November 2020 | Dave Brennan with
If you have had an abortion, is the gospel big enough for you?
If you are considering an abortion, what will the doctors not tell you?
Transcript | J. John on Sundays: Facing the Canon with Dave Brennan
J. John \\ You oversee a ministry called ‘Brephos’. So, tell us about that. How did that start?
Dave \\ Perhaps I'll just say what ‘Brephos’ means. So the word ‘brephos’ is the Greek word for baby. It's used in Luke chapter one of John the Baptist leaping in the womb, and it's used of Jesus Himself in Luke two, lying in a manger - a born baby. So it's a word which for me just encapsulates God's heart, and how God sees the unborn child, that before birth and after birth it’s the same person. So the name Brephos really came from that, as a ministry to help the church to really see the unborn child as God sees the unborn child. So, over the course of a number of years the Lord raised the issue of the unborn child and what's happening to them to my wife and myself, and it came to the point where that was really dominating our thoughts a lot. We came to learn of the scale of what's happening, and many scriptures were speaking into our lives at that point, and so really it all came to a head while I was working on the staff team of this church. Really it came to this conclusion of: this is the greatest moral issue of our day and who's doing anything about it? And so really that realisation led to really quite a clear calling where the Lord made it unmistakable to us that he didn't just want our spare time, but he wanted all our time. And so we came on board with something called the Centre for Bioethical Reform, UK and with them we launched this new ministry, Brephos January 2018.
J. John \\ Dave, give us some of the facts. What are we talking about? You know them.
Dave \\ Sure, so in the UK in the last couple of years, for example, we've had more than 200,000 babies killed in the womb, just in England and Wales, each year. So that that amounts to about one in four babies. So for every one baby that's killed in the womb, three are born alive. I grew up in a Christian home, I was notionally pro-life, it was my default position, but I had no idea of the scale of this issue. And when I came to realise the scale it just really rocked us actually and, and because it's very hidden, you don't see it. This is behind closed doors.
J. John \\ Just remind us, when was it legalised?
Dave \\ 1967.
J. John \\ Okay. And so did America legalise it first?
Dave \\ No. Slightly after us actually. Roe v Wade was slightly after us. In fact the UK has been something of a pioneer in the abortion industry worldwide. And since 1967 we've had 9 million.
And what about, how many abortions every year around the world? Is there an estimate?
Yes, the estimates range between sort of 40 million and 55 million. So, we're talking about a million a week worldwide. And when you start computing these sorts of things if you can, what we're seeing is really is a genocide of unprecedented proportions globally.
J. John \\ And what are the reasons that people give for aborting a baby?
Dave \\ Well in this country, by the letter of the law you have to give one of several reasons. The doctor has to be able to sign you off as having a reason and for 98% of abortions in the UK. they're done under what's clause C, which basically states that it's the doctor's judgement that it would be more of a threat to the woman's physical or mental health to continue the pregnancy, than to have the abortion. So it's kind-of by the letter of the law it's under this kind of mental health bracket. But what everyone knows and even the abortion industry is quite candid about is, it's not really about mental health. It's a question of choice, its autonomy. And so quite simply in the UK if you don't want to have this baby, you will have an abortion. You never hear of anyone being denied an abortion. So what it means really is, we have abortion on demand. So whatever the reason, you can have an abortion. That could be anything from: my partner will leave me if I don't, to: I'm struggling financially, to even what we saw in the news recently: I'm going on holiday and I don’t want my bikini body to be jeopardised by being pregnant. And the abortion industry is caught on camera saying, “Yes, we'll give you an abortion for that reason.” So we're living in is a culture where, whatever the reason, the state will pay for, and enable you to have your unborn child killed in the womb.
J. John \\ And the state will pay for it, which means the taxpayer is paying for it?
Dave \\ Yes, that’s right. The NHS. Yes.
J. John \\ So basically, all of us are paying for this?
Dave \\ That's right, about something like 200 million pounds a year in the UK spent on abortions both here and internationally.
J. John \\ And many babies are terminated, because there’s supposedly a defect or something?
Dave \\ That's right. It's about 2% are under a clause which has to do with the physical health of the child. So any kind of abnormality is grounds for abortion right up in the UK. So right up until birth.
J. John \\ Right up to the actual day of birth a baby can be terminated?
Dave \\ That's right, right up until birth, there's no time that on that if there’s thought to be some abnormality. Now that can be anything from something quite severe and life limiting, like spina fidia or something, which actually can be rectified in the womb. Incredibly there's been surgery in the womb which has been amazing. But it can be anything like that to something like Down syndrome, to having a cleft palate, which in this country is so easily treatable. I mean it's basically an aesthetic thing. But last year several babies were killed, just for having a cleft palate in our country, basically didn't have the right look.
