Pens are being sharpened and word processors cranked up this week to alert the Citizens Assembly that there are people in Ireland who view the baby in the womb as a proper child. Sadly this has become necessary as there are journalists who refer to the child in the womb as a zygote – a collection of cells – in an effort to make more palatable the horrendous slaughter of the innocents should abortion be legalised.
The 8th amendment to our Constitution was passed in order to grant the unborn child equal rights to life as the mother. The removal or dilution of this right is being sought by those who see Ireland as a “modern State”.
Having recently introduces same-sex marriage legislation they are now trying to make abortion as available as contraception. The UK who have had legalised abortion for some time now have 1 in 5 babies aborted. In Sweden, often held up as an example of a modern State, the ratio is 1 in 4 babies aborted.
These statistics should send a shiver down our spines but the fact is that they don’t. We have been conditioned by the experience of abortion in places such as the USA or the Netherlands. In the latter there now is a culture of death established with euthanasia becoming an accepted way to go. This moves society away from the idea of caring to killing in a relatively short time.
The fruit of the womb has an honoured place in the Bible. From earliest times if a pregnant woman got caught up in a fight and as a result gave birth prematurely there was to be restitution. The child in the womb had rights (Exodus chapter 21 verse 22). In Isaiah God speaks of Israel as a child made by him and formed in the womb (Chapter 44 verses 2 & 24).
This theme punctuates Scripture but perhaps arises most plainly in the Psalms. “You created my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Chapter 139 verses 15 & 16).
In the New Testament prior to the birth of Jesus his earthly cousin, John the Baptist, was active in his mother’s womb! (St Luke chapter 1 verse 41).
“When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
It is perhaps a reflection of how far we have strayed from Christian values when we use the terms of ‘foetus’ and ‘embryo’ in place of ‘fruit of the womb’.
And that fruit, like every other fruit, is a gift…but Mary’s is a gift par excellence – God’s love gift to a world that is chronically opposed to Him “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (St John Chapter 3 verse 16).
Let’s make sure that the view from the wombs of Irish mothers is one that reflects the love of God and not the selfishness of man.