Fantastic pro-life rally in Belfast
On Saturday I attended a pro-life rally in Belfast organised by Precious Life and Youth Defence. Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland and over seven thousand people turned up to show that they wanted to keep it that way.
Their support for life and their opposition to any extension of the Abortion Act 1967 was resolute and inspiring. Ireland and the pro-life activists are a shining light in the pro-life movement. Let’s be like them.
There were balloons, noise, music, singing and dancing and face painting. There was life.
The guest of honour was baby Riley, just a few weeks old, who was alive because abortion was illegal. This is the speech I wrote in preparation for the day:
“We are here today to celebrate life.
As David says in Psalm 139, each one of us is “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
Whether we’re male or female, old or young, tall or short, fat or thin, disabled or able bodied, serious or funny, English or Irish – we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.
We celebrate one another and we celebrate the common gift that we have, the gift of life.
It is good to be alive! In sunshine or rain, working or resting, at school or at home, it is good to be alive!
But there are threats to life. Things which take life.
Strokes take away about 53,000 lives each year in Britain.
Diabetes takes away around 75,000 lives each year in the UK.
Cancer takes away nearly 150,000 lives each year in the UK.
But there is one thing that is even more dangerous than all of those.
Not only does it take life, it takes life in such a way that not many people notice.
It is like an assassin; quiet and concealed, avoiding detection.
This assassin is called abortion.
Abortion takes nearly 200,000 lives a year in England and Wales; more than strokes, diabetes or cancer.
And it all takes place behind closed doors. People do not know about this silent holocaust which is going on across the world.
They are blinded to what is happening behind those doors.
It is so successful because it is dressed up as an angel of light but the reality is that it is pure darkness.
It is dressed up in the language of freedom and choice – who could object to freedom and choice? – but underneath the surface lies evil intent.
‘Freedom’ and ‘choice’ are used as a cover-up for taking away the freedom and choice of another – the unborn child.
Before she is even allowed to take her first breath, or to be held by her mother, or to have her photo taken, her life is taken from her.
Without consulting her. Without so much as a fleeting thought about what is best for her.
In 1967, when the abortion Act was passed, we were told that it would only apply to a few extreme cases.
In 2012, we now have nearly 200,000 abortions a year, with 98% of these being technically illegal.
It has been a slippery slope.
At the top of the slope were phrases like ‘women’s health’ and ‘the freedom to choose’.
At the bottom of the slope we now see abortion for what it is: death and darkness.
Abortion takes away the lives of children before they get a chance to live them; it is damaging to women and it is damaging to society as a whole.
Let’s take a moment to consider the life of the unborn child.
At 4 weeks, the baby’s heart begins to beat.
At 8 weeks, every organ is present and the baby begins to move spontaneously.
At 10 weeks, the baby’s fingerprints begin to form.
At 11 weeks, the baby begins to ‘practice’ facial expressions like smiling.
And what is the time limit on abortions in England and Wales? 24 weeks.
Babies can survive from 21 weeks outside the womb, and yet we allow them to be killed in the womb up to 24 weeks.
We lose nearly 200,000 of our children each year to abortion.
You will not find any obituaries written for them in any of the newspapers.
You will not find any gravestones with their names engraved on them.
They have been deprived of life. They are without name. And they are forgotten by society at large.
Not only does abortion take life, it damages life that is already there.
I’m talking about the lives of mothers. Abortion wrecks women’s lives.
It does not improve ‘women’s health’ – it damages it.
Women are not told the truth about abortion. They are told lies about the babies that they are carrying – that it is ‘a clump of cells’ – and they are told lies about the impact on their health.
Women who have abortions face an increased risk of 81% of developing mental health problems.
Abortion is not a quick, easy and painless procedure – it is traumatic and the trauma is often sill carried by women years afterwards.
This is how one woman who had an abortion, named Alice, describes it:
The choice I had made,
The price I have since paid;
If only I could have known
The seeds of pain which had been sown.
‘Twas said, “It’s the only thing to do.”
No idea what I would go through.
Many years have come and gone,
The guilt and shame still linger on.
The choice I thought I had to make,
Turns out to be my big mistake.
Deceived, I took the proffered way,
Too long! Kept captured by guilt’s sway.
Maybe, the day will dawn and help will come,
Then all the grieving will be DONE…
Abortion costs our women dearly.
There is a massive emotional cost to women of carrying around a burden of guilt and trauma.
There is a considerable physical cost that women who have an abortion are three times more likely to give birth prematurely in future.
But abortion also costs us dearly as a society.
There is a huge financial cost: £118m of tax payers’ money was spent on abortions in 2010.
Just think how we could have better spent that money on women and children!
But think about all those lives that we have missed out on.
Lives that would have enriched us. Musicians, artists, poets, sportsmen…
Our future is poorer for not having them with us.
So, abortion is bad for the unborn. It is bad for women. It is bad for society.
But abortion is good for one group. Do you know who that might be?
It is good for the abortion industry.
People are making a lot of money from abortion. It is their livelihood.
This is a multi-million pound industry.
There are people profiting from taking away the lives of unborn children, profiting from women’s pain and profiting from depriving society of hundreds of thousands of children each year.
The lie of abortion has to be exposed.
The darkness and death that is covered up by marketing and euphemisms must be brought to light.
You are the light.
It us up to you to celebrate life and to promote life.
It is up to you to value children and celebrate them as a blessing, not a curse.
They are our future. If you want a bright future, protect your children.
It is up to you to value women; to value them enough to inform them of the pain of abortion and protect them from it.
This is a small country but you can be a light.
You are already a light to us across the Irish sea.
Don’t let the blood of unborn children be spilt on your land.
Remain a land that celebrates and values life.
Fight for your children and don’t let the quiet assassin that is abortion creep over here.
We need you to keep standing strong; to be a light that shines far and wide so that in time to come we follow your example and value life as much as you do.”
So let’s fight for life in Ireland, in England and Scotland and Wales and way beyond our shores. Let’s never give up.
|Andrea is the CEO of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre. She is married with four children.|
9th July, 2012
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