If the law is a tutor, what will culture learn from the Severe Fetal Impairment Bill?
From the beginning of June the Stormont Health Committee have been hearing oral evidence from interested parties on the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill.
The Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill is the first pro-life incrementalist bill to be brought to Stormont in what CARE, whose policy team in London created the Bill, called 'a crucial first step in reclaiming our life-affirming laws.'
According to CARE 'This Bill will make it illegal to abort a baby after 24 weeks on the basis of non-fatal disabilities.'
Pushing the pro abortion agenda.
The sessions currently taking place are designed to allow the Committee to scrutinize the bill by hearing evidence from people with an expertise in these areas.
Those watching the sessions, all of which are live streamed on YouTube, will have noticed, however, that very little attention has been given to the bill itself but, rather, these sessions are being used by pro abortion MLAs and organisations to further push their own agenda.
So far the committee have invited the following pro abortion voices to give evidence to the committee: Alliance for Choice, Alliance for Choice Derry, Abortion Rights Campaign, Doctors for Choice Northern Ireland, Women's Policy Group Northern Ireland, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of Midwives, Northern Ireland Abortion and Contraception Taskgroup, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, Informing Choices NI and the Chief Executives of the HSC Trusts.
Exclusion zones, commissioning, access to abortion, signposting to abortion providers and trying to discredit abortion pill reversal treatments has been among the many pro abortion topics discussed resulting in the committee writing various letters to the PSNI, the Justice Minister and the Health Minister seeking to have these areas expedited.
It is fair to say that these sessions have not gone well for any person who values the sanctity of life in Northern Ireland.
The law is a tutor
In order to have some semblance of balance the Committee have also invited a number of groups supporting the Bill to provide evidence. Both Lives Matter, CARE, Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland; Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Down's Syndrome Research Foundation and Don't Screen Us Out all appeared before the Committee on the 17th of June.
In what was a relatively short evidence session these organisations told various stories of the undoubtedly positive impact that people with disabilities play in our lives and our culture.
It is, however, the opening statement of this session, from a representative of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, that immediately caught our attention (emphasis added by author):
The Bill before us removes from law the principle that prospective disability is a reason to terminate pregnancy at any gestational limit. Recognising that law shapes culture, some of the evidence that we have heard this morning reflects the culture that exists in Northern Ireland. We would like to talk about how that culture might change, say, over the next 10 or 20 years, with regard to what we see happening elsewhere in the UK.
Laws shape culture, that is true. However, it should be recognised that this does not just apply to to the original regulations dictated to us by Westminster. This Bill too shapes the culture through what it says, and also, what it doesn't say.
The power of the implicit
At the end of June the High Court in Belfast judged that the Northern Ireland Protocol was entirely lawful.
A group of unionist politicians, including Arlene Foster and Lord Trimble, had challenged the protocol in judicial review proceedings.
They claimed it was unlawful because it conflicts with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the Acts of Union.
But Mr Justice Colton rejected their challenge on all grounds on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Colton found that the Withdrawal Agreement Act, which includes the protocol, does conflict with the 1800 Acts of Union in respect of free trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.
However, he added that the relevant parts of the Acts of Union are "impliedly repealed" by the Withdrawal Agreement Act.
In other words the Withdrawal Agreement Act didn't have to explicitly remove the relevant sections of the Acts of Union, it could simply remove them through implication.
This concept isn't new. Indeed almost all laws carry a degree of implication in it. For example, the Road Traffics Regulations Act (1967) states that 'It shall not be lawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle on a restricted road at a speed exceeding thirty miles per hour.' This is an explicit law; however, implicit in its interpretation is that any speed below thirty miles per hour is acceptable.
The Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill is no different to any other. It trains culture through what it explicitly says and, just as importantly, what it implies.
Abortion is healthcare?
The Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill is a healthcare bill that seeks to amend healthcare regulations and is currently being debated by the Healthcare Committee. Through implication the Bill teaches culture that abortion is healthcare - this is simply wrong!
Between the beginning of April 2020 and the 11th of June 2021 a total of 1624 children were murdered in Health and Social Care facilities across Northern Ireland. Hundreds more were carried to their death in England during that time.
Abortion is not healthcare; it is murder and must be treated as such if we are to see its end.
99.99% of abortions are acceptable?
During February we did an in depth analysis of the Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill where we showed that the Bill would, at most, apply to 0.01% of all abortions carried out in England & Wales.
By explicitly saying that 0.01% percent of all abortions are wrong it is implicitly saying that 99.99% of them are acceptable.
It is important to note here that we are not saying that the proposer or supporters of the Bill actually believe abortion is acceptable. The Bill, however, through its failure to address 99.99% of all abortions, implies that almost every abortion is acceptable and, therefore, teaches culture that they are too.
So if the Bill teaches culture that the majority of abortions are acceptable lets 'talk about how that culture might change, say, over the next 10 or 20 years, with regard to what we see happening elsewhere in the UK.'
The most recent abortion statistics for England & Wales make grim reading. A total of 210,860 abortions were reported in 2020, a record high. Compared to live births it is now common for 1 in every 4 children to be murdered pre birth in England & Wales.
Culture in Northern Ireland has not yet reached these heights of depravity with approximately 1 in every 11 children murdered pre birth - but it will continue to move in that direction if we keep bringing pro life bills that give approval to murder. That's why early commissioning documents we uncovered showed that the Department of Health is planning to commission a service that has the capacity to deal with 6500 abortions per year.
Abortion in the case of minor disability is wrong. What makes it wrong, however, is not the ability of the child being targeted for destruction. It is wrong because an image bearer of God is being intentionally murdered. This makes it no different than any other abortion at any other stage of pregnancy yet this Bill ignores this fact.
What is the solution?
We recognise that righteousness and justice are the foundation of God's throne (Psalm 89:14) and that we as Christians are instructed to "abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good" (Romans 12:9), to expose evil (Ephesians 5:11), and to destroy the ungodly thinking that defends evil (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are exhorted to rescue the weak from death, snatch the falling from flames, and hold back the stumbling from the slaughter.
As an organisation we are Gospel centered. In Matthew 28:18-20, immediately before ascending to Heaven, Jesus told his disciples that "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
It is the instruction to win the nations and teach them to obey everything that God has commanded that drives the Abolitionist movement. We exhort our politicians to obey God when he says "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13) because all authority in heaven and on earth belongs to Him. We do this by calling for the immediate abolition of abortion.
In doing so we are not just showing love to our pre born neighbour but to our pro abortion neighbour too. Galatians 3:24 tells us: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." The ultimate ability of the law of God is its capacity to tutor people to Christ.
It is the plan of God to use His law to inform us about our great need for Jesus Christ. By calling our politicians to obey God's Law we are holding up a mirror to allow the lost to recognise their need for a Saviour.
The pro life industry rely on emotive stories to tug on the heart strings of pro abortion advocates. This is what we saw at the Health Committee. Abolitionists, however, hold to the biblical view that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).
You can read our response to the Health Committee's call for evidence here. We will continue to advocate for equal protection for all human beings under the law.
Abortion will be abolished by Him, through Him and for Him.