The next two weeks are going to be critical in the fight for life. Since 1967, Great Britain has had a liberal and permissive abortion law and there has been 9 million + abortions since then. Abortion up to birth for 'serious disabilities' became legal in 1990 and the vague wording of the amendment has meant abortion for treatable conditions such as Club foot, cleft lip and cleft palate.
We'll soon find out if Northern Ireland goes down this same road. Where once the law affirmed life, it's been changed by MPs and Peers at Westminster who have voted to impose extreme new laws on the people of Northern Ireland. Abortion will be legal on demand u to 24 weeks and in some respects, the law there will be worse than the one here. To give effect to this change, regulations were needed and on 8 June, MPs will debate them in the House of Commons. Peers will debate and vote on them on 15 June. MPs will likely vote on them some point week beginning 14 June.
Biggest vote for 50 years
It's no exaggeration to say these votes are among the biggest from a Christian perspective for 50 years. If the law is liberalised in Northern Ireland, there's little doubt it will be used by MPs at Westminster to argue for even more relaxation of the current laws in Great Britain. Sadly, the direction of travel for the last 50+ years in this country in relation to the value of life has been terrible.
Yet there is hope. For one, we believe in a God who affirms life and who makes all human beings in His image and crowns them with glory and honour. Secondly, He is able to hear and answer prayer. Thirdly, in one part of the UK, elected representatives have voted for a pro-life motion. On Tuesday 2 June, MLAs at the Northern Ireland assembly voted by 46-40 for a motion rejecting abortion to birth for non-fatal disabilities and the imposition of abortion legislation on Northern Ireland.
At Westminster, there's a new pro-life bill to outlaw abortion for treatable disabilities such as Club foot and Cleft lip. While it might seem relatively unambitious, it's a step in the right direction.
Both Lives Matter
The next two weeks will be critical but even if votes are lost, there's always work to do. Our story is a better story than abortion. The truth that human beings are precious from conception to life's natural end needs to be heard again and again. We need to find new ways of telling this story and we need to learn to really listen to where people are at.
Working in harmony with each other and with God on our side, there's no barrier too great or challenge too strong. While those opposed to us are more than those for us, person by person, heart by heart we will and can change the narrative. Our message is both lives matter. Let's keep telling that better story and pray that in the next two weeks, God intervenes and MPs and Peers at Westminster especially, find it in themselves to reject the awful NI regulations before them.