Fighting for Life (in Queensland)

With reports suggesting that a bill to decriminalise abortion in Queensland will be tabled in parliament tomorrow (May 10), it’s an urgent time for us to be thinking seriously about how we can be fighting for the lives of innocent, vulnerable unborn children who are conceived in this state.

While it is definitely time to write an email or letter to your local MP, expressing your concern at this issue, and while it may also be a good time to think about how you can be involved in the work of local, pro-life organisations – some recent events have made me reflect on what the most important part we play in this battle really is.

It truly does [1]

A friend wrote to me a few weeks ago to tell me that they’d been chatting with a close friend whose partner had gotten pregnant unintentionally.  The nature of the conversation centered on the couple’s consideration of aborting the baby. My friend was able to share the value of life from a Christian perspective and encourage their friend not to think about abortion as the “best option” that many other friends were holding it out to be. In God’s mercy, this story seems to have had a happy ending and the couple have decided to embrace the life that has come about as a result of their relationship and raise him or her as part of a family together.

Even more recently, my wife has had the opportunity to chat with someone who has been under significant pressure from her partner to get an abortion. It’s a different situation: in this case there are already children on the scene and only one party in the relationship is advocating ending the life of the child. Helen was also able to faithfully share what God’s perspective is on the termination of innocent, vulnerable life and give strong encouragement and warning to choose life rather than death and all the consequences that go with it.  While we don’t know yet what the outcome will be in this case, we are praying and trusting God that this mother will be convicted that the life she is carrying is far more precious than anything she’d gain by succumbing to the pressure she’s under to dispose of it.

These two cases make me think: have we as Christians realised that the most important part we might play in the fight for the lives of the innocent and voiceless, is to be there to speak to the friend, colleague or family member who’s considering abortion? Are you and I equipped to have these conversations with people in our lives? Are we the sort of friend someone could turn to when they are facing pressure to “deal with their mistake” or get rid of an unwanted child?

I suspect that just like evangelism, many of us might feel deficient for the task. Maybe I’ll say the wrong thing. Maybe I’d just confuse the person more. Maybe I can’t get the balance right between listening sympathetically and compassionately and speaking boldly and firmly about the seriousness of the matter. These responses are understandable starting points when we consider a life and death issue like this – but they’re terrible and unacceptable finishing points for our role in this battle.

Because like the need to share the gospel with unsaved friends, it is critical that we get equipped to speak life to our friends when they’re tempted by death. We want to be able to warn them and even persuade them, when they’re considering something that will bring about God’s judgement upon them and irreversibly destroy a human life.

Life at 9 wks
Life at 9 wks [2]

So we need to think about what we believe about abortion and the value of human life and why we believe it. And while we don’t need to be articulate geniuses who can discuss the ins and outs of medical data and philosophical arguments – we should all familiarise ourselves with the compelling-enough, basic arguments for why it’s wrong to terminate a life in the womb. We should chat with each other about how these kind of conversations have gone if we’ve had them. We can learn from mistakes and ideas – as well as learning from people who are better than us at careful listening and compassionate speech, or boldly articulating the truth of God to those who are tempted by the lies of the world.

For a long time now, pro-life activists – Christian and non-Christian – have realised that while it would be fantastic to outlaw abortion as a matter of principled justice, chances are that if one side of politics passed such a law, the other side would repeal it at the first chance they get. In Queensland, the problem with the status quo is two-fold. 1. The law prohibits abortion as a criminal offence, but allows for it when there is a benefit to the personal well-being of the mother. This is a rotten status quo, because any doctor that is happy with abortion in principle can recommend one be carried out as a “therapeutic miscarriage” for almost any reason, real or contrived. 2. The conservative side of politics in Queensland has been reluctant to change the status quo either a. because some are happy for it to remain a dead issue or b. because the pro-life parliamentarians fear that any changes they make will not only be reversed by others, but that their opponents would likely use it as a pretext to fully decriminalise abortion and make it even easier to occur.

Rob Pyne MP will reportedly seek to introduce a bill decriminalising abortion in QLD tomorrow
Rob Pyne MP will reportedly seek to introduce a bill decriminalising abortion in QLD tomorrow [3]

As a result, many here (as also in the US and other parts of the world) have recognised that a significant shift in public opinion regarding abortion is needed before legislative change can ever be successfully implemented. The way to achieve that must be through education and public awareness programs, run by people dedicated to the pro-life cause.

I agree – I would love to see the criminality of abortion enforced in Queensland tomorrow and even tougher laws stopping it from happening. Lives would literally be saved. But in the long run, we can only stop abortion if we take public opinion with us, so that no government would dare defy a populace united against such an evil practice. They permit abortion to happen within our borders because we as Queenslanders let them do nothing about it.

So let’s fight the further erosion of protections for unborn children that are being proposed in parliament this week – this is a bad bill and should be stopped. But let’s also be people who are praying God would use us to stop one abortion at a time – through being in people’s lives to bear witness to the preciousness of human life. And let’s do that while we support efforts to steadily educate the people of Queensland, Australia and the world about the preciousness of life from conception and the horror of ending a defenceless life – so that one day soon we may be able to see this barbaric practice socially condemned and legally prohibited.

[1] wht_wolf9653 “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart Sign”(CC BY-SA 2.0) flickr.
[2] lunar caustic “Embryo week 9-10” (CC BY-SA 2.0) flickr.
[3] Icuraj “Robert ‘Rob’ Pyne is in his second term as Division 3 Council for Cairns Regional Council”
(CC BY-SA 2.0) wikimedia.



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