Editor’s note. When John Stott died last month, Christianity lost one of its most important and transcending international figures. His influence on global Christianity cannot be overstated. I chanced across the following statement from Stott on the blog of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), National Right to Life’s state affiliate.
“How can we speak of the termination of a pregnancy when what we really mean is the destruction of a human life? How can we talk of therapeutic abortion when pregnancy is not a disease needing therapy and what abortion effects is not a cure but a killing? How can we talk of abortion as a kind of retroactive contraception when what it does is not prevent conception but destroy the conceptus? We need to have the courage to use accurate language. Abortion is feticide: the destruction of an unborn child. It is the shedding of innocent blood, and any society that can tolerate this, let alone legislate for it, has ceased to be civilized.
“One of the major signs of decadence in the Roman Empire was that its unwanted babies were exposed, that is, abandoned to die. Can we claim that Western society is any less decadent because it consigns its unwanted babies to the hospital incinerator instead of the local rubbish dump? Reverence for human life is an indispensable characteristic of a humane and civilized society. …
“The Bible has much to say about God’s concern for the defenseless. And the most defenseless of all people are unborn children. They are speechless to plead their own cause and helpless to protect their own lives. So it is our responsibility to do for them what they cannot do for themselves.
“I now turn … to the Christian church. … We need to provide much more support for overburdened mothers — personal, financial, social, and medical support — both before and after their child is born. We need to ensure that children who may be unwanted and unloved by their parents will be welcomed and loved by others in society and especially by the church. …
“And, finally, we must not stand in personal judgment either on the women who have resorted to an abortion or on the men whose lack of sexual self-control is responsible for so many unwanted pregnancies. Instead, we must tell them that there is forgiveness with God. …”
— June 25, 1983