ARE ABORTION AND EUTHANASIA ACCEPTABLE BOOKENDS OF LIFE?
It is very important that I make this disclaimer before I even begin to look at a subject which is one of the most controversial subjects in the world today:
I am going to state what my view on abortion and euthanasia is. I cannot be absolutely certain that my view is correct, but I base it as best I can on the Bible and on the moving of the Holy Spirit within me.
What I declare now, and what is implicit throughout this discussion, is that all our views on this subject are the result of knowing that God loves all of us – the young and the old, the unborn and the near-to-death – and that God’s plan for birth and death is always underpinned by His perfect love for us all (John 3: 16; 1 John 4: 7-16; Romans 8: 37-39; Isaiah 54: 10; Psalm 136: 26)
What I declare now, and will repeat throughout this message, is that belief and condemnation are two very different things. If you believe – or practice – a very different approach to the one that I state here, then that will not make me judge you or condemn you. Far from it! I will love you, care for you and stand by you through whatever you choose to do.
My “job” is simply to tell you what I believe, and what ACC believes, to be the BEST way.
So, here we go…
PART 1: WHAT IS “ABORTION”?
The “Oxford Languages” dictionary (that used by Google) gives a very simple definition that, I believe, will suffice us for our purposes here:
The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.
There is also, of course, what is known as “natural abortion” – or miscarriage – where the body rejects the foetus for one of many different reasons. I do not propose to discuss this as, to me, this is not abortion in the sense that we are looking at it. The parent who loses a child in this way is to be loved, cared for and comforted with all the love that we can muster.
Here are the latest government statistics which relate to the year 2020: There were 209,917 abortions for women resident in England and Wales, the highest number since the Abortion Act (1967) was introduced. 81% of these abortions were for women whose marital status was “single”. 77% were for those whose ethnicity was given as “white”. More than 98% of the abortions given were on the grounds that the mental health of the mother would be harmed.
WHAT IS ACC’S STANCE ON ABORTION?
We are in principle “Pro Life” – which in its simplest form can be taken to mean that we believe God gives life and God takes life away and that we are not to take the place of God in either of these. Rather, our role is to promote life and encourage a fullness of life – here on earth and life eternal. As such we are in general against the practice of abortion.
In Jeremiah 1: 5 God declares to the prophet:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
This goes together so well with God’s words to the same prophet later in his book (Jeremiah 29: 11):
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
With two such profoundly clear statements, how could any one of us doubt that God knows us, and has given us life, from the time we were in the womb. It is therefore HIS choice that we are here, and He has a plan for each one of our lives. Simply put, if we therefore choose to end the life of the child – even before that child is born – then we are going against the will of God…and which one of us really wants to do that!
But the argument of the pro-abortion lobby is that this child is in MY body and that I have the right to choose to do whatever I want to MY body. Do you not see the selfishness of this point of view? We believe that life begins at conception (because once an egg is fertilised by a sperm, life begins). And if life has begun then to wilfully take away that life is murder – and murder is forbidden in the “10 Commandments” – for not one of us has the right to take the life of another without justification.
Ahhhh…now “here’s the rub”…are there justifiable reasons for abortion?
- The first – and the commonest reason for abortion is “parental choice” – here one or both of the parents simply do not want to have a baby. It was an “accident” or a “mistake”. To have a baby would mean that money will be “tight” or education will be hampered. So, the abortion is simply to be rid of the problem. We do not accept that this is ever a justifiable reason for abortion. My dearest friends were unable to have children of their own. They were desperate to adopt so that they could build a family. Eventually they were given a boy who has grown to be a fine man and a faithful Christian, with a family of his own. But despite many hopes they were never able to adopt another child because of the lack of babies for adoption at that time…a time when hundreds – thousands – of babies were being aborted. There are consequences for all things. One of the consequences of sex is pregnancy. In this case the parents should take the consequences of the decision to engage in sex – and if they do not want to keep the child or are unable to love the child, then let that child go to someone who can.
- A second reason for abortion is population control – where the state enforces abortion in order to stop the population rising or to ensure that a particular tribe or nation is reduced in size. In the Bible this is seen most clearly at the time when the Israelites were in slavery to the Egyptians. Exodus 1 : 9-22
9 “Look,” [Pharoah] said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us… 15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”… 22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
This heinous practice continues to this very day! Whether it is the awful practice of “exposing” a new born infant on a hillside, or of the Chinese government forcing their people to have abortions – a practice that is, I fear to say, often underpinned by western (including British) medical aid to China, we are totally against this reason for abortion taking place (see the shocking facts in the appendix at the end of this teaching).
- A third reason given is that abortion is justifiable for those who have been raped. I truly sympathise with this reason and will stand by, non-judgementally, anyone who chooses to abort the foetus. The woman is pregnant through no fault of her own (and I am sure we all have our own views as to what should be done to the rapist!). Yet I have to remember that my own ancestor was raped in the Welsh Valleys at the age of 11. Her community told her that she must get rid of the baby and she was shunned when she refused to do so. The result was that she had a baby who was my forebear. If she had had an abortion then I would never have been born. As such I would not actively support abortion even for this reason – though would stand by the one who decided on the opposite course.
