• engaGE19

This election is not just about Brexit: the value of life is under threat

It’s undoubtedly the case that many of us will go to the polls on 12 December with one thing in mind: what will happen about Brexit?

Not much else has dominated the news over the past three years, and we can only hope that this election will be the beginning of the end of the matter – whichever way it eventually goes.

However, as we go to cast our votes, it’s essential that we remember that this Parliament will – bar yet another General Election – be with us for the next 5 years. That means our elected representatives will vote on many other major issues during this period.

Amongst these issues are two that have been at the heart of CARE’s work for many years: abortion and assisted suicide. Indeed, these are matters that many Christians care very deeply about.

Abortion, particularly, is one of the most divisive issues in our society – possibly angering people even more than Brexit, on both sides of the debate.

Many of us were closely involved in the fight to maintain Northern Ireland’s life-affirming laws this summer, laws that saved 100,000 people, and we now watch with dismay as the Government consult on plans that barely even protect women in NI, let alone the total lack of protection they offer unborn life up to viability.

The same threat that caused this wide-sweeping change in Northern Ireland remains: almost as soon as the law had been changed, pro-abortion MPs were calling for an overhaul of the law in Great Britain, despite the fact our current law has caused the death of 9 million babies and left countless women suffering from their abortions.

These campaigners have made it clear they intend to use the Domestic Abuse Bill (DAB) to instigate this change. The DAB was subject to a carry-over motion in the last Parliament, which means it will continue after the General Election dust has settled and new MPs are installed in their seats. It is highly likely that, as the Bill works its way through Parliament, an amendment will be tabled which radically overhauls our abortion law. Everything, then, rests on whether there will be enough MPs who will vote against it – or, at the least, abstain from voting.

Similarly, there is a continued threat to introduce assisted suicide into England and Wales. Campaign groups such as Dignity in Dying have ramped up their efforts to change in the law, and this year saw MPs debate the issue for the first time since the vote in 2015 – which was, mercifully, resoundingly defeated. Thankfully two MPs have stepped down who had felt strongly assisted suicide should be introduced, but it is of course unclear whether new MPs with similar agendas will take their place in the Commons in the next Parliament.

This is why, as well as considering Brexit, we must also consider how our vote will affect life issues in the next Parliament.

engaGE19 is aimed to equip you with the knowledge you need to understand developments on these issues, and we have provided a detailed policy analysis for each, including questions you can ask candidates to find out where they stand. Why not host a church husting, which will be a great opportunity to ask your candidates of their views on abortion and assisted suicide face-to-face?

Whatever way you decide to vote, we hope you will feel satisfied that you held your candidates to account, and that you know where they stand on these issues – if anything, so that you know how to pray for them.

Life is under great threat in this next Parliament, and this Election could be the turning point. Let’s pray that God elects godly leaders who want to uphold the value of life – they might even be in your constituency.

Naomi Marsden

CARE Communications Officer