Today’s battle against abortion is comparable to the 19th century campaign to end slavery, a Christian charity says.
At the heart of both campaigns is the value of human life, says Dan Boucher, Director of Parliamentary Affairs at CARE.
“In the same way that the slave owners resisted every attempt to endow Africans with full humanity in order to sustain the superiority of their rights vis-a-vis those of the slaves, so too do the pro-choice lobby resist every attempt to endow the ‘foetus’ with humanity,” writes Mr Boucher in a new report entitled Wither Children’s Rights?.
Attempts in May to lower the upper time limit for abortions were defeated in a Commons vote. The final votes on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill are expected to take place on 22nd October.
Amendments that would liberalise the law on abortion, and one that would extend legalised abortion to Northern Ireland, have all been tabled. However, there is no guarantee they will be selected.
In his report, Mr Boucher compares a parliamentary speech given by MP Nadine Dorries during the May abortion debates with one delivered by 19th century MP, Anthony Ashley Cooper (Lord Ashley, later the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury), an evangelical who campaigned against child slavery in Britain.
Mrs Dorries described a late term abortion she had witnessed while training as a nurse: “A little boy was aborted into a cardboard bedpan, which was thrust into my arms.
“When I looked into the cardboard bedpan, the little boy was gasping for breath through the mucus and amniotic fluid.
“I stood by the sluice with him in my arms, in the bedpan, for seven minutes while he gasped for breath. A botched abortion became a live birth, and then, seven minutes later, a death.”
Lord Ashley described a particularly brutal example of child cruelty in his day: “The boy had been starved for want of food and his body presented all the marks of emaciation.
“This brutal master kept him at work as a waggoner until he was no longer any use, and then sent him home in a cart to his mother, who was a poor widow residing in Rochdale.”
Urging Christians to keep up the battle to protect the rights of unborn children, Mr Boucher said: “Just as the abolitionists won by promoting the humanity of the slave – ‘Am I not a man and a brother’ – so too must we win by championing the humanity of the foetus – ‘Am I not a baby and a brother or a sister?’.”