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The 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act

winter 2017

From triple helix - winter 2017 - The 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act

It is not too late to change things

50 years; 8.8 million abortions; 550 every day; 3,800 every week; 16,000 each month; 200,000 every year. One in five pregnancies ends in abortion. One in three women has cooperated in the death of her son or daughter. One in three men has fathered, and abandoned, an aborted baby. Or to put it another way, there are 100,000 people alive in Northern Ireland today precisely because they don't have a law like ours. 1

Every abortion has been carried out by a doctor trained in the art of healing despite abortion being against the Hippocratic Oath, 2 the Declaration of Geneva and the historic stance of the British Medical Association. 3

Seemingly, this is not enough. The 'We Trust Women' campaign 4 wants to decriminalise abortion completely. Driven by abortion 'provider' BPAS, the Royal College of Midwives, 5 the British Medical Association 6 and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 7 have all given their support. There are also calls to relax the law in Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man. The pressure is relentless.

And yet at the same time, there is increasing disquiet about late abortions: high resolution ultrasound videos; media stories of babies born alive following 'botched' procedures; reports of late abortions flouting the existing law. This lays open the fundamental conviction which permits this situation to continue. Virtually no one would contemplate dismembering a newborn baby and throwing the body parts into a bucket simply because the baby was unwanted, or even because it was the product of rape - this would be unthinkable. And yet the younger the baby in the womb, the more people regard abortion as acceptable.

In 2008 an attempt by MPs to cut the upper limit for abortion to 12 weeks (the European average) was opposed by 393 votes to 71. 8 At 16 weeks, it was 387 to 84 and at 20 weeks 332 to 190. The closest vote, on a 22-week limit, was defeated by 304 to 233.

Why should a preborn baby be accorded less value at 16 weeks or twelve weeks or eight weeks? They all have developed organ systems and beating hearts. And an individual human life begins at conception. Isn't this simply discrimination based on age, or size, or neurological capacity - an arbitrary judgement akin to racism or sexism?

Righteousness exalts a nation. 9 It is not too late to change things; to reflect, repent and reorder our priorities; to speak out; to be advocates for the voiceless; to offer women in crisis something other than a curette.

Review by Peter Saunders CMF Chief Executive

1. Daily Express 2 August 2017 bit.ly/2mWxy6S
2. Saunders P. Christian Medical Comment 23 February 2013 bit.ly/2BjqxjO
3. Saunders P. Christian Medical Comment 24 July 2011 bit.ly/2tqoSaK
4. wetrustwomen.org.uk
5. Daily Telegraph 15 May 2016 bit.ly/1srKT5p
6. BMA Online 27 June 2017 bit.ly/2tkqLFM
7. RCOG Online 22 September 2017 bit.ly/2BadobT
8. BBC News Online 21 May 2008 bbc.in/2hOAb5t
9. Proverbs 14:34


Article written by Peter Saunders

More from triple helix: winter 2017

  • Medicine and The Reformation
  • The 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act
  • Nurse staffing shortages
  • Opt-out for organ donation?
  • Sustainable Development and Nursing
  • The Ethics of Gene Editing
  • 20 Years of Triple Helix
  • the conversion therapy controversy
  • the abortion act 1967 50 years on
  • genes, determinism & God
  • ICMDA looks to Hyderabad
  • being a driver for change
  • praying in pain
  • Personal Freedom: How the Gospel can be good for your mental health
  • What are they teaching the children?
  • Chaplaincy in Hospice and Palliative Care
  • the way we die now
  • Eutychus
  • lessons from king Asa
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