Last Saturday, speaking off-the-cuff to an Italian family association, Pope Francis used strong language to denounce abortion, while urging families to accept the children that God gives them.
Francis recalled that, as a child, he was horrified to hear stories from his teacher about children “thrown from the mountain” if they were born with malformations. “Today we do the same thing”, he said. “Last century, the whole world was scandalised by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves”.
We wholeheartedly agree with him. We believe that the life of a person begins with conception so ending that life is murdering that person. Abortion is like throwing unwanted babies off a cliff. Who would celebrate that as the mark of a sophisticated, tolerant and progressive society?
Abortion, at the simplest level, is breaking the Sixth Commandment: “You shall not murder”. The taking of human life, neither in war nor self-defence, is evil because it is the destruction of someone made in the image of God. King David in Psalm 139 praises God because he “created my inmost being… you knit me together in my mother’s womb”. God saw his “unformed body”, that is he saw the psalmist as an embryo and as a person. In the New Testament both John the Baptist and Jesus are referred to while still unborn in the womb.
Human life is not to do with “viability” or whether the baby is starting to feel and hear things, or whether he or she has entered the outside world yet, but to do with the value God places on the child from the moment of conception.
In total, there have now been almost nine million abortions in Great Britain since the 1967 Act was passed. The vast majority – over 90% – are for “social reasons”.
Dr Mengele carried out unspeakable atrocities in the Nazi concentration camps on babies and adults as he ‘experimented’ with their bodies and ‘studied’ genetic traits. We do the same today in our embryo research laboratories, flushing the results of our ‘experiments’ down the sewer. We can now select the sex of our children, (albeit against the law at present), we can eliminate those embryos with hereditary defects. We attempt to overcome infertility by multiple embryo production in vitro and flushing away the ones we don’t need. Is there any difference between the events back in the 1940’s which we found so horrifying then and what happens across the world daily in our hospitals and science laboratories. Yes – what we do now is on an industrial scale. Embryos in the petri dish can’t scream.
As Christians what can we do? Sometimes we feel so helpless.
- We can pray that God in his mercy would forgive us this terrible sin of murder and turn the hearts of our nation back to placing value on all human lives
- We can campaign against making abortion even easier by “decriminalising” it.
- We can support any laws that reduce the number of abortions by lowering the time limit
- We can help those people who have the difficult dilemma of an unwanted pregnancy and point them towards organisations that can give them information and wise counsel
- We can give clear teaching in our churches on this and other related ethical issues such as infanticide, selective pregnancy, embryo research and cloning – that God’s gives life and we should not tamper with it.