We are gathering today to commemorate a tragedy without parallel.
Seven years ago I spoke at a meeting in your Parliament, having just visited Westminster Abbey, and having seen the stone statue above the West Entrance immortalising my uncle, Martin Luther King Jr, for his great work for justice.
I told your legislators that the pro-life movement stands for justice and is “the new civil rights movement”.
As a mother of six children, with personal experience of abortion, and which I came to deeply regret, I learned the hard way that abortion was not the answer to my problem. It was the problem.
Today, I feel morally obligated to speak out about how human dignity and life itself has been systematically rejected by some in society for an entire class of individuals— unborn children.
Like my uncle Martin, I too have a passion for justice. And I see the cause of the unborn through the same vision of justice that Dr Martin Luther King Jr laid out, half a century ago.
I see absolutely no difference between the denial of rights to people because of their skin colour and the denial of rights to people because of their age or condition of dependency.
There is no doubt that the pro-life movement is the civil rights movement of our century because it is the fundamental right of every one of every race to live. Of what use are all our other rights if we can simply choose to deny a person the right to be born in the first place?
My uncle challenged a culture which said African Americans were not worthy of respect or of human dignity.
We were spat upon. We were told to go to the back of the bus. We were deemed unworthy to eat or drink with others. We were clubbed and beaten. And we were lynched. We were killed because we were regarded as less than fully human.
So it is with the lives of unborn babies – who are womb-lynched – today.
Today’s unborn are yesterday’s blacks – best kept out of sight and out of mind lest they remind us of the injustices we commit.
In 1967, the year before my uncle was murdered, the UK Parliament voted to legalise abortion. Since then, more than 8 million human lives have been lost.
What does 8 million look like?
None of us have ever seen 8 million people. It is an unimaginable number.
In World War II the UK lost around 450,000 people. To equal the number of deaths the UK has suffered through abortion, the UK would have to fight World War II sixteen times.
This is death on a scale the world has never seen. In my own country, there are around 700,000 abortions every year. 59 million since Roe v Wade. 59 million.
Some of you will remember that back in the 1970s and 1980, supporters of abortion used to excuse this mass killing with talk of how an early pregnancy wasn’t really a human being.
“A clump of cells”, they said.
Scientific endeavour has since shown this to be a lie. The most deadly lie in human history, easing our consciences as untold millions have been denied the chance to take a breath. To hold their mother. To love. Still today, this lie is repeated in an effort to dehumanise. And if history tells us one thing about mass killing, it’s that it is always preceded by dehumanisation.
We must now decry this lie from the rooftops. We must unite in proclaiming the settled scientific truth that a unique and distinct human life is present from conception. But let us find a language of protest that is inclusive to the many women who feel coerced by their circumstances into walking through the doors of the killing fields of an abortion clinic.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr was right when he said: “The Negro cannot win if he is willing to sacrifice the futures of his children for immediate personal comfort and safety.” That is true for all of us – whatever our colour, class, or creed: when we sacrifice our children we sacrifice and destroy our future.
Uncle Martin was right, too, when he said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Only by being pro-woman and pro child; pro life and pro love, will we drive out the darkness of our culture of death.
The challenge today is to touch people’s hardened hearts – hearts that the Bible tells us are inscribed with God’s law.
We can try to deny our consciences, indoctrinate or medicate our minds so that we can’t or won’t think, but a sense of right and wrong has been given to each and every one of us. It is that very moral awareness that challenged America’s culture on racism. And I believe it is that same moral awareness that can challenge and change any culture on abortion.
On this day of such overwhelming significance, let us resolve that no amount of personal discomfort will prevent us from defending our children. Let us each ask ourselves: If not me, who? If not now, when?
After the inevitable abolition of abortion, as future generations look back on this dark era, let our names be counted among those who peacefully resisted.
This is a message recorded for the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act