Christian Ethics Free Course: LESSON SEVEN: LIFE: (PART ONE)
Read: Ps. 139:13-16: Ps. 106:37-38
It is incredible that any civilised country with a Christian heritage should authorise the wholesale slaughter of its children. Yet that is precisely what has happened in most Western nations.
In Great Britain, since the passing of the Abortion Act in 1967, over three million babies have been legally and scientifically put to death before seeing the light of day. The womb is the most dangerous place to live in today’s society – a child has a one-in-five chance of being killed at its mother’s behest. Recent figures in Britain stand at 200,000 a year, or one every three minutes.
A. ABORTION – THE BRITISH LEGAL POSITION:
In 1861 the Offences Against the Person Act made abortion a felony punishable by life imprisonment. This was modified in 1929 so that a pregnancy might be prematurely terminated in order to spare the life of a mother. This act was widened in the 1938 Bourne Case, when the phrase ‘life of the mother’ was deemed to include acute mental anguish as the result of a pregnancy arising from rape.
In 1948 the Declaration of Geneva stated: ‘I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception.’
All this changed dramatically in 1967 with David Steel’s Abortion Bill which has been described as “naive, clumsy and sinister.” This effectively opened the door to abortion on demand. The wording is such that abortion is now “no longer an offence” provided certain criteria are met. These criteria are:
*Risk of life of the mother.
*Risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the mother.
*Risk of injury to the physical or mental health of existing children.
*Substantial risk of the child being born abnormal.
*In emergency to save the life of the mother.
*In emergency to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the mother.
The majority of abortions are performed under the second of these criteria. The reason is simple – risk of injury is implicit in all pregnancy. As no parameters are given to quantify this risk, any woman may argue the case for an abortion. There is a risk. Therefore I am entitled to abort this child! The only restraining influence is the doctor’s conscience.
With over 160,000 abortions procured on this ground each year, that appears not to be very effective. Less than ten abortions are carried out each year in cases of genuine danger to the life of the mother. The argument that such a law would abolish back-street abortion has proved unfounded. These have remained almost constant.
B. ABORTION – BUSINESS ARISING:
The change in the law has spawned an industry of ‘pregnancy advisory centres,’ that is, legalised private clinics whose only function is to kill babies for money. This may seem undesirable, but the law produces other ‘business arising’ too.
Approximately twenty per cent of aborting mothers are left with some permanent physical damage such as persistent infection, blood clots, perforation of the uterus right through to sterility. Abortion is not corrective surgery – it is an assault on the body. Add to this post-abortion suicidal tendencies, depression, emptiness and guilt.
The most common methods of abortion in Great Britain are vacuum aspiration and D. & C. (dilatation and curettage). Both involve the chopping up of a live and pain-sensing baby and then crushing his or her head to pulp with specially designed forceps. It is a medical barbarity.
C. ABORTION – THE SPIRITUAL ISSUE:
Are there any spiritual implications in all this? The church was largely silent in 1967. But this is GOD’S world and, as His children, Christians are responsible for how it is run.
(i) THE VALUE OF LIFE
The Abortion Act is built upon the philosophy or evolutionary humanism, the view that all living creatures have developed deterministically from primeval chemical reactions. But this runs counter to the Word of God. Man is unique – see Gen. 1:27; Ps. 8:3-5. Children seem to have a special place before God – see Mt. 18:5-6: Mark 10:13-16.
(ii) LIFE BEFORE BIRTH
There is no scientific or medical doubt that a baby is a separate human being from the moment of its conception. However, it is pure guesswork to suggest that the new human being does not receive a soul until later. We know that the development of the child in the womb is more than the unfolding of a genetic programme. See especially Job 10:8-12; Ps.
139:13-16; Luke 1:39-45.
God determines our sex, physical characteristics, parents and genes. Because the unborn baby is a human being, abortion as it is currently practised is an abuse of human rights.
D. ABORTION – THE CHRISTIAN RESPONSE:
(i) DEFEND THE WEAK
We have a responsibility to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Prov. 31:8-9; Ps. 82:3-4. We have a responsibility to argue the case for the unborn – including the deformed. God’s answer is CARE, not KILL. What do you make of Ex. 4:11; Lev. 19:14?
(ii) CARE FOR THE NEEDY
It is no use advising a teenage girl not to abort her illegitimate baby, without providing all the help she needs. Love, practical support, a roof over her head, protection, advice, adoption, and advice – all need to be provided. What is the mark of true religion in James 1:27?
(iii) EDUCATE THE IGNORANT
A good half of unnecessary abortions are carried out on married women – in many cases it is seen as a form of birth control. There is much pressurising and withholding of the facts along with double-think, euphemistic language (‘disposing of foetal matter’; ‘terminating a pregnancy’; ‘just a blob of jelly’) that must be resisted. We have a responsibility to educate people as to the facts. (Hosea 4:6).
1. Think about how you would counsel and help an unmarried pregnant mother who was contemplating an abortion.
2. How would you handle the statement: “All deformed foetuses should be aborted.”?
3. “A foetus is not really a human being.” Do you agree? Give biblical reasons for your answer.
4. Look up and study Lev. 20:2-3; Ps. 106:37-38 on the practice of child- sacrifice to the god Molech. Has this any relevance for the abortion practice of today?
1. Engage in spiritual warfare when you pray against abortion in this land.
2. Educate yourself and ‘read up’ about th
is issue – especially from a Christian viewpoint.
3. Consider joining an organisation such as CARE campaigns; or LIFE in order to support the campaign to repeal the Abortion Law.