There’s no shades of grey here – abortion is the extermination of innocent lives. It’s a not merely a fetus or a blob of cells, but a living person with the most amazing potential. Yes, society should give much more support to couples who feel unable to look after a child, whether through better adoption services or improving the likes of child benefit, but we need to reverse a change in the law that has led to over 8.6 million murders.
As a History graduate, I was saddened to read how the record of the past has been twisted to support what is indefensible. Kate Lister’s article tries to critique the law, which originally criminalised abortion in 1803, because it focused on actions taken after the “quickening”, the first felt movements of a baby in the womb, usually about 16 weeks. The problem with this approach is that, prior to ultrasound scans, women – and anyone else who was interested – would have hardly any knowledge of what was happening before those first, wonderful movements. Using this to lambast what she labels a moral inconsistency is just nonsense and completely unfair, given our greater medical knowledge.
There is only a brief acknowledgement of how social attitudes have changed towards extramarital sex and children born out of wedlock, which makes irrelevant all her descriptions of the dangerous means some women resorted to in an effort to end pregnancies. After only focusing on the United Kingdom, she also refers misleadingly to “The Lancet”, which “estimates that unsafe abortion is still responsible for approximately 69,000 deaths and millions of injuries each year.” This is actually a figure that refers to the worldwide situation that obviously includes many countries where the stigma still exists and there is a lack of even basic healthcare, so of little help in understanding what would happen if abortion laws were tightened (and proper care in place for families).
She asserts that “the Bible make no claims that life begins at the point of conception”, which ignores Psalm 139:13 – “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” and the bold declaration “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (v. 14). Then there’s Jeremiah 1:5, where God speaks to the prophet – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”
Now, some cite Exodus 21:22-25 as proof that a fetus has less value than a person because the punishment for causing a woman to miscarry is only a fine. Well, actually that translation of the Hebrew is contested and most probably the text is referring to a “child going forth” and there being “no injury” to anyone. Please do follow that last link to John Piper’s verdict on this matter as he very carefully examines the text. Of course, this is still clearly highlighted as a crime against another person – hence the need for restitution – so whatever the precise meaning, these verses actually support the protection of innocent children.
Returning to Kate Lister’s concluding statement, “A minority of women will always want an abortion. Therefore, it must be done properly”, again misses the mark. A tiny percentage of the population enjoys stealing from other human being, or even murdering them. Should the law just ensure that this proclivity is “done properly”?
So, please stand-up for life and stop the slaughter.