St Stephen Lewisham
27th April 2008
40th Anniversary of the Abortion Act
Children and the fruit of the womb : are an heritage and gift that cometh from the Lord
Just imagine for a moment that you are an unmarried teenage girl of today who finds that she is pregnant. Or, if that’s too difficult for you to imagine, then just suppose that your daughter, or sister, or grand-daughter finds herself in this situation.
Your schoolmates, or some of them at least, will urge you to have an abortion. They tell you, perhaps from their own experience, that it’s really quite simple to arrange. One of them may claim to have had one herself, and no bad effects followed – though knowing her as you do, and her mood-swings of the past few months which were so unlike her former self and nobody could account for make you wonder whether she is really the best person to take advice from.
You tell your parents that you are in trouble. They say that decision whether to have an abortion is up to you, but they will support you whichever way you choose. Your friends will say that to have the problems of being a mother at your age will put paid to your ideas of a having a successful career. You will lose all those wonderful, carefree years of youth to which everyone should be entitled.
Your family informs you that in previous generations some of your recent forebears were ‘no better than they ought to be’ and lived lives of unfulfilled drudgery as a result of having to bring their baby to term because in those days there were no ‘safe’ abortion facilities available. Worse than that, those babies often grew up to be a disgrace to the family name: uncontrolled, uncontrollable, they were a failure at everything they set their hands to do.
Yet still you are not completely convinced by all the arguments with which you are being bombarded. Maybe you yourself were conceived outside wedlock, and if your own mother had followed such advice, you wouldn’t be alive today: and being alive, despite all your present troubles is something for which you are enormously grateful.
Then one night you have a very disturbing dream. Like most such dreams it is very muddled, but the outline is as follows:
You have had your baby and he is now a grown man. He has been a constant source of worry to you since he became a teenager. Some people think he’s mad, others, merely bad. He’s often been in trouble with the authorities for breaking the law, most recently for inciting Religious Hatred and violating the Rest Day Activity Law.
Then the scene changes and your son is up in court on a really serious charge of False Pretences – one of the most serious crimes in the Law-book for which the penalty is either death or life-imprisonment.
At that moment you thankfully wake up and realise that, thank God, it was only a dream. Still, all those misgivings raised by your friends and family come flooding to the surface. Supposing that dream came true! Supposing it was a warning of what was going to happen, as dreams sometimes are.
Wouldn’t an abortion seem a possible solution then?
Now some of you may already have guessed that the case we have just been thinking of is very much the one that would have faced the Virgin Mary had the Incarnation taken place in Lewisham today rather than two thousand years ago in Palestine.
Mary was a teenager. Mary was pregnant. Her ancestry, according to St Matthew, was littered with dubious moral characters. Her Son was called mad, bad and dangerous to know. He was constantly in trouble with the Law. He was put on trial and put to death for the supreme crime of claiming to be God Himself. What chance do you think He would have stood of surviving the Abortion-option in our world of 2008?
Now consider some of the facts about what has happened right under our noses during the past forty years. There have been about seven million children destroyed by abortion during that time. That is many times more than the total killed in all the wars fought by England during its history.
In the vast majority of cases these children have been killed for the supposed benefit of someone else: the mother who conceived them; the father who impregnated her; the society who would have had to support them if they were born with some defect, physical, mental or moral; the families who would have had to live with the embarrassment their birth would cause – everyone, that is, except the children themselves.
Consider next that amongst those seven million the vast majority, had they been allowed to live, would have led useful, fulfilled lives, and been loved by and in their turn, loved many people.
There would also have been some, not many perhaps who would have been destined to become writers, artists, and musicians whose works would have been inestimably beneficial to mankind – unique in fact. They would also have included scientists, doctors, researchers and others whose wisdom and inventiveness would have transformed for the better the lives of many people today, not least those living in dire poverty. Also amongst their number would have been preachers and teachers whose ministry would have transformed the lives of thousands of their fellow-men from meaninglessness to a sense of purposefulness that only a lively belief in God can supply.
For the truth is that every child is a gift from God – as the psalm quoted at the beginning says. And this is not some dry, theological statement which you might expect to hear in church. It is what every mother who has given birth, and every midwife who has assisted them really knows in their heart of hearts.
You can’t have it both ways. Either a baby is a unique part of God’s creation with inalienable rights to be allowed to live, or else it’s something disposable, like paper handkerchiefs or Christmas wrapping-paper when they cease to be of use.
If they are disposable, as many choose to believe, then some of us here should watch out. There will come a time, not far away for some of us, when we too shall ‘cease to be of use’. It’s only a short step from unwanted babies being disposed of to unwanted, old or disabled, being given the same treatment for precisely that reason – and, as you probably know, the clamour for Euthanasia, like that for legal abortion in the 1960s, grows louder every day.
So just bear in mind that, when someone tells you that they are thinking of having a legal abortion, however safe they think it is (and it often isn’t) that the reasons they give for doing so would have applied equally to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as he grew in the womb of Mary.
So Choose Life that you may live – not just now, but for Eternity!
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