Don’t scroll past abortion

9 July 2020

Andrea Williams opens our More than a Number campaign with a reflection on The Good Samaritan.

We cannot look at the news today without seeing injustice. Stories, pictures and videos scream out to us, calling for attention, calling for action. We cannot ignore them forever.

It reminds me of one of the most famous stories in the Bible: the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus tells the story of a man who is beaten on the side of a road and left half dead. One by one, the religious elites walk past the man on the other side of the road, not engaging with the poor man’s plight. First, a priest. Then a Levite.

In the end, it is a Samaritan – disliked by the religious leaders of the day – who ‘shows mercy’ by taking care of the man who was attacked, at significant cost to himself. The Samaritan shows himself to be a neighbour, and Jesus calls us to show mercy in the same way.

What did the priest and Levite do wrong? They stayed emotionally distant from the attacked, half-dead man. Maybe they were worried for their own safety. But they definitely avoided the problem. They looked away.

One of the injustices in our society today takes a great number of lives: 200,000 each year in England and Wales. The ‘A’ word. And we, like the priest and the Levite, look away. How could we possibly cope if we felt the true weight of all these children’s lives being lost? What if we grieved for every one of those babies – one every three minutes? It would be unbearable.

So we look away. We feel like this evil is too great, this enemy is too big to fight. We send an email to our MP from time to time. We mention it occasionally at church. But at little cost.

It’s an emotive and difficult subject. People who love life sometimes get hounded on social media for speaking up for unborn babies. We have all kinds of worries about how people will react when we share a story or fact about abortion.

But while we’re worrying about what people will think of us, another baby’s life is being ended.

We can’t afford to look away – it’s a basic failure to love our neighbour.

It’s not just the children – it’s the mothers and everyone else involved too. We’re not balancing the feelings of women against the rights of the baby. Abortion hurts everybody.

That’s why we’re looking to remind people over the next four weeks that abortion is more than a number. We’ll be sharing stories, articles and videos to help people understand that abortion isn’t a statistic that we can avoid, but each number represents a real person.

Could you try not to look away? Could you avoid scrolling past? Could you follow the Samaritan, taking that risky step of reading, liking or sharing that post?

We all need help with this. But the Good Samaritan is ultimately a picture of Jesus, who left the riches of Heaven to risk and even give his own life to save us. We, like him and like the Good Samaritan, need to be willing to speak on abortion, even at our own cost. May God give us the power to follow his example.

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