Communications Officer Rebekah Moffett reports from the solemn witness in Parliament Square on the 55th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act 1967.
55 years. Over 10 million lives.
Yet in reality, it’s more than just 10 million lives that have been affected – it’s also the lives of all the would-be mothers, would-be fathers, would-be aunts, uncles, grandparents, godparents…
On 27 October, the 55th anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act, a large group of pro-lifers gathered in solemn witness of the 10 million lives that have been ended due to abortion. But more than just remember the ones who have been lost, they also gathered to commemorate all those lives that have been affected by the loss of even just one. The group took up the entire perimeter of Parliament Square in silent witness, with MPs, other politicians and journalists stopping to engage and ask questions. Despite the solemnity of the occasion, it was an encouraging sight.
10 million too many
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, was there to mark the occasion: “I’m here because I’m passionately pro-life. Here we are, standing in Parliament Square, and we are speaking on behalf of those that didn’t get to live, didn’t get to have their first breath.
“Can we even begin to imagine that 10 million such people are missing since the passing of that act 55 years ago? 10 million is way beyond all the people that I can see in this square today; 10 million is way beyond all the people that I would get to see as I travel London today. 10 million is the whole of the population of Greater London. 10 million is two times the population of Scotland. I don’t know if we can ever even begin to imagine the concept of that number. 10 million too many.
“But today, what we see in the square is a pro-life intergenerational force. We’ve got everyone here. Those of us that are older, right down to little children that are here advocating on behalf of our unborn children.
“In 55 years’ time, we don’t want to say that the number is 20 million – but actually, we want to see an end to this intentional killing of our unborn children. That is what our common humanity requires, it’s what God requires. Because God says that you and me, and everyone I see, is precious in his sight and worthy of his protection. Let’s work to that.”
More than just 10 million
March for Life, which organised the day of remembrance, has been campaigning in England since 2012 to abolish abortion and protect women in crisis pregnancies. Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, co-director of March for Life UK, spoke of why they organise the solemn witness every year: “We’re here today to remember those 10 million children, but also to look at the ripple effects: the millions of women who’ve been left hurting, the millions of men who’ve lost their children to abortion. Grandparents, the wider family – the ripples to this are endless.
“So we’re here today to make sure that this occasion doesn’t pass unmarked or unnoticed. These 10 million deserve to be noticed. And those millions of women who are maybe yet to find their voice and speak about what’s happened to them, they deserve to be noticed and we’re here today to be to be a voice for them as well.”
In fact, over the last 55 years, the rate of abortion has been increasing, being made easier while any dissent is being silenced. Isabel continued: “Last year, 88% of abortions were medical abortions. And we know one in every 17 of those end up in hospital with complications as a result of their abortion. And yet, this is being sold as healthcare to women. Clearly it’s not caring about women’s health in any way, not physically and certainly not mentally.
“And now, with the introduction of the DIY abortion ruling, now women are allowed to have abortions in their own home. This shows even more disregard for women’s health. Again, they’re having abortions without having had a scan, without even having a face-to-face consultation, often in the isolation of their own home. And even having to dispose of their own child afterwards. Even to put that into words, we wince as we say it, but this is the reality for many women and men who are often affected by abortion.“
‘If abortion is the answer, we’re asking the wrong questions’
GB News’ Calvin Robinson spoke of how abortion needs to be addressed in our nation: “Nothing matters more than the sanctity of life. People on the other side of the argument have said for years, that abortion needs to be legalised and/or decriminalised for extreme circumstances including rape, incest, and the protection of life of the mother, which are all issues we could debate – but in reality, it hasn’t been about the extremities.
“It’s really been about everyday use. We’ve seen 10 million abortions since the act was passed. But we see 200,000 abortions every year. Now that’s not all extreme cases; that’s people using abortion as what they call health care, using it as a contraceptive. And it’s an outright moral crime to be killing an unborn child for the sake of convenience. The impact it has on young women, mothers, mothers-to-be, potential mothers, is again criminal, leaving people with trauma for the rest of their lives. And we don’t tell them about this because we say, ‘oh, it’s fine, your body, your choice.’ But it’s not your body, it’s the body you’re protecting, it’s the body within you. It’s the body we should all speak up for because that body has no voice of its own.
