Often when I post on my blog, it is in response to a significant event(s) and/or media interest and public discussion that is going on at the time but in this case it is about something that has been continuously simmering for many a year, ever since abortion was made legal in the UK in fact, way back in 1967, and before that even.
While there have been changes in the law since that time, such as reducing the period when abortion can take place, these have been relatively minor and the number of abortions taking place continues to rise each year. According to Department of Health figures, 191,000 abortions took place in England and Wales in 2012. In 2007, the Christian Institute noted “since the Act became law, 6.7 million abortions have been carried out in Great Britain – 98% of which were for ‘social’ reasons”. The figure now stands well over 8 million abortions carried out in the UK since 1967, with one third of the women each year having previously had an abortion and a significant number of abortions on disability grounds. All sorts of references are available in the public domain as to what is happening in our society, but this isn’t the purpose of this post.
Many of the issues around abortion have been discussed ad nauseam and positions all too often have become polarized. It is tempting in such circumstances that rather than create unnecessary conflict we just agree to differ and focus on those areas where we can make a difference. Besides issues that traditionally concern the Christian right, such as same sex marriage and freedom of conscience or issues of security and managing the economy, there are those issues that traditionally concern the Christian left, in particular around poverty and social justice, many of which I have picked up in my blog, and these too need to be addressed.
Every now and again the issue of the rights and wrongs of abortion is raised but it seems to me that few are listening and peoples’ focus of attention soon gets diverted to something else. As for timing, any time to make these points is appropriate. The Conservatives, traditionally seen as the party more likely to be on the side of pro-life, have recently been accused, with some justification, of subversive liberalization of the criteria whereby abortion might take place, but based on what I have observed to date I doubt if things would be much better under Labour or the Liberal Democrats. I take some heart though from the words of a UKIP activist: “UKIP does not legislate on moral issues such as abortion but would hold a binding public referendum on any such issue if sufficient people (5% of electorate) signed a petition within a six month period”.
The arguments for and against abortion are well rehearsed and, as for me, the issue is clear. Taking of innocent life can never be justified and that fetus in a mother’s womb, beginning at conception, IS LIFE. The only circumstance I can imagine for justifying aborting that fetus is when the mother’s life is in danger. Of course, there are persuasive arguments against, for example when Hilary Clinton was asked about the US administration policy for funding abortion services to third world countries, she replied it was in the light of botched abortions, young girls having been raped and the oppression of women with children in those countries that this has happened. She received much acclamation for saying this but in my mind there are at least two issues. Firstly, two wrongs never make a right. For this reason, I cannot support those anti-abortion campaigners that burn down abortion clinics or kill those who carry out abortions. Secondly, Christians that campaign against abortion must also campaign for social justice.
One of the heroes of my youth was Malcolm Muggeridge, a social commentator and a man of extraordinary wit and insight, who had in his earlier life been a hedonistic atheist and was converted to Christianity later in life. He said: ”either life is always and in all circumstances sacred, or intrinsically of no account; it is inconceivable that it should be in some cases the one, and in some the other.” I believe Muggeridge also once said that if the anti-slave campaigner, William Wilberforce, had been around today this would be the one issue he might have taken on before any other. Irrespective, this is an issue that needs to be fought; facts need to be made more widely known and all life needs to be protected.
I can imagine there will be some who will recoil at what I have just written and dismiss me as a religious nutter and a proverbial pain that either needs to be humored or ignored. That matters little to me, but the matter of abortion does, and by continuing this holocaust we will as a nation incur the wrath of God.