Taking Direction from William Wilberforce

Oregon Right to Life

We have so many examples of wonderful pro-life advocates. This issue, I would like to reach back in history and remind you of one: William Wilberforce (1759-1833). He was a politician and a leader of the British abolition movement. The man was motivated by a desire to put his Christian principles into action and serve God in public. 

Wilberforce spent much of his public life campaigning against the slave trade in the British empire. The parallels between the abolitionist movement against slavery and the modern pro-life movement are astonishing, but it will have to wait for another column to discuss. 

Wilberforce inspires me as a pro-life advocate to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, whether that is the unborn child violently taken from their mother’s womb and killed or a discouraged individual seeking out assisted suicide or euthanasia. We need to come alongside the mother in an unsupported pregnancy and offer a better way to solve her problems than killing her child. Instead, we must provide help to those who are despondent so that they don’t think death is the only option for relief from their pain. 

Wilberforce said, “It is the true duty of every man to promote the happiness of his fellow creatures to the utmost of his power.” Providing help to an abortion-minded woman or to the grandmother considering assisted suicide because she does not want to be a burden for her loved ones is an excellent way to advocate for life. 

Once you learn the truth about abortion and assisted suicide, you can never just walk away. In speaking against slavery, Wilberforce said, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” Justice requires us to speak out and advocate for those in danger of subjecting themselves to the “tender mercies” of abortion and assisted suicide-minded healthcare providers. Destroying life does not provide solutions to problems; it only provides dead bodies and traumatic grief.

If you would like to learn more about William Wilberforce, I recommend the 2006 movie Amazing Grace. It is an excellent introduction to an inspiring Christian man who lived his pro-life principles.

Go and do likewise. 

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