'Extra deaths'

There were, the Radio 4 newsreader informed me the other day, 6261 extra deaths in the week ending April 3, 2786 of which were ‘non covid deaths’, a situation which is surely a tragedy for their grieving families. A number of thoughts about politicians, experts, the media, and the use of statistics crossed my mind, but I had probably better keep them to myself! I was, however, struck by the phrase ‘extra deaths’. In one respect, it’s meaningless, for, as C S Lewis wrote, “What does war do to death? It doesn’t make it more frequent: 100% of us die and the percentage cannot be increased.” He could equally well have written that about pandemics, plagues, famines, earthquakes or any number of disasters. 

But then I found myself thinking about all those ‘extra deaths’ which took place last year, and have done, year after year, week after week, since 1967. I refer of course to the 200,500 babies killed in the womb – 98% of them for social reasons – by the NHS with the legal backing of the UK government and funded by the taxpayer, during 2019. In case you don’t have your calculator handy, that works out at 3856 babies a week for each of the 52 weeks of 2019. In fact, the number of babies killed in this way since the Abortion Act of 1967 has now reached around 9,000,000, which gives an average of around 3000 per week, every week, for the last 52 years. No death certificates or funerals for them! If it helps you to think of it in another way, last year one in four pregnancies ended in abortion. And how many women, mothers with empty arms and broken hearts, have found that what they were led to believe was a ’routine procedure’ has left them with an enduring sense of emptiness and loss?

On March 31, without any discussion and directly contradicting what they had said the previous week, the Westminster government decided to make available DIY abortion pills so that women could abort their babies at home. A ‘temporary measure’, so my MP tells me, designed to save women having to travel to abortion clinics during the current crisis. On the same date, what has been described as the most lax abortion regime in the world was imposed by the same government on Northern Ireland, despite abortion being, supposedly, a ‘devolved matter’. A considerable proportion of the Overseas Aid budget is spent promoting and facilitating abortion in developing countries.

On the other side of the world, the New Zealand government has used the Covid 19 pandemic as an opportunity to rush through legislation (it took less than a day) allowing abortion on demand up to birth, something which is being pushed for by the abortion lobby in the UK too. Late abortions, of course, are highly likely to result in even more aborted babies being born alive, so to cover those eventualities, the NZ parliament passed an amendment forbidding any medical attention to such babies. 

Logically, of course, if it is acceptable to kill a baby before birth, why not after birth? If abortion, why not infanticide? Or euthanasia? If unborn babies are non-persons, who else might be deemed to be such? 

Francis Schaeffer and Everett Koop, in their book ‘Whatever Happened to the Human Race’, describe the change which came about in our Western culture as evolution was increasingly embraced, the God of the Bible was rejected, and humanism became the dominant philosophy: “People came more and more to hold that the universe is intrinsically and originally impersonal – as a stone is impersonal. Thus, by chance, life began on earth and then, through long, long periods of time, by chance, life became more complex, until man with his special brain came into existence. By ‘chance’ is meant that there was no reason for these things to occur; they just happened that way. No matter how loftily this is phrased, this view drastically reduces our view of self-worth as well as our estimation of the worth of others, for we are viewing ourselves as mere accidents of the universe… If man is not made in the image of God, nothing then stands in the way of inhumanity. There is no good reason why mankind should be perceived as special. Human life is cheapened. We can see this in abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, the increase of child abuse and violence of all kinds, pornography, the routine torture of political prisoners in many parts of the world, the crime explosion, and the random violence which surrounds us.“(Emphasis original) 

Is this some dystopian, nightmarish vision of the future? Sadly, no. Rather it is the inevitable inhumanity of the humanism which dominates our culture, and it is here now. So what should we do? Shrug our shoulders and think about something pleasant? Surely not. If you don’t already, may I urge you to consider supporting an organisation such as the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (www.spuc.org.uk) or Life (www.lifecharity.org.uk) or Right to Life (www.righttolife.org.uk)? You may not be protecting the NHS, but you will save lives 

Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.      Proverbs 31:8-9