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Monday, 22 April 2019 07:53

On which day did pro-lifers (almost) lose the battle against abortion? 

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On which day did pro-lifers (almost) lose the battle against abortion?  Pexels

Here in Australia, was it that day in October 2008 when the Victorian parliament made abortion on demand legal up until 24 weeks of pregnancy? [Note: with signatures from two doctors, abortion is available to 40 weeks - Ed]. Or was it some years before that when the parliament of the Australian Capital Territory made abortion on demand legal right up until birth?

I would suggest that it was on neither of those dates, but some time much earlier still. 

Before naming the day though, just a very brief review of what it is that pro-lifers profess to believe. In one sentence: pro-lifers object to abortion, primarily, because we believe that every abortion takes the life of an innocent child. 

So, when was that fateful day that we (almost) lost the battle?

I believe that it was on the day when each us who believes the above statement to be true became aware that places had commenced openly providing abortions – i.e. that places were openly killing innocent human beings – in our society, yet we failed to take direct action (and I would argue that must be non-violent direct action) to try and ensure that such killing did not take place there even one day further.

An extreme assessment? It may seem so, but nevertheless I believe it is a correct one. 

Please ask yourself these two questions:

Is it ever right that innocent people should be deliberately killed?      Answer: No. 

Is it always right that strenuous intervention should be made to assist innocent people who are about to be killed?     Answer: Yes. 

Who would disagree with the answers to the two questions above? Surely no pro-lifer - at least in principle.

When the first abortion killing centres openly began “business” in each State they could not have known with certainty what the community reaction to their presence would be. Of course they knew there would be some strong objections but they would have hoped that any initial outcry could be ridden out. 

And considerable objections, to a greater or lesser extent in each State, there were, and indeed, continue to be made. But the outcry has essentially been successfully ridden out. 

Imagine though: what if on the day after it became known that a killing centre had opened that hundreds, no, thousands of people who recognised the value of every human life had descended on those premises and simply by their physical presence, made it impossible for one more life to be taken there? And the next day, and each and every day the place tried to open, the same was done again?

Who knows what direction things may have gone then? 

We cannot know, but it is surely reasonable to suggest that the situation may not be as bad as it is today if that course of action had been taken then. Those who intervened in such a way would likely have had to pay a very significant price for doing so, but almost certainly their actions would, at the very  least, have forced our society to genuinely face up to the reality of what abortion is. It is arguable that this – facing up to the reality of abortion - has never really happened in this country.

Thirty to forty years ago there was much more general sympathy in the community to the pro-life position. Perhaps if a totally uncompromising stand had been taken from the very beginning then the only abortions being done today would be those being done in secret. Perhaps not though, but at least those intervening directly for the unborn children would have acted rightly.

In the years leading up to WWII when the Nazis first began their overt persecution of the Jews, they could not have known for certain what the wider public’s reaction to such persecution would be. 

What though if every time a Jew was assaulted in the street or a call was made for Jewish businesses to be boycotted or attacked, the Christian community had, in a solid, unified and uncompromising manner, directly intervened (again I would argue, non-violently) to help the Jews? (This is not to suggest that such help was never given, but it seems to have been more the exception than the rule.)

Given the brutality and ruthlessness of Hitler’s regime it would have to be expected that the consequences for the Christian community for taking such a stand would have been devastating, as it usually was for those individuals who did intervene. However if the wider Christian community had said NO to the persecution of the Jews and to Hitler more generally, who knows what the outcome may have been?

Perhaps the Christian community would have been completely wiped out; perhaps too though the war and the Holocaust may have been prevented. Should it have happened however that the German Christian community was destroyed, would that have meant that the Christians had therefore acted wrongly? Of course not: rather, the greatest respect would be held by everyone for those who had given their lives in such a Christ-like manner to try and stop such evil. This is in contrast to the usually unstated question, “Where were the Christians under Hitler?”

Where are the Christians today when it comes to abortion? An estimated several million babies have been killed in openly operating abortion “clinics” and hospitals in Australia over the last four decades.

This article is not intended to be an attack on pro-lifers in this country. The fact is that none of us come close to doing what is right all of the time. And it is not hard to understand why it was that people who believed abortion to be a terrible wrong did not take a completely uncompromising stand when the “clinics” first opened. 

To be fair, the pro-life movement was in its infancy then and many people barely appreciated what was going on. Moreover, for generally law-abiding citizens the thought of coming into conflict with the law, even for the best of reasons, can be very daunting. And the prospect of having one’s own personal life, let alone the life of one’s family, majorly disrupted – in terms of relationships, work, finances and freedom - is almost too awful to contemplate.

It is understandable why pro-lifers then, and now too, were/are reluctant to directly intervene to try and stop the killing of the children. But simply because it is understandable does not thereby make it right.

It was not right that the German Christians, as a whole, did not do every morally acceptable thing that they could, at whatever price was needed, to stop Hitler and the persecution of the Jews. That may seem tough to expect so much of them, but this takes us to the heart of what it means to be a Christian. Out of love for humanity, Jesus gave up everything, including his own life, and he requires nothing less than the same from those who would say that they are his followers. (Jesus said to his disciples: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16: 24)

Is everything then lost? In some ways things are even harder now than they were thirty to forty years ago but in other ways things are much better. Certainly in terms of the amount and quality of information and resources about the unborn child and abortion, the progress has been exceedingly positive. 

Yet despite all of that being literally at our fingertips by means of the internet, a new generation of young adults has grown up for whom the existence of specialist abortion killing centres in our cities and suburbs is nothing remarkable. As each day goes by and no direct intervention on behalf of the unborn takes place, the hearts of every one of us become more calloused to their plight. 

Even so, the battle need not be regarded as being ultimately lost. We who are Christians need to evaluate very carefully what we believe really matters – is there anything more important than human lives? Then we must, I believe, be prepared, if at all possible, to intervene at whatever the cost, in a way that is truly consistent with our conviction that abortion kills babies.