“Even if it was just one, it would matter. 10 million is a number that is difficult to conceive. That’s 10 million lives that are not here because people have made choices that they didn’t have to make. And I think if abortion is the answer, we are asking the wrong questions. So I think we need to go back to the drawing board and find out what’s putting women and men into the position where they see it as the only solution.”
Change is needed: we must speak up, pray, act – and protect those rights
Former member of the London Assembly and now member of the Heritage Party, David Kurten, said he would like to see abortion being abolished in this nation: “We want to abolish abortion both in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland, that’s what we stand for.
“We have to be honest about what is really going on here and not use flowery language. It’s a horror. We need to stop it, and those in parliament don’t seem to be doing anything about it – in fact, they’re making it worse.”
He also mentioned the recent passing of the Public Order Bill in the House of Commons, which, if passed by both Houses (it is currently in the House of Lords), would outlaw prayer outside abortion clinics across the UK: “We’ve just had the Public Order Bill, which has gone through the House of Commons, where now they’re going to criminalise prayer and offering help to pregnant mothers outside of walk-in centres. Things are going in the wrong direction in this country.”
Christian Hacking, of CBR-UK knows exactly what it’s like to have been arrested for praying outside an abortion clinic. He was carried off by police in 2019 outside a clinic in Ealing despite praying peacefully. He spoke of the need for change and repentance: “When I recently asked members of the public how many abortions they think took place over the last 10 years, they often said around 13,000, or at most, 30,000. But since the Abortion Act was introduced in 1967, 10 million unborn babies have been intentionally pulled from their mother’s womb prematurely. Killing is never the solution to complex human problems. And that is why we’re out here in Parliament Square.
“We’re holding up these signs that say ’10 million too many’ because not only have we killed 10 million of our own children, desecrating our nation through the shedding of innocent blood. But we’ve also stopped the bloodlines of 10 million future families.
“So anyone wanting to address the deep issues currently faced by our country needs to start at the beginning, where human life begins, and start putting in protections there. Because if we get the abortion issue, right, then I assure you a whole load of other issues will follow suit.”
When abortion becomes personal
There were also those who attended the solemn witness in a more personal capacity. Rachel Mackenzie, who now runs Rachel’s Vineyard, which supports anyone affected by abortion, spoke of how 10 million was a personal number, really: “It’s hard to even imagine what one million looks like, let alone 10 million. So I have to narrow it down to Paul and Jude – the children that I killed through abortion. And I also have to remember that in all that darkness that there’s always hope.”
Similarly, Natalia, who now works with pro-life group Abortion Resistance, spoke of her own experiences: “I’m here on behalf of my own son who died as a result of the abortion I had in 2020. But not only, for all the mums and the dads, all the parents that are suffering and grieving their loss – obviously now 10 million children.
“Abortion is very difficult, emotionally it’s very difficult. I think a lot of people just emotionally shut it out, and then it starts to affect them in later life. Luckily, in my case, I was able to deal with it straight away and start that journey of healing. It’s been two and a half years now, and it’s really just the start.”
Change is already happening
Thankfully, there is encouragement to take from the witness in Parliament. Dr Dermot Kearney went to lend his own support and spoke of how he is helping to bring the number of losses down: “Over the last two years, I’ve been trying to help some women, some mothers who have changed their mind after they’ve taken the first abortion pill. Some women change their mind, and if we can get them a simple, hormonal treatment called progesterone, then actually, many babies can be saved. Now, it doesn’t always work – in this country, we have a 50-55% success rate for women who have changed their mind and have managed to get help. So far, we’ve saved 37 babies since 2020.
“Of course, we’d like to see many more saved – and the greater awareness people have, the more women we’ll be able to help.”
Let’s pray that it doesn’t take another 55 years to see more change for the better.