It's 53 years since the Abortion Act 1967 received Royal Assent and became law. 9.5 million abortions later, and it's easy to feel hopeless at how cheap life has become in our culture. But with a God who knows your name, there is always hope.
It's hard to get your head round the statistics: 9,563,907 lives lost — more than one baby every three minutes.
It's such an overwhelming number the impact of it can be lost on us, as each year the figure just keeps increasing.
Last year, abortion statistics reached an all-time high. This year will likely be even worse. We've already seen a significant increase since the Government introduced their DIY abortion policy, where women are sent pills in the post and pass their baby into the toilet at home — a process that is apparently 'completely safe', despite evidence it has left some women with serious medical complications.
All in all, it's a bleak picture, but that doesn't mean we need to despair.
The law needs to change
We could talk about the different reasons we have hope through all the work that's going on to change the law.
We've now got more pro-life MPs since the election, we've recently seen serious threats to life in Parliament stopped in their tracks, and we've got a court case soon to be heard in the High Court that could have a major impact on abortion for disability. There's much to thank God for and we must keep believing He can use the political process for good. That's why CARE keeps on fighting for life in Parliament.
But, ultimately, our comfort must rest outside of external circumstances. Political battles come and go, and there have been some major heartbreaks and disappointments in the last few years.
What doesn't change, however, is God's character. His love for us — his father's love — is the hope we can rest in when our culture is embracing the darkness.
He alone knows their names
We don't know the names of each of these babies, but we know our Father God does. For He knows us in our mother's womb and calls us before we are born. He loves each and every one of these lives — no matter how unformed, no matter how long they lived for, or what disability they had, or whether they were wanted or not. The circumstances of their conception have no effect on how precious they are in His sight.
We don't know the names of all the women behind these statistics either. We don't know why they chose abortion, or whether they even had a choice. We don't know what pressures they faced, what fears overwhelmed them. We don't know what grief they might have experienced after, some carrying it secretly all their lives. But we know God knows their names, and He loves them. We know He sent His Son to die for them, that they might call on the name of the Lord and know freedom from condemnation and shame.
Man of Sorrows
It can be so hard to keep campaigning on this issue, when it seems like our culture is moving further away from valuing life than ever before.
When we feel hopeless, we must remember that this God came to suffer in our place. He was a man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief. He alone can bear the pain of abortion, and we can come and kneel at the foot of the cross, handing over that pain to Him.
Abortion is a great darkness in our world, but Jesus has won the victory over it. One day we will live in a world without abortion — where death is no more.
He knows their names, and He knows ours. When we really believe that — that we are fully known and fully loved — nothing can take away our hope.