A Constitutional Right To Rescue Unborn Children

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This paper argues that Britons have a right under the British Constitution to rescue unborn children from death at the abortuaries. The argument is that the constitutional documents of this nation establish that we are a Christian nation, have an established Christian Church and a Queen who vows on oath at her coronation to uphold "the laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel". In this situation it follows that the British have a right to behave as Christians. Christianity demands loving our neighbour as ourselves and the unborn child is our neighbour. Let us take these various components part by part.

At her coronation, the Queen vows solemnly to uphold the laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel. Any citizen is obviously entitled to do the same. Looking in the Gospel for a distinction between God's laws and man's, we find Jesus telling the Pharisees to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's.

The most elementary reading of the Gospels tells us that God has laid down His own commandments which man must not interfere with. Concerning marriage, for example, He tells us, "What God has united, man must not divide" (Matt 19, 6.) God has instituted marriage, God  has made it indissoluble  and man  does not  have

the authority to dissolve it. Some things are God's, some things are delegated to man.

The whole ten commandments come from God and are endorsed by Jesus in His conversations with the Pharisees and lawyers. In speaking of the commandments, Jesus boils the ten down to two - love of God above all things and love of our neighbour as ourselves. Man does not have the authority to abolish these laws.

When Jesus is asked who is our neighbour He responds by telling us in the parable of the Good Samaritan how to be neighbourly. The conclusion to go and do as the Samaritan and not as the priest or Levite is an order to go to the help of anyone in need.

We come therefore to the question of our unborn neighbour in the scriptures. Nowhere does scripture ever belittle the status of the unborn child, and in significant passages of the Gospel indicates the greatest possible reverence for the life of the child in the womb. The key passage concerns John the Baptist in his mother's womb and Jesus in His mother's womb at the Visitation. In preparation for the conception of John the Baptist, his father Zechariah receives an apparition described in the first chapter of St. Luke. The Angel Gabriel explains to him that the child will be great in the sight of God and continues, "Even from his mother's  womb he will be filled with

the Holy Spirit". (Lk 1, 15) The time when John the Baptist is filled with the Holy Spirit is clearly indicated as the time of the Visitation by Mary now pregnant with Jesus. As an unborn child John is already John and has a spiritual soul able to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit

When Mary greets Elizabeth she receives a wonderful reply honouring the two unborn children: "Elizabeth gave a loud cry and said: `Of all women you are the most blessed and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy'". Here John the Baptist leaps with joy in his mother's womb because he recognises the advent of the Saviour. An unborn child recognises an Unborn Child.

Furthermore, Elizabeth speaks of Mary as the mother of my Lord, not to become the mother of her Lord, but already the mother of her Lord because already the mother of the unborn Son of God. In this way one realises the reason for the permeation of Christian devotion by the scene of the Visitation throughout the centuries of the Church's history. Indeed we realise that for nine months the centre of the created universe and the object of adoration of angels and men was an unborn child recognised as both human and divine in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

What then do I do for my unborn neighbour being dragged to death by its own mother in an abortuary? "Rescue those being led away to death". (Proverbs, 24, 11.)The response of intercepting the mother and trying peacefully and passively to stand between her and the abortuary gates or doors is a tiny, tiny response. Rescuers, anxious to express their love for their unborn neighbour as themselves, would gladly welcome the guidance of the courts on how to do better in protecting that child at the gates of the abortuary. At that stage it is well beyond the reach of a letter to my member of parliament. It cannot be protected in that way. It is in the most imminent peril of its life. I could not identify the mother previously because I had no idea which of the many women in, say, Bournemouth or Manchester the night before were contemplating an abortion, no idea of where they spent the night, no idea of how to reach them until they identify themselves by coming to the abortuary and revealing by the very presence there that they have come on business - grisly business - and not as members of staff. In that situation I respond as best I can by getting in between the aggressor abortionist and his intended victim in his mother's womb. If many people can be present the intervention will be that much more effective.

I end with an important point about what is accomplished by the intervention described above. It may seem to be splitting hairs but is in fact important to  realise that  one can  never  save a  person's  life  for

ever! I can only postpone the death of a person in danger. For example, a fireman may rescue a woman from an upstairs window of a house on fire. The woman is rescued that day but could die quite soon afterwards by another accident or by a heart-attack or by violence from an aggressor or by catching a lethal disease, etc. The fireman still saved her life that day even if she dies unexpectedly the day after.

At the gates of the abortuary I may only succeed in postponing the death of a child for half an hour or, if I prompt a change of mind in the mother, I may postpone the child's death for ninety years. I cannot be sure which will be the case but in both cases I have postponed that child's death and to that extent saved its life. In other words every rescue is always successful, sometimes exceedingly successful, sometimes not so significantly.


Under the British Constitution and by proper, honest unprejudiced reading of the Gospels and other Scriptures I must conclude that the unborn child is my neighbour whom I am entitled constitutionally to love as myself. To intervene on its behalf at the abortuary is the least response I can make to my neighbour in such perilous danger of death.

Rev. James Morrow,

      December 1994