J. John \\ But when we say up to the day, some of those babies might be seven pounds, eight pounds. Now, the Christian conviction is that life commences at conception. Just explain that to us.
Dave \\ Well, it’s both the Christian conviction and also a medical fact. So every medical textbook agrees that from the moment of fertilisation, when sperm meets egg, a new human life has been formed. And that's not my opinion. It's a fact. And three key things happen at that moment. The DNA is formed, this totally unique set of information for that individual like no one else in history, a unique individual. Different DNA from the father, different DNA from the mother. And so it's unique, it's an individual, it's not a part of someone else, because it's got different DNA. And it's alive, it's not dead, and there are only two options. It's alive, it's growing. And then thirdly it's human. It's not a different species. Human parents beget human offspring. And so what you've got is an individual - it’s alive, it's human. It’s a living human being from that moment. So that’s just the science. But of course the Bible affirms this. Psalm 51:5, David refers to himself as a person from conception. “From when my mother conceived me.” He says he was a sinner. I was created in my mother's womb. And of course, above all else, Jesus himself was conceived of the Holy Spirit, not born of the Holy Spirit, but conceived. So from conception Jesus was there. That’s when the incarnation happened. And so, if Jesus was there from conception, we know that that's when human life begins. That was the beginning of his human life.
J. John \\ Okay, let's look at some of these different areas. First of all, what would you say, Dave, to any of our viewers who have already had an abortion? We don't obviously know the circumstances, buy they've had it. They’re feeling guilty or bad about now. What would you say to them?
Dave \\ The first thing I would say is: you're really not alone, and one in three women in the UK has at least one abortion in her lifetime. It's not spoken about much. It's not spoken about much the church. It's easy to feel like you're the only one, but that's not true. There are many people in the same boat, and actually crucially, whether you've had an abortion or not, we're all in the same boat. I stand before God as a sinner in need of grace. I need the crop just as much as the next person. And although abortion is an incredibly significant thing it's not the unforgiveable sin, and the cross is easily powerful enough to save anyone who turns to Christ in faith, and it doesn't matter what your past sins might be. I love that interchange that Jesus has with the thief on the cross next to him, and the thief says, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom,” and Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, today you'll be in a paradise. He says it instantly. There's no kind of payback period. The thief can't go and set everything right, he can't prove to everyone he's changed. All you can do is look for Jesus, and that's all any of us can do, is look to Jesus and His grace is enough. The gospel is big enough.
J. John \\ We believe in the healing grace of Jesus. For any listeners now, the woman’s pregnant, expecting a baby, is thinking about aborting the baby, what would you say to them?
Dave \\ The first thing I would like to say is, and this is true almost anywhere in the world, it's certainly true here in the UK, the doctors will not tell you the truth about two important things. They won't tell you the truth about the humanity of your unborn child, just how developed and wondrous this gift of life is. Do you know, from three weeks after fertilisation there’s a heartbeat, at 10 weeks after fertilisation there’s a fingerprint, fingernails, eyes, nose. You can even tell if the baby's right-handed or left-handed from their movements in the womb. Amazing. Almost all the organs that you and I have were there from about 10 weeks after fertilisation. So the first thing I'd encourage any woman who's pregnant and struggling with what to do, got to ehd.org, that’s the Endowment for Human Development, and you will see a video of life in the womb from earliest stages, and it's just mind-blowing. And that's your baby. You're already a mother. That's your baby right there. And so, wonder at the creation of life, and don't let the doctors or the abortion industry lie to you and say, “Oh it’s just a blob of tissue, it’s just a pregnancy. Because the language really changes quite dramatically in this whole area, according to what people are trying to do, and what thoughts they’re trying to plant. So get familiar with what's going on in your womb. And the other thing I'd say, and this is hard: you need to become aware of the facts of abortion itself, because again, the euphemisms cloak this. They just say, “We'll just terminate it, we’ll end this, we’ll sort it out.”
J. John \\ Tell us some of the facts, details.
Dave \\ So most abortions happen at around 10, 11, 12 weeks, and in this country until recently with lock-down, (this has changed things with abortions kind-of being mostly performed at home, pills are sent in the post. Now, that's what's called a medical abortion where you take pills, and that's the majority of abortions worldwide, certainly here in the UK, and even before lockdown it was the majority, and what happens there is you take two pills. The first pill cuts off all the supplies to the baby, and so it kills the baby in the womb. And then the second pill taken maybe a day later will expel the baby and so you basically deliver it. At that stage it's small but very clearly it's a baby. And then the mother has to deal with that somehow, and these babies have to – they don’t disappear - they have to go somewhere. Do you bury them?
