The harrowing case of Lily Foster, intentionally killed in the womb at eight months’ gestation, should grieve us deeply – but it also represents an opportunity for Christians to bear witness to God’s truth, justice, and grace.
On 12 June Carla Foster, a mother aged 44, was sentenced to 28 months for ‘administering poison with intent to procure a miscarriage’. The sentencing remarks of the Hon. Mr Justice Pepperall are publicly available and well worth reading for a thorough and objective appraisal of the case.
Carla knew she was pregnant way beyond the legal limit (24 weeks) when she ordered powerful drugs from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (the main ‘abortion’ provider in England and Wales), pills that are meant to be used only up till 10 weeks’ gestation. Carla took these when she was 32–34 weeks pregnant, killing her near-full-term daughter, Lily, and delivering her stillborn.
Paramedics arrived on the scene and attempted to resuscitate Lily, but she was pronounced dead 45 minutes later. The ‘abortion’ lobby, remarkably, saw in this an opportunity to campaign to allow all babies to be killed up till birth for any or no reason, and headlines proliferated expressing outrage at the fact that a woman was being jailed for an ‘abortion’ under a Victorian law – a classic red herring.
At the same time, against this bloodthirsty response there was (thank God) considerable pushback, even among folk who are ‘pro-choice’. This was a very late-term baby. Everyone knows someone who was born prematurely at around 32 weeks and is doing perfectly well today. Carla herself testifies to being ‘plagued’ by ‘nightmares and flashbacks’ seeing her ‘dead child’s face’. This case protests itself.
How should Christians respond?
There is one school of thought (perhaps that is too generous) that says that Christians should avoid ‘hot potatoes’, as they will only serve to drive people further away from the Church and the gospel.
On the contrary I want to argue that there’s an opportunity here to bear witness to the integrity and expansiveness of God’s truth, the beauty and wisdom of God’s justice, and the glories of God’s grace.