims to have carried out more 10,000 abortions, believes that sex-selective abortions should be allowed in consideration of women’s rights. Ann Furedi, the chief of Britain’s largest independent abortion provider, BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service), agrees and has vocalised her belief that abortions should not be criminalised, even if they are sex-selective.
Abortion often discriminates against the disabled/different.
In 2016, over 3,200 abortions were carried out because the child would be born ‘seriously handicapped’; over 700 were aborted simply because they had screened positively for Downs Syndrome; nine were aborted because they had a surgically rectifiable cleft lip and palate.
Lord Shinkwin, a peer in the House of Lords who was born with a rare genetic brittle-bone disease has spoken of Britain’s abortion laws as ‘a licence to kill for the crime of being disabled’.
It is illegal to discriminate against disability after birth. What makes pre-birth discrimination any more moral or right in people’s eyes? Even though the baby is small, life is equally present, and the baby goes through all the stages of development that we have.
Abortion is increasingly viewed as contraception, even though it is in fact termination. 38 per cent of 2016 abortions were repeat abortions. 29 per cent of these were for women under 25.
In 2013, statistics showed that dozens of women have had nine abortions or more. Contraception, accurately defined, hinders a woman from conceiving. Abortion, whether attained surgically, medically, or through certain pills marketed under ‘contraception’, ends the life of a child already conceived.
Abortion rates reflect our society’s increasing level of promiscuity. 78 per cent of abortions in 2015 were carried out for single women — 24 per cent were single without a partner and 54 per cent with a partner.
This proportion continues to rise and reflects a grossly immoral state in our nation, where loose behaviour and casual sex are seen as normal and children are commodities to be accepted or discarded, depending on whether they are desired or not.
Abortion is increasingly a ‘DIY’ endeavour. The normalised nature of promiscuity in our society, the inconveniences that some feel at discovering an unplanned pregnancy, coupled with potential embarrassment and shame in conscience, continues to mean that more and more women are taking abortion into their own hands.
The Abortion Act was meant to end DIY abortions. It has done nothing of the sort. Abortifacient drugs, easily accessed online, are increasingly used, despite this being illegal under current regulations. There are websites devoted to advising women on how to carry out their own abortion in a ‘safe’ way.
Moreover, the Abortion Act has paved the way for other unethical and life-threatening legislation. It opened up the way for laws allowing destructive experimentation on human embryos, attempts to legalise assisted suicide, and a current attempt, spearheaded by the Labour Party, to decriminalise abortion for any reason up to birth.
It is not easy to deal with abortion in any public setting. It is an emotive issue at the best of times, even in a Christian environment. Chances are, you will have people who have had abortions present in church meetings.
However, we are challenged by Scripture to not be afraid of people (Jeremiah 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Peter 3:14). Abortion is not a matter to be silent about and it certainly is not a matter that Christians should be undecided about.
CC actively campaigns for the pre-born child’s right to life. Through providing regular news updates, articles and information, we desire to inform and educate Christians of the horror that is abortion and inspire them to actively pray for and petition toward the affirmation of the pre-born child’s right to life in our society.
When efforts to decriminalise abortion reappear — and this now appears certain — we will seek to once more be at the forefront of calling our nation’s leaders to repentance. We will continue to petition our government and write to members of both the House of Commons and House of Lords on behalf of the pre-born, and will point Christians toward ways in which they can do the same.
As part of a democracy whose constitution is rooted in Christian moral principles, we encourage Christians to use their democratic right to challenge their own local MP on the matter of abortion.
We are also currently formulating a nationwide database of crisis pregnancy counselling centres that will enable women in crisis pregnancies to find the life-loving and affirming counsel and support they need. We are exploring the possibility of setting up a helpline to aid in this ministry.
Although the task of removing pro-abortion legislation from our society is mammoth, we believe that it is possible. Even if it were impossible, we must still be willing to fight, and if necessary lose, the battle to see pre-born children’s lives protected.
Life is a beautiful thing given by God. We have no right to smother life out, no matter how young or old. To learn more, visit christianconcern.com and sign up for our news updates.
Regan Blanton King works for Christian Concern.