J. John \\ What do they do?
Dave \\ Well they flush them down the toilet mostly. That's the kind of advice.
J. John \\ The doctor would say that?
Dave \\ Yes, because these at-home abortions, what else can they do? Either you put it in the bin or you flush it down the loo. So what you’ve got is, in the sewers of our nation, 10s of 1000s of human babies disposed of. And so that's the most common form of abortion in this country, but there's also surgical abortion, where literally the baby is just dismembered, pulled limb from limb, decapitated, crushed, disembowelled, and then just pulled out and what they have to do is then reassemble the pieces of the baby on the table to make sure they've got all the pieces out so there's not infection. So the reality of abortion, when seen for what it is, it protests itself. I don't need to protest abortion. I just need to explain what it is and it protests itself. And so I’d urge any woman, any couple, considering this, please get to know the facts of abortion. And you need to know what it’s going to do to your baby, and also what it does to the mother – the health impact, the mental health impact on a mother can be severe. And then I guess the third thing I'd say is that where there is life there is hope. God doesn't create a child without thinking it through. There are enough resources. He’s given you a child because He trusts you to be the parent, and He will enable you to parent that child if you will do it. And there is help out there. You can get in touch with us. We've got friends around the world who can help. And there is help. There are people who are desperate to help you if you need help in any specific regard. Where there is life there is hope. And so we encourage you to be courageous.
J. John \\ Where there is life there is hope. You just hinted at some of the health issues that could develop as a consequence of aborting a baby. What are those?
Dave \\ Well, some of them are contested. Obviously there's correlation, there's causation, and there's debate over plenty of it. But some things are really quite clear. So, for example, one thing that I don't think is even really contested is that if you have an abortion your next pregnancy is far more likely to end with a premature delivery. We’re talking significant increase of risk. And if you have several abortions you're even more likely in your next pregnancy, and of course a premature delivery comes with all sorts of dangers, complications, costs, and emotional turmoil. And so that's one significant risk. If you look on the NHS website, even there they will admit that one in 10 abortions encounter complications. That's quite a high number. When you think about any kind of surgery in the UK you're meant to sign off the risks, and sometimes it's one in 10,000, these are tiny risks. With abortion there’s a significant risk.
J. John \\ With taking those tablets there are huge risks, aren’t there? And the mother, during lockdown, would be in her bathroom in agony.
Dave \\ It's very dangerous. There’s danger of haemorrhaging. There was a leaked email from an NHS worker which showed that two women have already died during lockdown in these at-home abortions. This is back to the backstreets, these DIY at-home abortions. There's no medical attention and in fact here in the UK the abortion industry will send you those pills without even examining you. You might not even be pregnant or you might be 24 weeks pregnant, you might be 30 weeks pregnant - way too late for the use of those pills.
J. John \\ They're advised to use up to 12 weeks, but some women use them after?
Dave \\ Well, there was a kind of secret shopper-type campaign that happened recently and the abortion industry was was caught granting abortion pills to people for any reason, but also at any stage of pregnancy, because of course they can't check that you're actually pregnant or how pregnant you are. So, there's nothing to stop a woman saying, “I'm 12 weeks pregnant,” when she knows that she's 16 weeks. She’ll get those pills. She may even believe that she's 12 weeks, but it's notoriously difficult to be sure, and that's why there's a medical examination - to make sure. But not now during lockdown. They'll just send the pills out to anyone and it's dangerous. Obviously it's always dangerous for the unborn child - there’s no such thing as a safe abortion. But now it's really dangerous for the women as well.
J. John \\ Is there an encouragement for couples, or women who are expecting a baby that don’t want the baby, to encourage them to give it up for adoption?
Dave \\ Absolutely. I'm no expert, but friends of mine say that during pregnancy it's actually important to encourage people, “You can be the parent.” But of course there's also adoption there. A friend of mine explained that if you talk about adoption too early on in the pregnancy it can actually encourage a sort of separation of bonding. So, that was his advice. But there's a real myth that there aren't enough people out there to adopt. What are we going do with all these babies? There are lots of people! I've got a friend who took about two years to adopt. They've been waiting and waiting. And, you know, there are very long waiting lists in this country of people are desperate to adopt and they can't. And you know why they can't adopt? Because these babies are not surviving the womb, almost 100%, to the nearest percentage, 100% of unwanted babies are killed and 0% escape alive for adoption. We just don't really have a culture of adoption in this country, because there are people queuing up to adopt, but it's very rare for a baby to be voluntarily relinquished at birth for adoption. Realistically the two options given by the doctor and by our culture is abortion or have the baby and keep it. But adoption is a wonderful gift to give that child the gift of life, and the gift of a family that is going to love that child so much. It's a wonderful thing, it's a courageous thing and I think it's an admirable decision for anyone to make.
