We had to fight for our unborn baby’s life to be treated with respect. We’ll come back to this in a minute. But we sincerely hope reading this compels pro-life people to be even louder in their opposition.
You see, I used to drive past anti-abortion protests as a teenager going to school. I was daily repulsed by their large signs graphically displaying aborted foetuses.
I gave a lot of thought to whether the protesters were displaying their dislike for abortion in the most appropriate way. In the end, although I deeply hated the practice of abortion, I felt uncomfortable with their choice to be so offensive. I was afraid of hurting women and driving them away from a gracious God.
However, I didn’t know what an ideal alternative would be for pro-life people to get their view across. So I just didn’t think about it and my views were never mobilised to take any action.
But lately I have been thinking about my own position. Am I a conscientious objector which has no real effect on our world?
I recently came across the ‘40 Days of Prayer’ vigils which are currently in full swing at abortion clinics. The aim of the group is to pray for the ending of abortion. We have a clinic near our house. And twice this month I’ve seen one or two people standing outside with bold t-shirts that have written on their backs ‘pray to end abortion’. Obviously there aren’t many local Christians that thought it was appropriate to join this movement.
The same cannot be said for the counter-protest to the ‘40 Days of Prayer’. It was birthed out of fiery anger directed at the prayerful anti-abortionists. This movement consists of people going into abortion clinics, yummy treat in hand, muffins, cake, biscuits, as an act of solidarity for the staff and women at the these clinics. The movement claims that society is thankful for the work the clinics do, and the staff are often ‘un-sung heroes’. It seems support for this ‘anti-protest’ is growing with momentum. Just visit the popular current-affair website (aimed at women) ‘Mamamia’ which strongly opposes ‘40 Days of Prayer’ and is loudly advocating for the pro-abortion movement. The popular author Mia Freedman took a cake to her local abortion clinic just last week and urged everyone to do likewise.
‘Mamamia’ has also posted quite a few articles by women who have had abortions. The writers articulate it’s a deliberate attempt to normalise abortion and help women talk about it freely, with no shame. A woman, writing about her abortion, says that if 75,000 Australian women have abortions each year, abortion is normal and we have to try to normalise it by talking about it. Another lady who had an abortion asserts that society has to try and breakdown the stigma anti-abortionists place on abortion. There is a slide-show at the end of one of these articles that has pictures of 30 women who have had an abortion.
There is also recent, but not new, talk from scholars who assert that modern ethics should accept post birth abortion. Alberto Giubilini of Monash University and Dr Francesca Minerva of Melbourne University wrote in Journal of Medical Ethics, that ‘after-birth abortion (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled’.
Our own very personal, and deeply traumatic experience, a few years ago really brought how the life of the unborn has little sanctity in Australia. Pregnant with a dying baby is not a situation most couples find themselves in. But we did. At seven months the time came when an induction would be needed to save life-threatening complications that would likely arise in me.
The Royal Women’s Hospital protocol, so we were told, was to inject our baby with a lethal chemical so that straight away his heart would stop and he would die. Thereafter labour would be induced.
When we were hesitant, we were then strongly urged (I would call it bullied) into complying by the department that was looking after us. We were told that we would “make the nurses’ job easier” and that “we also need to think of other people involved.” We were told “if he survived for a few days and obviously very uncomfortably, it would be traumatic for the nurses.” We asked if they could provide pain relief for our baby if he was born alive and in evident discomfort. We were told such resources were available.
In the end after negotiations, time and energy we were given permission to decline the lethal injection.
I thought in Australia that it would still be difficult to kill a seven month old foetus. But we had to fight against a late term abortion. I thought that when a procedure was ethically sensitive, it would be avoided at all cost. Perhaps a few years ago they would have been. Not any more.
Perhaps the view that foetuses are simply nascent has become the normality. That this view has swiftly embedded itself deeply into the moral fibre of our nation.
I wonder if we are all aware of the utilitarian ethics that do seem to be winning today in our communities. That hospitals do push women to end the life of an unborn child because it is easier, as they did with us. I wonder if we are aware of the forces out there that are campaigning for abortion to be normal.
I’m afraid that I’ve been paralysed to act, afraid of offending. Then the reality hit that our nation does not give a second thought to the sanctity of the foetus’ life. With the rate we are going I’m afraid that it won’t be long until post birth abortion is normal. A very morally deprived, hedonist society.
God help equip us praying, protesting, writing into our local members of parliament; help us to be your voice for the voiceless.
Danielle and Daniel Stott are Bible College graduates who live on the southern Gold Coast. Daniel is training to be a teacher and Danielle is caring for their baby daughter.
Danielle and Daniel’s archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/d-and-d-stott.html