- A fourth reason given is that abortion is justifiable when the child would be born horribly disfigured or mentally damaged – such as with Down Syndrome. Again I truly sympathise with this reason and will stand by, non-judgementally, anyone who chooses to abort the foetus. The organisation SPUC state: Disabled unborn babies have a right to life, the same as any other baby, born or unborn. The Equality Act 2010 protects the rights of disabled people after they have been born, but the 1967 Abortion Act allows them to be killed before they are born. Indeed, under the 1967 Abortion Act, disabled babies can be aborted right up to birth. Parents can be put under severe pressure by healthcare professionals to abort an unborn baby who has been given a prenatal diagnosis of a disability or a genetic anomaly. Common experiences include being told that their child “was incompatible with life”, “would live a life of suffering”, “would be a vegetable”, or “would ruin their family”. This can make parents feel that abortion is the only thing to do. As such I would not actively support abortion even for this reason – though would stand by the one who decided on the opposite course. (for more on this you might want to watch the following: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju-q4OnBtNU)
- A final reason given is that abortion is justifiable when the child has died in the womb or when the mother is told she will die if she tries to take the child to “term”. Again I truly sympathise with this reason and will stand by, non-judgementally, anyone who chooses to abort the foetus. If a person dies, whether inside or outside the womb, the right course of action is to remove the mortal remains and bury them, committing the child to the loving arms of their Father in Heaven. What would possess someone to believe that the dead foetus should remain in the womb! And, even though in the past, many women died giving birth to their child, I have to confess that if I knew that the birth would kill the mother, I would be sympathetic to the child being aborted…may God forgive me if I am wrong in this! Thankfully, only two abortions were carried out in 2021 due to the mother being at risk of death if she progressed with the pregnancy.
I see a difference between “doing it to yourself and doing it to another”. In principle we believe that it would be wrong to knowingly and willingly help someone die. This is tantamount to breaking the commandment of “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20: 13). As such I will resist any organisation or government that allows a person to choose an abortion on the grounds that it is an inconvenience. And as such I will resist any family member who seeks to persuade (whether by argument or force) a woman to abort the child that she is carrying because that child is an inconvenience. And when a mother, herself, chooses to end the life of the child growing within her I will do all that I can to persuade her to find another path. But, if she does go down this road then I will not judge her or condemn her, but rather, by the Spirit who dwells within me, I shall love her, care for her and support her as she comes to terms with what she has done. And know this – if you have had an abortion, God still loves you and wants to heal you from what has happened and the pain that has been caused.
PART 2: WHAT IS “EUTHANASIA”?
The “Oxford Languages” dictionary also gives a simple definition of euthanasia:
However, it does not explain who makes this decision: is it the patient? Or is it their family? Or is it the medical profession? Or is it society or the government?
Is murder, killing in war and capital punishment forms of euthanasia? Possibly they are. But, for the benefit of this discussion I am going to limit my range to the definition above.
In 1976 the now-famous film “Logan’s Run”, staring Michael York and Jenny Agutter, was released. The story-line is that in the year 2274, young residents enjoy an idyllic, hedonistic lifestyle within the protective confines of a domed city. The general belief is that when each person turns 30, they are reincarnated for another blissful life cycle. Those who know the much darker truth – which is that euthanasia is practiced on all after this time – become “runners” and flee to a hidden sanctuary. When law enforcement officer Logan (Michael York) goes undercover to locate the refuge, he winds up instead trying to initiate a revolution with runner Jessica (Jenny Agutter). It was a film looking at the issue of euthanasia being used to control the population explosion and being forced, through the use of lies, on all people
Due to the hidden nature of the use of euthanasia, it is very difficult to get meaningful statistics. But the Crown Prosecution Service reported on the 18th April 2023: “From 1 April 2009 up to 31 March 2023, there have been 182 cases referred to the CPS by the police that have been recorded as assisted suicide. Of these 182 cases, 125 were not proceeded with by the CPS and 35 cases were withdrawn by the police. There are currently four ongoing cases”. And Wikipedia reports that: “Approximately 46 Britons a year go abroad to Dignitas in Switzerland for a physician-assisted suicide. No family member has been convicted of helping them although some have been charged and have had to wait before hearing the charges have been dropped”. Further, the UK Parliament reported on 8th October 2021 that: “In February 2020, the British Medical Association (BMA) published results from a survey of its members on doctor-assisted dying. 50% of its members supported changing the law to allow prescribing for self-administered life-ending drugs”.
WHAT IS ACC’S STANCE ON EUTHANASIA?
