"I’ve had the privilege of being able to operate on little babies that were 25, 26, 27, 28 weeks’ gestation, and I can guarantee you they can feel. They can react. You have to give them anesthesia if you’re going to cut them, believe me. But they can also respond to comfort and to warmth. And for somebody to say that’s a meaningless bunch of cells, honestly, is just totally ignorant.” - Dr Ben Carson

What really goes on behind the closed doors and nondescript walls of abortion clinics around our nation?

Dr Anthony Levatino is a practising Obstetrician-Gynaecologist who performed over 1,200 abortions.

Online videos show him, in a most dispassionate, matter-of-fact way, describing the procedure he once performed as a matter of routine.

Producing a “sopher clamp” – a metal grasping instrument with sharp teeth on the end – he explains the process of inserting the clamp through a woman’s cervix and grabbing – hard – then pulling. Out comes a limb. Probably a little leg. Back in again – out comes a little arm. The process continues.

The final act is the crushing of the baby’s skull – it’s about the size of a plum. One knows they have done it right when the baby’s brains flow out as a white fluid.

Then comes the audit. The abortionist counts the little body parts to ensure a whole baby has been removed. Dr Levatino says he would often look down at the carnage to see “a little face staring back at me.”

Dr Carson – and research – indicates the child can have some awareness of what’s going on.

The raw and vile reality of abortion is one of the most covered-up truths of our time. People are lied to with benign words such as “choice,” “foetus,” “healthcare,” “equality,” and “rights.”

Words that are in no way true to the reality they hide.

Words that are shouted with a vehemence that is disproportionately angrier than their mild-mannered appearance.

Why?

Guilt.

A complex cocktail of pain, regret, a seared conscience, an incessant sense of condemnation, grief, and the pretence that none of it is real.

A whole ideology, built on the wobbly pillars of “rights,” “equality,” and “healthcare” has grown like a great cancer around something that is actually very simple.

It has become so enlarged that the thing that caused it has become almost invisible.

Like a sickness with complex and multi-faceted symptoms, the true cause can be very hard to spot.

But make no mistake – it’s there. The guilt has not gone away.

The pro-life group, Live Action, amassed quotes from post-abortive women. Hear their voices:

“I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, thinking I hear a baby crying… I simply miss my baby. I constantly wake up wanting to nurse my child, wanting to hold my child. And that’s something the doctor never told me I would experience.” – Lori

“Every night my sweet boy prays to God for a sibling and every time I hear those precious prayers my heart aches over what I did.” – Ashley

“I killed two of my children, robbed my parents of grand-children, and murdered my son’s siblings. These abortions directly caused a medical condition known as incompetent cervix which resulted in the premature birth of another son who died after a week-long struggle in the NICU in 2001. The suffering I’ve endured and caused others is immeasurable and the guilt almost drove me suicidal. I am a coward in every way.” – Katrina

These (and the many other quotes Live Action collected) are from women in pain.

But the pain doesn’t always come out this way.

One woman speaks of walking out of the procedure and being keen to get back to work. But she was nagged by something… so she did what most do. She “buried it.”

That is a far more “normal” response.

People don’t buckle under the weight of their own wrongdoing easily – especially in a generation where we believe that we are anything but wrong.

But what has been buried does not stay buried.

We cannot control our circumstances enough to ensure we don’t encounter something which triggers a memory or a feeling.

And in the circles in which I move, that feeling is normally anger.

That anger plucks a hasty excuse from anywhere to defend the thing it has buried. If it’s directed at a man, then he has no right to speak because he’s not a woman. If it’s directed at a woman, then it’s MY body and MY choice. If it’s directed academically, it’s a theory of women’s liberation and reproductive health. If it’s directed politically, then it’s legislation which declares the dreadful thing I have done to be true and right.

We see this on every hand, because it’s not as if abortion is rare.

One in four Australian women will have an abortion in their lifetime.

One quarter of all pregnancies in Australia are terminated.

Roughly 80,000 – 100,000 abortions happen in Australia every year.

That’s something like 250 per day.

Globally, there are something like 56 Million abortions every year. It is the leading cause of death worldwide.

It may be popular, accessible, socially accepted, clothed in smooth language, and justified by an entire ideology, but the human conscience cannot totally ignore something this grave.

To understand how grave, we must understand life and death.

God is the author life, gives life, sustains life, and is intimately interested in lives. Scripture tells us that he specifically, and wonderfully makes human beings, knitting us together even from our mother’s womb.

Even then he “knew” us.

John opens his gospel by declaring that, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

Just as He authors biological life (Bios, in the Greek), so He frees us from the manifold bondages of spiritual death in salvation, by raising us to eternal life – (Zoe, in the Greek).

I find it so instructive that the supreme blessing of God is described as eternal life.

Life punctuates everything about God, His person, and His blessing. In fact, He is life.

Life is God’s miracle. It is the hand of God which makes it. It is the power of God which sustains it. It is the love of God which redeems it from death.

And so, we see the great contrast.

There is one who is the killer. He is responsible for the dual realities of spiritual and physical death – imposters in God’s world. The fitting name of the place where he is imprisoned is hades; the place of the dead.

The taking of a human life is so serious because that life is itself somehow connected to the image of God. That is the implication of Genesis 9:6, which prescribes capital punishment for murder, “for God made man in His own image.”

Small wonder, then, that the issue of abortion is so multi-layered in its darkness.

It is a killer. It does ruin lives. It does create incalculable pain and chaos in every corner of its influence.

Abortion is the devil’s tool – it complies perfectly with his nature, to “steal, kill, and destroy.”

No society can brazenly promote this darkness without consequence.

No person – man or woman – can come away from this darkness unscathed.

That scathing, it seems to me, is often the buried guilt of which I’ve spoken.

This whole issue has left me wanting to say something that I cannot say in policy arguments; something that won’t feature in legislation, or most public debate.

It is this: guilt does not need to be buried.

Because God loves to forgive and to restore.

If you doubt me, look only to Christ, who willingly and deliberately suffered the cross so that He could do just that…

…So that He could forgive and heal the guilty.

It is a lesson for us all, that guilt should drive us to Christ, not away from Him, for He loves to forgive. In fact, he so loves that He forgives.

He is the one who said, “…whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

And what does He have for those who come in repentance? Yes, forgiveness. But more than that… In light of all that’s been said I love to describe it as Jesus did: life.

To any who need to hear it: He waits to release you from condemnation, if you will only be driven to Him, and not away from Him.

Let us campaign against abortion. But let us also hold high the unfathomable mercy of Christ to any (male or female) who are labouring under its guilt.