A woman holding a scan of her unborn child

PQRM Committee Letter to MPs on Move to Liberalise Abortion Law

Date: Saturday, 11 March 2017
Author: Rev David M Blunt

(The letter copied below was sent to all MPs by Rev David Blunt on behalf of the Church's Public Questions, Religion & Morals Committee. Diana Johnson MP is seeking the liberalisation of abortion law in England and Wales: if this move succeeds, then it would no doubt encourage similar moves in the rest of the UK, including Scotland.)

10th March 2017

Dear Member of Parliament,

Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) – Diana Johnson’s Ten Minute Rule Motion

We write to encourage you to attend the House of Commons on Monday 13th March and vote against the Ten Minute Rule Motion by Diana Johnson MP, which seeks leave to bring in a Bill that would remove some of the legal prohibitions on abortion.

Diana Johnson’s Motion states:
“That leave be given to bring in a Bill to regulate the termination of pregnancies by medical practitioners and to repeal certain criminal offences relating to such terminations; and for connected purposes”

“That leave be given to bring in a Bill to regulate the termination of pregnancies by medical practitioners and to repeal certain criminal offences relating to such terminations; and for connected purposes”

We find it shocking that such a Bill could be proposed in what is supposed to be a civilised country. The purpose of the Bill is immoral and inhuman and symptomatic of a society which has abandoned the Christian values upon which it was founded. We wish to draw your attention to the following:

1) The wording of the Motion. The use of language such as “reproductive health” and “terminations” must not be allowed to obscure the reality of what this proposed Bill is about, namely abortion, or the deliberate ending of unborn human life. We are taught in the Bible, which is God’s word to man, that man was made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). It is that fact which gives human life its real dignity and worth; human life in all its stages should be regarded as sacred.

On the basis of the Bible we believe that human life begins at conception and that in the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13), God issues a solemn warning against the taking away of human life unjustly, especially the life of the weak and vulnerable: there are none more defenceless and in need of protection than the unborn.

2) The campaign behind the proposed Bill. The proposed Bill is part of a concerted move to end all restrictions on abortion. In February 2016 the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a leading abortion provider, launched the ‘We Trust Women’ campaign, which aims to have abortion removed from the criminal law altogether. In May the Royal College of Midwives, ignoring its own motto, “Life is the gift of God”, issued a position statement which supported the campaign – although amazingly it did not consult its members before adopting this new stance.

While the Bill is deliberately vague as to what is to be repealed, there are two important Acts which it is no doubt targeting. Repealing Sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act (1861) would make it impossible to enforce the safeguards contained in the Abortion Act of 1967, so that abortion on demand would be possible up to 24 weeks, irrespective of the ground or the way in which the abortion was procured. Repealing the Infant Life Preservation Act (1929) would make abortion on demand possible up to birth

3) The likely effects of the proposed Bill. It is an undeniable fact that the use of the provisions of the 1967 Abortion Act has been extended far beyond what David Steel MP (now Lord Steel of Aikwood) intended when he introduced it. While we do not know exactly what Diana Johnson hopes the results of her proposed Bill will be, the likely consequences, given recent developments, are fairly clear – and utterly horrific.

In February 2012 an investigation into so-called ‘gender abortion’ was published by the Daily Telegraph, detailing how two doctors offered an abortion to a woman who claimed to be expecting a baby girl and was really wanting a boy. Perversely, the Crown Prosecution Service, while acknowledging that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction, decided that it would not be in the public interest to bring a prosecution. Fiona Bruce MP sought to end this scandal in February 2015 with her amendment to the Serious Crime Bill which would have made gender abortion explicitly illegal; sadly her amendment failed. Last year the degree to which babies with Down’s syndrome are being ‘screened out’ of our population was highlighted; currently 90% of children prenatally diagnosed with the syndrome are aborted.

If Diana Johnson’s Bill was to succeed, abortion could presumably be carried out for any reason whatsoever. As genetic testing develops, allowing more and more to be known about the make-up of the unborn child, it is not only abortion on the basis of sex or disability that we must expect: in the future any unwanted trait, be it physical, personal or social, could be cited by parents as a justification for the aborting of their child. This may be what our modern eugenicists want to see, but is it what our society needs? More importantly, is it what God has ordained for mankind? The answer is a resounding, No.

We recognise that the proposed Bill would apply to England and Wales only, and that abortion law in Scotland is a matter which has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament. However that does not mean that Diana Johnson’s Bill would have no impact on Scotland. Our concern is that if the proposed Bill becomes law it would give encouragement to those who would like to achieve something similar in Scotland, which would be a most regrettable development.

We believe that those in authority, and especially those who make our laws, have a God-given duty to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves: “Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction” (Proverbs 31:8). We expect Members of Parliament to have compassion for the unborn child and therefore urge you to be present for Diana Johnson’s Ten Minute Rule Motion and to register your vote against it.

With kind regards,

Yours faithfully,

Rev. David Blunt

(Convener, Public Questions, Religion & Morals Committee, Free Church of Scotland (Continuing))