Abortions at GP surgeries?
THE Birth Control Trust (BCT), in a recent report, calls for permission to be given to family doctors and family planning clinics to carry out abortions on women who are no more than nine weeks pregnant. The BCT call is disturbing, as was the call of the Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, for abortion up to 10 or 12 weeks on the agreement of only one doctor, instead of two as at present. Anything that makes abortion more readily accessible is a further indication of the determination of our society to descend more deeply into barbarity. One argument of the BCT report is that abortion by family doctors would save money (an abortion in a hospital costs somewhere between £290 and £440). What a shockingly low view of human life is shown when people are concerned about saving a few hundred pounds but not about killing a human being.
Surely the case of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, indicates that in the womb of the expectant mother is a human being. When Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb. That leap was a leap of joy. “The babe leaped in my womb for joy,” said Elizabeth (Luke 1:44). This was not ignorant talk on her part, for the Scriptures state that when Elizabeth spoke she was filled with the Holy Ghost. All of which indicates that the babe in her womb was truly a human being, with a soul. We cannot therefore regard abortion (except when carried out to save the life of the mother) as anything other than transgression of the Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” and so a great evil in the sight of God.
The slippery slope of euthanasia
PRESSURE for the legalisation of euthanasia is being skilfully applied on a British public which is increasingly open to the possibility as it becomes more and more unresponsive to the authority of God’s Word. Concern is therefore justified when the British Government issues a Green Paper (a consultation document) entitled Who Decides? which proposes to give living wills the force of law. Such advance directives by individuals are intended to direct doctors as to how far medical treatment should go, in the event of these individuals no longer being capable of giving expression to their wishes.
The Lord Chancellor claims that “an advance statement cannot require a doctor to do anything that is illegal” and that “the Government’s opposition to euthanasia is settled, well-known and unqualified”. For all that, at least one daily newspaper has expressed its fears that the Government’s proposals “would push Britain one step closer towards the de facto legalisation of euthanasia”. Thankfully, however, it is claimed that “leading hospice doctors have stated that they deplore moves’ to make advance directives legally binding as part of a gradualist policy to legalise euthanasia”.
The Daily Telegraph has warned that ” the right to die’ is the start of a slippery slope towards the killing of anyone who is helpless. If the principle of voluntary euthanasia is accepted, it will inevitably be extended to new categories of people, through psychological coercion. It is not hard to imagine cases where elderly patients would feel obliged to do the honourable thing’ to relieve pressures on their families and ultimately, perhaps, on the state itself.” This argument was countered by the president of the society, Voluntary Euthanasia; he declared: “I cannot imagine any one of them [doctors] agreeing to help end a patient’s life for purely social reasons. Can you?” Others, more realistically, are not so restricted in the use of their imaginations. This “apparently challenging question is all too easy to answer”, wrote one reader, “if recast from the perspective of 30 years ago. Try this: I cannot imagine any doctor agreeing to perform an abortion for purely social reasons. Can you?” Sadly, the answer to this last question is now too obviously, Yes. And for how much longer will anyone be able to answer, No, to the earlier question?
Claims for “the right to die” must be resisted strongly by all who have any regard to the Sixth Commandment. “Thou shalt not kill” applies not only to the killing of others, but also to taking away one’s own life. God has never given anyone the authority to bring his or her life to an end or to determine the circumstances when it should be terminated. This is God’s prerogative, and is something which we may safely leave in His hands.
Appeasing the enemies of Ulster
WE doubt very much if the Final Agreement made at Stormont on 10th April, about the future of Northern Ireland, will be good for that troubled part of the United Kingdom. Although it is the culmination of the so-called peace process, we fear it will prove to be the undoing of that province, and will lead to a united Ireland, if the electorate vote for it in the referendum on May 22. We believe it cannot be otherwise when it has conceded so much to the murderous Sinn Fein/IRA, and is, as its opponents say, “a Sinn Fein wish list” which is couched in the language of “Sinn-Fein speak”. Not only so but the Eire Government, a Rome-dominated alien power with no democratic or legal authority in the affairs of the UK, has had a decisive role in the negotiations. Nor can we realistically hope that it will bring substantial or lasting benefit to that Protestant province when it has the backing of the anti-British Irish-American lobby, and is applauded by the Roman hierarchy.
Whether the Stormont Agreement be accepted or rejected by the electorate, the hand of Sinn Fein/IRA will be strengthened. When this evil terrorist organisation, which continues armed and threatening, is treated as “the key to peace”, we must say that “judgement is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter” (Isaiah 59:14).
This time of crisis for the loyal British subjects of Northern Ireland, who simply wish their province to remain part of the United Kingdom, is one which calls us to prayer. May God hear the prayers of the godly there and elsewhere as they pray for the thwarting of Ulster’s traditional enemies. The key to peace is not a political agreement, let alone the support of terrorists, be they Roman Catholics or so-called Protestants, but “the gospel of peace”. Our prayer is that the gospel may be “the power of God unto salvation” to Protestant and Roman Catholic alike, both north and south of the border.
A chink in the armour of evolution
DESCRIBED in the New York Times as “a startling about-face”, the National Association of Biology Teachers in the USA has significantly amended its position on teaching evolution in state schools. Previously the Association described evolution as “an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process”. Now the words unsupervised and impersonal have been omitted, leaving open the possibility of theistic evolution – the idea that evolution was the means God used to bring into existence the universe as we presently know it. Or, as the New York Times report puts it, “The revision is clearly designed to allow for the possibility that a Master Hand was at the helm”.
Yet the revised definition is still very far from the truth about how everything came into existence. But it indicates the influence of a number of influential publications convincingly pointing out the weakness of the theory of evolution. Among such writers is Phillip E. Johnson, a professor of law at the University of California, whose book Darwinism on Trial was referred to in an earlier issue of this magazine. He represents himself as aiming to challenge not merely the secularism of universities, but of an entire culture which rests on the scientific assumption of universalism the idea that the natural world has no supernatural supervision. Another major contribution to the debate came from Michael Behe, an academic biochemist. His book Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution was the subject of an article in these pages in July last year. Behe argues that the molecular machinery of living cells is so complex and interdependent that it is proof of purposeful design.
Up till now the positions supported by Johnson and Behe have been totally unacceptable to the scientific establishment. Now, in the USA, where supporters of evolution have reacted with particular bitterness to the views of their opponents, a chink has appeared in the evolutionary armour. This is hopeful. If such a trend were to continue there might be a widespread return to a belief in the fact that God is the Creator. However, men like Professor Johnson are unwilling to go this far, in public at least; they do not want to come to a conclusion on the question of who the creator is. Johnson says, “My decision is simply to put it off, and I recommend that to others”.
The National Association of Biology Teachers is giving up a minimum of ground. Its executive director declared that the Association still firmly believed that “there is no evidence of any creator having a hand in the origin of any species”. But the Creator has spoken. He has revealed plainly in the Scriptures what He has done. None of God’s creatures, however eminent their position in the scientific establishment, has any right to question His declaration. Their duty, and ours, is to submit to what the Creator has said.
Yet anything that weakens the hold of evolution on the mind of this generation is welcome. If it will prove to be the start of a trend in a more scriptural direction, it is especially welcome, for it would remove what for over 100 years has been one of the major obstacles to the progress of the gospel. Evolution has for too long made it easy for sinners to reject the fact of the existence of God, and his claims on their allegiance.