Today a letter has been published in The Times from members of the Church of England, speaking out against proposed changes to overhaul the current law on abortion in Great Britain.
The letter received over 400 signatures from members – likely one of the highest numbers of signatories to ever have appeared on a Times letter.
It expresses concerns about the pledges proposed in the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats’ manifestos to decriminalise abortion – stating that this would “amount to a declaration that a foetus was no longer a human being, worthy of the same protections against deliberate harm and termination of life.”
It refers to the C of E’s own teaching which states that “the foetus is a human life with the potential to develop relationships, think, pray, choose and love” and states that the church would like “to see a drastic reduction in the number of abortions carried out and stricter interpretation of abortion law.”
The letter is a clear statement from members of the C of E, in contrast to the Archbishop of Canterbury who has been criticised in the past for refraining to speak out against abortion. Mr Welby met considerable criticism recently for supporting buffer zones around abortion clinics.
However, in 2017 he stated that “We have to hold to the dignity of human life, and, certainly, in common with the rest of the Christian Church, we believe that human life begins at conception, and, therefore, the baby in the womb requires legal protection in the same way as any other human. It doesn’t mean there won’t be dreadful times when horrible decisions have to be taken, in very extreme circumstances.”
The letter finishes by calling on the bishops of the church to “do all they can to speak out” against the proposed legal changes.
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