The Word on the Week

Referendum Aftermath

The battle over the introduction of abortion is over. The Christians largely found themselves on the losing side. The temptation is to pack up and go away, like the disciples after the crucifixion. “We had hoped that he (Jesus) was the one who was going to redeem Israel” was said on the walk to Emmaus and sums up their feelings of disillusionment (St Luke Chapter 24 verse 21). It seemed to be downhill from here on.
For the victors there is a push on to have the legislation enacted before the summer recess in July. The two challenges before the courts will be heard next Tuesday and the likelihood is they will be dismissed.
Then there is the work of the Irish Centre for Bio-ethical Reform which has continued to remind the public at large and those intent on abortion in particular of the person in the womb. Their posters showing the 10-week healthy baby before and after the abortion clearly illustrate what abortion is about. There is in one picture a living human being and in the other pieces of chopped up flesh – the remains of the baby.
Now the Minister for Health (the name is a bit of a misnomer) having ignored the child in the womb during the campaign now wishes to have the “offensive imagery” banned. In particular, it should be excluded in places where women, planning an abortion, may see it! The minister proposes exclusion zones around maternity hospitals and abortion clinics presumably because the shock of seeing abortion pictures may persuade women to refrain from going through with the killing.
It must be hard for the Minister to be brought face to face with the results of his actions in this way.
The U.S. Supreme Court Justices recently unanimously invalidated abortion clinic buffer zones. The Court rejected the arguments which mischaracterise ‘Centre for Bio-ethical Reform’ campaigners as “protesters” to make their conduct appear extreme and inappropriate. Their work is educational in nature placing previously concealed information before the public.
Of course the image is very powerful. The visual goes straight to the imagination and recognises that I was once like the 10-week old baby. It goes further and sees the violence inflicted to bring about its death. It remains in the mind’s eye and because human life is an intensely personal thing cannot be readily erased. It should evoke shock/horror feelings. It should determine that it must not happen. Not in my country. Not among my people.
The Disciples thought it unthinkable. Isaiah must have been writing about someone else! “there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness” (Chapter 52 verse 14) not Jesus, not you Lord. The graphic image painted by Isaiah becomes all too real for the disciples and for us. “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and to cause him to suffer” (Chapter 53 verse 10). Jesus was our substitute, his purity for our sinfulness that there might be a basis for God to forgive his repentant children including campaigners and abortionists.