We are in principle “Pro Life” – which in its simplest form can be taken to mean that we believe God gives life and God takes life away and that we are not to take the place of God in either of these. Rather, our role is to promote life and encourage a fullness of life – here on earth and life eternal. As such we are in general against the practice of euthanasia.
We are against it as we believe that it is God who knows and decides on the time of our death.
King David wrote in Psalm 139: 16
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Here is evidence for God knowing us in the womb (and so an argument against abortion); but here to is David declaring that God is in charge of the length of our lives – and so an argument against euthanasia.
Yet, there is at least one story in the Bible that would seem to suggest that there are exceptions to the rule: that of the death of King Saul as recorded in 1 Samuel 31: 1-6 –
Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua. 3 The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically.
4 Saul said to his armour-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”
But his armour-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When the armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. 6 So Saul and his three sons and his armour-bearer and all his men died together that same day.
Is an exception to the rule that of serious wounding in battle that will lead to death? Or of the reality of the certainty that your enemies are about to kill you? This is a hard one. Let us remember that just because it is written in the Bible does not mean it is sanctioned by God – the Bible is full of horrific tales of what man does to man and to himself and is not giving licence to our doing it to others.
Is there an exception by being seriously – terminally – ill and being in terrible pain and suffering? If we see a dog suffering, we do not hesitate to put it down. Should we not show the same “kindness” to the person who is in excruciating pain? To increase the intake of morphine – a blessed pain-relief – to the point where the person just quietly drifts into death…surely that is a blessing to them…isn’t it?
But here I think I want to draw your attention to the reaction of the armour bearer to his master’s request to kill him. I think that I would react the same – if I were to be asked to help someone die, I truly wonder if I would have the courage to help them – let alone act on what I feel about euthanasia in any case!
Again, I see a difference between “doing it to yourself and doing it to another”. In principle we believe that it would be wrong to knowingly and willingly help someone die. This is tantamount to breaking the commandment of “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20: 13). If, though, the person themselves chooses to end their own life (we call this suicide) then that is between them and God. I will do my hardest to persuade them not to do so. I might even contact the “authorities” in order for them to be stopped doing so. But at the end of the day this would be a decision between them and God. But, if this person does go down this road then I will not judge them or condemn them, but rather, by the Spirit who dwells within me, I shall love them, care for them and support them as they come to terms with what they have done.
Therefore, this is our stance:
We are Pro-Life. With this declaration we are speaking of both the beginning of life (which we believe starts at the point of conception) and the end of life (which we believe ends with God ordaining that it is time for man’s spirit to leave their body and enter into eternity).
We believe that it is the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away when it comes to life.
We believe that we should take this stand at a time when a society without God, a society which worships the devil as the “prince of this world” is whispering in our ears that we have the “right” to do what we want with our bodies – to take life at its beginning and at its end. We do not believe this is right!
But we believe that our role is to love and care and be supportive of all those who choose to go along a different path. It is our role to declare what we believe about life and why we believe it. But we will stand by those who choose differently. It is not our job to judge or to condemn. It is our job to care. If you have gone through an abortion or been involved in euthanasia we shall stand by you and uphold you as you endure all the pain that comes upon you as a result of your decision.
Deciding to not have an abortion, or to remain alive when in such pain is such an awful decision to make. It is not one that I have ever had to make, and I hold all who have done so in such admiration. But I understand enough of the horror of these decisions to recognise that those who choose the other path are those who deserve my love and my care, my understanding and my support. And this we will give you. And again, let me state my belief that if you have been involved in either abortion or euthanasia, God loves you and wants to heal you from all the effects that this has caused.
SPUC DECLARATION ON FORCED ABORTIONS IN CHINA:
- The one-child policy created an estimated 30 to 40 million “missing women” in China.
- The Chinese Communist Party put in place “a comprehensive system of measures to ‘optimise’ the population in Xinjiang” to reduce the Uyghur birth rate, including mandatory sterilisation and forced abortions.
- Between 2015 and 2018 the natural population growth rates of Uyghurs in the southern Xinjiang prefectures declined by 73.5%, and by 2018 and 2019 (in several counties) dropped to zero or became negative.
- In 2019, at least 186,400 fewer children were born in Xinjiang than would be naturally expected.
- UK bilateral aid engaging China totalled around £82 million in 2019.
- Further sums of £55.3 million and £23.7 million were given in the most recent year available to the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA), both of which have been implicated in China’s coercive reproductive policies.
- Recent polling found that almost two-thirds of people (60%) believe the UK should cut abortion funding in countries such as China where concerns exist about women being coerced into abortion.
DO YOU WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT CHINESE FORCED ABORTIONS AND SIGN A PETITION ASKING THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT TO STOP “AID” TO CHINA WHICH INCLUDES FUNDING CHINESE ABORTION PROGRAMMES?
If so, this SPUC link will give you more information:
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE OR RECEIVE HELP
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Tel: 020 7091 7091
Email: email@example.com Website: cbruk.org