What does God think? Reflections on the 50th anniversary of Britain’s Abortion Act of 1967

By Peter Saunders

Editor’s note. Dr. Saunders is a former general surgeon and is CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship, a UK-based organization with 4,500 UK doctors and 1,000 medical students as members.

50 years; 8.8 million abortions; 550 every day; 3,800 every week; 16,000 each month; 200,000 every year.

That’s one Airbus 380 or 32 Dunblanes every day. The entire population of Wales and Scotland over all; 15% of Britain’s population.

Or to put it another way, there are100,000 people alive in Northern Ireland today precisely because they don’t have a law like ours: sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts, grandparents even. Teachers, nurses, pilots, lawyers, drivers, bakers, artists, musicians.

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.

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

98% of abortions have been authorised on grounds that the continuance of the pregnancy constitutes a greater danger to the mental health of the mother than having her baby aborted.

But there is no medical evidence that this is ever the case making 98% of abortions technically illegal.

When a doctor makes a false statement on a statutory document that is perjury. But the police don’t investigate. The CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] doesn’t prosecute. Judges give perverse judgments and parliament turns a blind eye. And the churches remain largely silent.

67 doctors, known to the GMC [General Medical Council], who illegally pre-signed forms authorising abortions for women they had never met and who in many cases were not yet pregnant remain uninvestigated.

Two doctors who illegally authorised sex-selection abortions walked free whilst Aisling Hubert, the person who brought the allegations against them (because the CPS wouldn’t), is landed with a £47,000 legal bill.

Meanwhile the bodies of aborted babies are incinerated amongst with recycled waste to heat our hospitals.

And yet it is seemingly not enough.

The We Trust Women campaign wants to decriminalise abortion completely. Driven by abortion ‘provider’ BPAS, the Royal College of Midwives, the British Medical Association, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have given their support.

There are calls to relax the law in Northern Ireland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man. The pressure is relentless.

Those who express a contrary opinion are pilloried on the media and driven from the public square.

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; doctors being forced against their conscience to refer women; reports of late abortions flouting the existing law; testimonies from women damaged or coerced into having abortions; the growing evidence in the medical literature of the links between abortion and mental illness, prematurity and (possibly) breast cancer; the sheer volume of spilt blood. At least with late abortions some people are beginning to wake up to reality.

But this simply brings into stark relief the fundamental conviction which enables this situation to go on.

Virtually no one would contemplate dismembering a newborn baby and throwing the bleeding body parts into a bucket – simply because the baby was unwanted, or even because it was the product of rape. It 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. 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.

And yet the European record for survival outside the womb is 21 weeks and five days and in the best neonatal units babies have good survival rates at 23 and 24 weeks (picture above).

Why should a preborn baby be accorded less value at 16 weeks or 12 weeks or eight weeks. They all have developed organ systems and beating hearts. And an individual human life begins at conception.

This is simply discrimination on the basis of age, or size, or neurological capacity – an arbitrary judgement akin to racism or sexism – it is just the biological parameter that is different.

So why do we tolerate it and rationalise it?

I suspect it is that we are all involved.

Abortion is an inevitable consequence of the lifestyle choices we have collectively made –the breakdown of the family, and the desire for a life unencumbered by dependents. We have parented aborted children ourselves or do not want to upset those who have.

What does God think?

The Bible links sexual immorality and the killing of children to idolatry (Psalm 106:37-39; Jeremiah 19:3,4); these sins are symptomatic of a nation which has turned its back on God, of an end stage culture. By contrast God calls his people to ‘rescue those being led away to death’ (Proverbs 24:11) and to ‘speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves’ (Proverbs 31:8).

‘You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…when I was made in the secret place…your eyes saw my unformed body’, writes the Psalmist (Psalm 139:13-16)

God hates ‘hands that shed innocent blood’ warns the writer of Proverbs (Proverbs 6:16,17).

God ‘hides his eyes’ from those whose ‘hands are full of blood’ (Isaiah 1:15). He will demand ‘an accounting’ (Genesis 9:5; Jeremiah 19:3,4).

God was ‘not willing to forgive’ Manasseh who ‘shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end’ (2 Kings 21:16, 24:3,4).

How then does God view Christian doctors; keeping silent; playing it safe; embarrassed by those who dare to speak out; rationalising their involvement in the ‘difficult cases’; perhaps even oiling the abortion machinery and participating in the killing?

We can be certain that God will bring justice. Judgment will come. Innocent blood will be paid for. And yet God, the supreme judge, is also the God of mercy and grace who withholds judgment to give people a chance to repent, who grants us forgiveness that we do not deserve, who sends his own son to have his innocent blood shed by evil men in order to pay the price for our sin. Judgment falls on Christ the innocent rather than upon us the guilty (Isaiah 53:5,6).

And in response to this mercy and grace he calls us to follow him by carrying his cross and embracing lives of love and obedience: risking the contempt of the politically correct by being advocates for the unborn child; bearing the cost of providing compassionate alternatives to abortion for those who will accept them; being part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

8.8 million abortions. But 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; to tell the truth about the consequences of abortion for children, women and society.

God’s word reminds us that righteousness exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34) and warnings of judgment always come with promises of restoration and hope – provided we respond to God’s call. The choice is ours.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Editor’s note. This appeared on Dr. Saunders’ blog and is reposted with permission.