“my sorrow was immeasurable, I was wracked with sobs, heaving aching sobs. After that day, I spent three months plunged in total emotional darkness – the depths of suffering, anger and misery.” Motherhood is destined to look after and to protect. The hardest thing of all to tolerate, harder than the loss of the child itself, is the fact of having deliberately surrendered you won child to death! As if we had any doubt that the unborn child is alive and human, just look at some of the milestones of his or her early development. A new human life begins at fertilisation when a sperm cell penetrates a woman’s ova. By day 18 after fertilisation the tiny new human’s heart is forming and eyes starting to develop. Day 20 sees the spinal cord and nervous system already established. At around day 25 the heart begins to beat, day 28 arms, legs and ears have begun to show! At approximately 8 weeks all organs and body features are present and the child only needs to grow. The majority of abortions are performed around 10 to 12 weeks after fertilisation. By now the child can suck his thumb, make facial expressions, kick and move his fingers and toes. Some very gruesome and brutal abortions of perfectly healthy as well as disabled babies, are done at and beyond 20 weeks, right up to the age when doctors struggle, often successfully, to help premature ‘wanted’ babies to survive. The anti life lobby likes to trot out the hard cases – rape, life of the mother, deformed foetuses – and the backyard abortion horror stories. The facts, however, don’t support their stand. Most unborn babies have their lives deliberately ended because their mothers face, not life-threatening illnesses but social, economic, career, and schooling or financial difficulties. These kinds of problems have a solution, the same kind of practical and emotional help that is available if a woman with born children experiences difficulties. We wouldn’t suggest that women have a ‘right’ to take their problem toddlers or teenagers into a clinic to be disposed of! Abortion is an attack on the most basic of human rights – the right to life itself! You don’t have a lesser value as a human being because you were conceived in horrible circumstances. There is no justice in ending the life of an innocent child who is the result of rape or is disabled. If we kill imperfect children in the womb what are we telling people with the same imperfection? That their lives are worthless? That they have no contribution to make to society? That they would be ‘better of dead’? Every year in the world there are about 45 million abortions, that’s about one abortion in every three live births! In New Zealand alone there were around 17 400 abortions performed last year. The most common age for abortion in NZ last year were people from 20 to 25 years of age. Followed by the 25 to 29 year olds, and the last group being the teenagers from 15 to 19 years. When people perceive abortion for what it really is – the violent destruction of a human life – it will no longer seem like a valid or humane ‘choice’ Every baby is defenceless and needs protecting. The rights of the unborn child are at least equal to those of the mother – if they don’t exceed them. It is a democratic world in which we cannot make the choices for some people, all we can do is hope that those people can and will make the right choice.