By Dr. Tony Garland
Q. Besides the Ten Commandments, where in the Bible can I find God's word on abortion? He has been dealing with me to spread the word that abortion is wrong. I need to find more Scripture about this. I have the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible and just love it. It has helped me greatly.
A. God's Word is very clear on the issue of abortion: it is murder, plain and simple.
Perhaps the single most important passage on the topic can be found in Exodus:
If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman's husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine]. But if [any] harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Exodus 21:22-25, emphasis mine).
God mandated that if a pregnant woman is hurt in such a way that she gives birth prematurely, and if the woman or her child perish, then the death penalty is imposed on the offending party.
Unlike other passages which recognize a difference between premeditated murder and accidental manslaughter (Deu. 4:42), the motivation of the guilty party does not enter the picture here. Whether purposeful or accidental, the party who injures the mother or child suffers equal retribution. If the mother or child dies, the offending party is put to death. This underscores the high value which God places on the lives of both the mother and her fetus who is considered fully human.
The welfare of a pregnant woman was protected by this law so that unintentional maltreatment constituted culpable negligence. Significantly for the abortion debate, the fetus was considered a person; thus, someone was held accountable for its death or injury.—John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible
While unintentional life-taking was usually not a capital offense (cf. vv. 12-13), here it clearly was. Also the unborn fetus is viewed in this passage as just as much a human being as its mother; the abortion of a fetus was considered murder.—John D. Hannah, The Bible Knowledge Commentary - Old Testament
The legalization of abortion in the United States marked a significant shift from our Biblical foundation toward Paganism, with its recognized disregard for the unborn:
These verses are clear and bold protection of the rights of unborn children. They strongly affirm that to interfere with intrauterine life was a crime, the value of the fetus's life being equal to that of the mother. This position is in contrast to that of many pagan nations.—Holy Bible - Baptist Study Edition (NKJV)
Many other passages establish beyond any doubt that life begins in the womb, far in advance of birth: Job 10:11; Job 31:15; Ps 139:13; Ec 11:5; Jer 1:5; Luke 1:15; Luke 1:41-45.
Of particular interest are the cases of John the Baptist and Jesus. Concerning John the Baptist, Scripture records:
For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb (Luke 1:15).
And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41).
Note that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb—even reacting to the greeting of Mary, the mother of Jesus. John could hardly be considered 'fetal tissue.'
Notice too Elizabeth's statement to Mary, pregnant with Jesus:
Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed [are] you among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of your womb! But why [is] this [granted] to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy' (Luke 1:42-44).
Elizabeth calls Mary's fetus 'my Lord' and remarks concerning the joy experienced by John the Baptist, still a fetus within her womb. One shudders to imagine how history would have been different if either of these women had been 'pro-choice' and terminated their pregnancies (Of course, in the providence of God, this would have been impossible. Still, it is horrific to consider the implications from a human perspective.)
When the dust of history settles, abortion will come to be seen for what it is: one of the most barbaric horrors of complacency in history—easily surpassing events such as the Holocaust in sheer magnitude of the number of those killed.
More than 42 million unborn babies have lost their lives [in the USA] since the United States Supreme Court decided on January 22, 1973, that women have a constitutionally protected right to have an abortion. According to the 2000 census, this number equals the current population of 19 different states... The number 42 million also equals the combined populations of California and Georgia... On a daily basis, abortion takes more lives than were lost in the September 11th tragedy. On average, 3,836 pre-born babies have been routinely eliminated every day for thirty years. Since 1973, unwanted pre-born babies have had their lives ended at an average rate of 2.5 per minute, 160 an hour, and 1,400,000 a year!—The Legal Alert, Christian Law Association, January 2003, p. 2. [http://www.christianlaw.org/cla/], (emphasis mine)
It is difficult to imagine a more helpless victim than a fetus in the womb.
Restoration and Grace
Any discussion of abortion from a Christian perspective would be lacking without also recognizing the healing grace of God. God stands ready to receive all who repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus to be washed clean (Isa. 1:18; 1 Jn. 1:9). We need only consider two of the most prominent men of God in Scripture: Moses and David—both guilty of murder (Ex. 2:12; 2 Sam. 11:15-21)—to see that complete forgiveness for heinous crimes is available to those who avail themselves of the mercy of God (John 3:16).
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, [And] my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness (King David, Psalms 51:14).
Those who have suffered through the trauma of abortion can be renewed and made new. There is no crime beyond the reach of the forgiveness of Jesus and the cleansing power of His blood. Praise God for this priceless truth of restoration and grace!
Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do' (Luke 23:34a).
- Guest on Rachel Maddow Show Describes Abortions as Termination Services • LifeNews.com
- New Barna Study Explores Current Views on Abortion • Barna Group
- What does the Bible say about abortion? • GotQuestions.org
- Senator Lindsey Graham: Jesus’s ‘Golden Rule’ Inspired His Vote for Pro-Abortion Kagan • CNS News