J. John \\ Is there any research, Dave, on Christians having abortions?
Dave \\ It's a very interesting question. As a team we've just been talking about this. Now, in the States, for example, yes. So, in the States, there's something called the Guttmacher Institute, and they've done quite comprehensive research and one study showed that of those who’d had an abortion, one in eight of those identified as born-again Christians in the States. And that when you put all the figures together what that all shows you is evangelicals in the US aren't as likely to have an abortion as the population at large, but they're still pretty likely to have an abortion. We don't have that data here in the UK and that's something we're looking to try and get. We're looking to try and find out what is the abortion rate in the church shortly.
J. John \\ Because, really, for someone like you, in many ways you're a prophetic voice for a time such as this and you're speaking to the world. The world doesn't often listen, but that doesn't mean you don't keep speaking, but then we've got the church where we have a great influence. What would you want to say to the church and church leaders for time such as this?
Dave \\ Well it's very easy, once the time such as this has passed, it's very easy to look back and say what we should have done. And we look back at for example the German church and the rise the Nazi Party and everything that happened there and it's very easy to say, “Oh, you know, we wouldn't have been like that. We'd have been like Bonhoeffer. We'd have stood up and spoken out for life. But we're in exactly the same position today. There’s a holocaust raging on our watch. And the question is, how are we responding? I think of Esther. In Esther chapter four - she was uniquely placed by God in a position of influence for that time. But she had to make a decision. It wasn't automatic. She had to take her life in her hands, go before the king and advocate for the lives of her Jewish nation. And we're at this moment in time - it's not going to be repeated - and the unborn child is our neighbour. This is what we need to understand. This is not just some issue. It's not some political debate. These are real people facing an awful plight. They can't speak for themselves. And it's not an optional thing. Psalm 31:8 says, “Be a voice for the voiceless.” It's not a suggestion, it's a command. Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan lifts up the Samaritan as the example of what love looks like. Yes, love is risky, it takes action, it pays the price, and of course at the cross Jesus shows us the ultimate example. And so as the church we've got to see the unborn child as God sees them and we’ve got to act in the way that God would have us act. Because this greatly upsets God. This grieves His heart. Each individual child, made in His image, violently killed. He's not happy with this, and yet somehow many of us just seem to tolerate it and it doesn't seem to touch our hearts in the way it touches His heart. So we've got to stand up and share God's heart for this.
J. John \\ And speak about, and not be afraid to teach about it.
Dave \\ Here in the UK at least, precious few churches really teach on this. And so I’ve grown up in church all my life, got many Christian friends. If I ask people, “Have you ever heard a sermon on abortion?” Almost no one has. And so what that means, of course, is we're being taught by the BBC and Hollywood and The Guardian what to think about abortion. But the Bible is not silent on this and God has a lot to say on it, and we need to take it as seriously as he takes it.
J. John \\ Your website, Dave, to get more information and resources?
Dave \\ So, I'll give you two if that's all right. So, the work that I'm most involved with, brephos.org is helping churches to respond to abortion, and that's really a resource to the church to teach about abortion, and to take action and really to see it as God sees it short. That's especially for church leaders, especially resources for church leaders to use. We really want to help you to teach about abortion. It’s got to start with teaching, because if we don't know what we're up against, how are we going to respond? The other website I'd like to point you towards, Brephos is part of this, is cbruk.org and that's all about mobilising ordinary people, training them up, to become advocates for life. We've got apologetics training, you can get educated on the facts, you can join one of our voluntary teams, and we're all about bringing the lessons from the history of social reform. How do they do it in the past? How did we overturn the transatlantic slave trade? How did we tackle child labour? And how did the civil rights movement prevail? There are principles that we can learn from, we can apply today and CBR UK is all about training people up to expose this injustice, and our mantra is: we don't need to protest abortion. We just need to expose it and it protests itself. So people can come and be part of that movement to see an end to abortion, and that's what we’re believing in, in our lifetime.
J. John \\ What a challenge we've heard today. Let's pray, let's get educated, let's do what we can for a time such as this. Save the lives of people, babies. In the name of Jesus.