Abortion– An Affinity Statement
God is the Creator (Genesis 1:21) and Sustainer (Psalm 54:4) of all life. But because only human beings are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), human life is special – we all possess God-given, intrinsic dignity and value.
It is beyond cavil that human life commences at fertilisation when a new, genetically-unique entity, known as a zygote, is formed. Therefore we seek to uphold and promote the utmost respect for human life, from fertilisation until natural death. We are therefore opposed to the deliberate taking of any innocent human life, at whatever stage. Hence, we are opposed to all abortion, whether by surgical or chemical means.
Abortion confounds the historic foundations of medical ethics and practice, namely, the Christian doctrines and the Hippocratic Oath. To kill those made in the image of God is an affront to the Creator and it makes a nonsense of the Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13) and the Golden Rule, ‘In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you …’ (Matthew 7:12). Furthermore, the Hippocratic Oath not only specifically forbids abortion, but also calls upon doctors ‘to do their patients no harm’.
We regard the 1967 Abortion Act (and its subsequent revision in 1990) as one of the worst pieces of legislation ever passed by Parliament. While its original intention was a limited reform of abortion law, what has followed, some 40 years on, is the free supply of abortion, or what is often called ‘abortion on demand’. The number of abortions performed in England and Wales has now reached well over 190,000 each year, with a grand total now in excess of 6 million.
Abortion has had a profound, deleterious effect upon our society. It has cheapened our view of human life. It has confounded the unique role of women in the bearing and caring of children. It has also physically and psychologically damaged them – post-abortion syndrome is now a recognised medical condition. It has distorted that centre of safety and nurture in our society, the family. It has abrogated the traditional role of men as protectors of women and children. It has subverted that most complex and profound of relationships between a child and a parent. It has caused uncertainty in the minds of born children. It has thwarted the role of grandparents. So, we may ask, when did abortion ever produce or strengthen family relationships?
But its effects are even wider – we have all been affected. For example, abortion has hardened our attitude and blunted our compassion towards the weak. A ‘search and destroy’ mentality now prevails whereby prenatal detection of some conditions, such as Down’s syndrome and spina bifida, is typically followed by abortion. This is eugenics and it has produced an ambivalence in our society towards the disabled. Furthermore, how can our attitude and response to Third World devastation and famine ever be adequate when we have such a cheap view of human life at home? And because abortion is now a routine part of obstetrics and gynaecology training and practice many morally-sensitive doctors and nurses are excluded from making careers in these areas.
When any society views human life as a cheap and disposable commodity, history teaches us that the outcome is always bad. Our society has persisted in putting to death its unborn offspring and the full cost of such a public policy has yet to be reckoned and paid. We must strive to bring our society to its senses.
Christians should always be in the forefront of the required regeneration and reformation of our society. After all, Christians have a proper view of right and wrong, as well as a clear understanding of the meaning and value of human life. Christians must also show compassion towards all those who suffer, including pregnant women. Christians must live by the Golden Rule, defend the weak and speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Public policy positions:
1. We call upon Parliament to repeal the 1967 Abortion Act, as amended 1990.
2. We call upon all those in authority to oppose every form of abortion and to encourage legislation, resources and action that will support and cherish all human life, from its earliest times.
3. We ask that proper support be given to all girls and women who have problem pregnancies. This support should include counselling, accommodation and all practical help so that these mothers do not need to resort to abortion as a so-called solution to their immediate problems.
4. We urge the government to consider achieving much of the above in a rapid and cost-effective manner by supplying substantial funding to charitable agencies, such as LIFE, who are already working successfully in these areas.
5. Since high rates of abortion among teenagers are linked to high levels of sexual activity, we call upon the government to implement a more effective strategy of sex education that is based on abstinence.
6. We ask the government to fund research into abortion-linked health problems, such as post-abortion syndrome and some types of breast cancer. Additional funding is also needed to develop more effective treatments for the disabled preborn and born rather than sanctioning their destruction. When newborn babies suffer conditions that are incompatible with life, hospice care should be provided.
7. All pregnant women, who wish to be attended and treated by doctors and nurses not involved in the abortion industry, should be enabled to do so.
8. Above all, we call upon those in authority to reject
the ‘culture of death’ that we have suffered for too long. Instead, we
call for an educational and legislative programme that encourages a society that
is pro-life, where pregnancy is a joy and has a special status, where parenthood
is a privilege, where children, especially the unborn, are protected and
cherished and where the disabled are given extra care.
13 February 2007.