Saturday, February 12, 2011

But what about the babies?

A few days ago I wrote that Conservative MP Nadine Dorries had complained of a lack of support she had had from the churches for what she had done in Parliament regarding abortion.

There are many church leaders who never mention abortion in their churches for fear of upsetting some in their congregations. There are committed Christians in Bible-believing churches who, for lack of teaching, have no idea where they stand on the issue of abortion as far as the Bible is concerned. There are, I believe, born-again Christians who have abortions because they believe it is purely a social issue on which they are free to choose.

The Evangelical Alliance has published the first of a series of reports on the beliefs and habits of evangelical Christians in the UK. It is based on a survey of more that 17,000 Christians who are, it claims, as representative as possible of evangelical Christians in the UK in the 21st century. (You can read the details of the survey here.)

The report turns up some interesting figures. Ninety-six per cent attend a church service at least once a week. Ninety-three per cent strongly agree that the Bible is the inspired word of God and 91 per cent strongly agree that Jesus is the only way to God. Eighty-eight per cent strongly agree that their faith is the most important thing in their life.

Ninety-six per cent pray at least a few times a week; 77 per cent pray daily. (Only 77 per cent?) Eighty-three per cent strongly agree that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit did not come to an end in the first century.

But when it comes to belief on the matter of abortion, there is a significant change in the figures. Asked if they believed that abortion can never be justified, 20 per cent agreed a lot, and 17 per cent agreed a little. That leaves at least 63 per cent who presumably are prepared to allow abortion.

Perhaps it was the phrase about never being justified. Perhaps some would allow abortion in the event of suspected disability, or in the event of rape.

If you believe in abortion for suspected disability, let me ask you to do something. Seriously. Next time you see someone who is disabled, ask them if they would rather be dead. Ask if they would rather someone had taken their life rather than allow them to live. See what they say.

And abortion in the case of rape? It is unusual for women to conceive in the event of rape. But it does happen.

Women who have been raped have suffered a terrible, horrific experience. They deserve all the love, all the care and all the help they can get.

What they do not need is the additional trauma of having the baby torn from their body. Once a woman is pregnant, the most natural thing in the world is for the baby to come to term. A most unnatural thing is for the baby to be suddenly removed.

Abortion is the deliberate taking of human life. Even people in favour of abortion admit that. Abortion does not just make a woman unpregnant. It makes her the mother of a dead baby.

The woman did not want to be pregnant, certainly under such circumstances. To be sure, half the baby is the father's. But remember: half of the baby is hers. Given time, she can come to love that baby.

One more thing. That baby did not ask to be conceived in such circumstances. Why should an innocent baby have to die because of its father's sin?

I have been criticised - by some Christians - for the stand that I take on abortion. Our job, I have been told, is to preach the gospel. When people come to Christ, things like abortion will sort themselves out.

There is one thing wrong with that. Six hundred unborn babies in the UK will die by abortion today. Another 600 will die tomorrow. And a further 600 the day after that.

Knowing that abortion claims the lives of 200,000 babies in the UK each year - and that apart from the number of early abortions caused by the morning-after pill - am I to say nothing about it? Not even to offer women positive help at the most vulnerable time in their lives?