Tonight British society changed forever, and yet it has probably gone relatively unnoticed. For tonight the first ever ad for abortion was shown on British television. I don't have a TV so I didn't see it when broadcast, but I've just watched it on the website of one of the broadsheet newspapers. And I'm saddened, deeply saddened. I can't say that I'm shocked and appalled, for I'm not. There is nothing shocking about the ad and I was already appalled that (through a legal loophole) it was to be aired. But I'm deeply saddened, perhaps mostly by the fact that there is nothing shocking about the ad. It's just so normal. Words like 'abortion' or 'termination' aren't used. There's no hint of any 'procedures'. All you see are images of women in everyday situations. Normal situations. They even show a mother pushing a baby in a pushchair! And then at the end comes the voiceover saying: 'If you're pregnant and not sure what to do [x] can help.' Abortion is reduced to normality. It becomes just as mundane as 'not sure what to do' about a problem at work, 'not sure what to do' about the best way to commute, or 'not sure what to do' about a foreign holiday in the current economic climate. With words like 'not sure what to do', abortion is reduced to something that's not all that important in the great scheme of things. But therein lies the problem, for abortion is all that important in the great scheme of things. It's the taking of a human life. In normal circumstances we call that 'murder'.
The organisation being advertised claims that the ad is intended to 'empower women to reach confident informed decisions about their sexual health'. The goal is almost as scary as the ad itself. The life of a child becomes a matter of a woman's sexual health. Our society has become so sex-saturated that life is of lesser importance than sexual health!
In reading the press reports about the ad before it was shown, I was shocked by one thing. Apparently 1 in 3 women in the UK have had an abortion. That is a shocking and scary figure (and one which must demonstrate that the spirit of the 1967 Abortion Act is being widely ignored, as abortion on demand is not legal under the terms of the act). Perhaps it's because I come from the only part of the UK where the Abortion Act does not apply and so abortion is still illegal (and thankfully the broadcaster acted responsibly and did not show the ad in Northern Ireland due to abortion being illegal there), but I didn't realize that abortion was so prevalent on the mainland. I'm saddened by the huge number of lives being taken that that statistic represents. And I'm struck by the fact that those women need to hear the gospel.
For there is hope for them, and there is hope even for those who have organised this advertising campaign, because Jesus Christ came to save sinners. Although it is very right for Christians to speak out in defence of the lives of unborn children, it is also right for our hearts to go out to the 1 in 3 women who have had an abortion. That does not mean ignoring or excusing the evil of abortion, but it does mean telling people that even such a sin can be forgiven through the death of Christ. But such forgiveness can only come through repentance.
The reality is that many women are guilt stricken after an abortion. Yet the aim of this ad is to prevent that. The organisation wants a woman to be 'empowered' and 'confident' about the decision to end her child's life. What we sometimes forget is that a guilty feeling can be a good thing. When we actually are guilty, feeling guilty is good for us, as it reminds us of the fact that something needs to be done about our guilty standing. And so it provides an opportunity for repentance and faith in Christ.
That our society can tolerate ads for abortion is appalling.
That our society can tolerate abortion being advertised in such a mundane way and with such normalcy is deeply saddening and troubling.
May God have mercy upon us.