We must never stop fighting abortion
5 January 2022
by John Smeaton
Something happened ten years ago which, in one simple incident, made it clear to me why God had called me to the work of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). And I hope that this incident will explain to everyone reading this article today why we must never stop fighting abortion.
It was my privilege to work for SPUC for 47 years, first as a volunteer, then as general secretary, and finally as chief executive. I retired at the end of August 2021.
In 2012, a new abortion clinic was opened by Marie Stopes International (MSI) in Preston, in the North of England. SPUC’s local branch had invited me to speak at a public meeting to draw attention to the true nature and business practice of MSI; an organization whose brutal attitude to both unborn children and their mothers has since been well documented by Obianuju Ekeocha, the leader of Culture of Life Africa.
Half an hour before the meeting started, I was standing alone in St Augustine’s Leisure Centre, the big sports hall in which it was due to be held. A gentleman arrived, around my age, who walked over to me. He handed me an envelope, with my name on one side and “THANK YOU” written in block capitals on the back. He said he wasn’t able to attend the meeting that evening, but he wanted to deliver his message personally. He wished me well and left.
I opened the envelope. Inside was a donation and the following words written on to a page torn from a diary which was dated 20th February. It read:
Your first smile … I will never see
Your first words … I will never hear
My strong hands will never stretch out
To guide your unsteady steps
No whispered lullabies to a sleepy head
I will never wait at a school yard gate
Or watch with pride a nativity play
No school photographs on my mantelpiece
No first communion dress for me to buy
What would you have been like?
Pretty or plain? … Clever or slow?
It doesn’t matter … You were mine.
When you died you were not tenderly laid in a snow-white coffin
No family or friends were gathered
To say goodbye
A man in a mask
Was your only companion
A plastic bucket
Was your resting place
Your only headstone
No-one remembers you
But I do
No-one misses you
But I do.
I don’t know anything about the gentleman who honoured me with a brief greeting at St Augustine’s Leisure Centre Sports Hall in Preston ten years ago, nor anything about the history of the beautiful and deeply moving poem he gave me. I simply pray for everyone whose personal history may be reflected in the lines above.
The message from my anonymous visitor is not just for me. It is for everyone engaged in the pro-life battle and for those of a time to come, when programmes of state-sanctioned murder, now enforced in almost every country of the globe, will be no more. We must never stop fighting abortion.