We hold that all human life is precious. The ultimate foundation of this is the Bible’s teaching that we are made in the image of God. That gives every human being immense dignity, worth, value and meaning, regardless of size, shape, nationality, ability or colour.
The circumstances surrounding this new life may be hard and difficult, but each life is valuable because God formed and shaped it for a purpose. We thank God for the life of every child, no matter the circumstances surrounding their conception, or the length of days given to them.
As a nation we have not excelled in living out the implications of the preciousness of all life. We have failed mothers and babies. We have created stigma and shame instead of creating an environment of grace and love. We need to do better at providing support: emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. And we need to do better in providing loving, long-term alternatives like adoption.
But our shortcomings do not give us the right to determine who should be born and who should not. God alone is the author of life. His Word is clear that life begins at conception (Psalm 51:5). Modern science has only underlined the truth of the Bible’s ancient claim.
Since God alone is the author of life, only he has the right to determine who lives and who does not. Much is made of the mother’s right over her own body, but from conception a new and separate person is formed within her. She has the responsibility to preserve the life of this new person but never the right to take it.
We acknowledge that difficult medical circumstances may arise where the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child cannot both be preserved. However the wilful killing of an unborn child by abortion is indefensible.
In choosing abortion we would declare that all human life is not valuable, that discrimination is permissible; we would make ourselves the determiners of a person’s worth, and worse still, take God’s work of divine skill and destroy it—denying His wisdom and purpose in creating it (Psalm 139).
There are some things we shouldn’t be free to do—denying another person their humanity is one of them, defacing God’s artistry is another (Exodus 20:13 cp. Matthew 19:18).
The Irish Constitution magnificently recognises the worth of both mother and baby—far in advance of many other countries. It is not backward, but progressive. It is God-honouring and person-exalting.
We therefore urge our churches’ members and our fellow citizens to resist the call to repeal the Eighth Amendment, and to continue to work towards a richer, better, more grace-filled society.