Birth and Death

The Bible and Abortion

The Bible says very little about abortion because it was not as common as today.  Girls were often married very young and did not have careers.  Abortion was not a safe medical procedure.  There were no tests for any health problems for the mother or the foetus.  The Bible does not use the word “abortion” or deal with the issues directly, but Christians use Bible passages both for and against abortion.

Bible quotes used to argue AGAINST abortion

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”  Jeremiah 1:5


God has a plan for every human being even before they are born  Also:

Before I was born, the LORD chose me and appointed me to be his servant.     Isaiah 49:1

 “You saw me before I was born”  Psalm 139:16.  

“God… chose me even before I was born”  Galatians 1:15

These help support the idea that life begins at conception or, at the very least, that the foetus is a person.

Once Christians establish that the foetus is a human being, the sanctity of life teachings all apply:

“In the image of God” Genesis 1:26 

“Do not kill” – Exodus 20:13

”You yourselves are God's temple” - 1 Corinthians 3:16

Bible quotes used to argue FOR abortion

Surprisingly. the Old Testament supports the idea that a human life is not as valuable before birth. 

God made Adam, and then “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” Genesis 2:7

This suggests that we are not human until we breathe (i.e. we are born).  However, more convincing arguments come from examples of how foetuses are treated in the Bible:

“If some men are fighting and hurt a pregnant woman so that she loses her child, but she is not injured in any other way, the one who hurt her is to be fined whatever amount the woman’s husband demands and the court allows.  But if the woman herself is injured, the punishment shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”   Exodus 21:22-25

This suggests that causing the death of an unborn child is not as serious as killing someone who is already born.  Also in Genesis 38:24  Tamar is ordered to be burnt to death because she committed adultery and became pregnant.  Although her life is spared, this has nothing to do with the twin foetuses she carried which seem to be given no value or consideration.

“If a man does not get his share of happiness… then I say a baby born dead is better off.  It does that baby no good to be born... It never sees the light of day or knows what life is like, but at least it has found rest.”          Ecclesiastes 6:3-5

“But better off are those who have never been born, who have never seen the injustice that goes on in the world.”  Ecclesiastes 4:3

These can be used to show that abortion is better than being born into a life of suffering, e.g. unwanted babies.

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