Thoughts on abortion

I wrote this post exactly a year ago. And never posted it.

Having just written an essay on the moral status of the human embryo (i.e. when does a foetus become a person with moral rights) and the implications of it for the practice of abortion I’ve a few thoughts I wanted to try to write up. Now I know that this is an issue to tread carefully with, not least because I’m male and therefore a lot of women will feel that I can’t really have an opinion about something which undeniably affects women more than men. That said if we accept that life begins at conception then abortion is clearly wrong.

So far so typically evangelical. At this point however many of my brothers and sisters reach for the …. and so we should make it illegal, or at least much harder to get an abortion. Ah yes say the rest of society, but making it illegal just forces desperate women into backstreet abortions and a world of hurt and danger. Surely we don’t want to go back to those days? Well quite.

It actually strikes me that the secularists and liberals might have a point. As Christians we really should know that making things illegal doesn’t stop people wanting to do them – especially when they’re desperate. (See also theft, murder, drugs). The human dilemma is that knowledge of what is right or wrong isn’t the issue – it’s actually doing it that’s the problem. And if so then the number of abortions in the UK is a result of the ineffectiveness of Christianity in these islands. Not because we’ve failed to lobby for the legislation that would protect all the unborn children who are the innocent victims of abortion but because we’ve failed to be the sort of salt and light that gets involved with women who are considering abortion and supports them in carrying the baby to term. We have no right to lobby for a change in the law until we are making a real difference in terms of counselling and financial and other support.

The other thing that would give us some credibility on this issue is if Christians who care about abortion were more prepared to adopt. Tragically adoption is considered as a sort of second best option for childless couples, instead of something that every Christian couple should at least prayerfully consider. Just a thought.

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