Abortion - What does the Bible have to say?

The Bible does not directly address abortion, but it does speak directly regarding God's view of human life, including life within the womb. From these references we can develop a clear Christian worldview regarding the modern issue of abortion.

The Bible says humans are made in the image of God: "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.' . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:26-27). All human life is considered sacred and created by God.

During the time of Moses, God gave laws for how Israel was to be governed. Some of those laws specified penalties for different crimes. In Exodus 21:22-25, the penalty for causing the death of an unborn child was "life for life." In other words, God saw killing a child in the womb as murder. These verses support the view that preborn infants are humans equal in importance to other people.

Psalm 139:13-16 is a poetic description of life in the womb: "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Here again, life in the womb is described as God's creation and therefore of tremendous worth.

In Jeremiah 1:5 God says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Even before Jeremiah's birth, God had formed the prophet on purpose, for a purpose.

Life in the womb is also affirmed in the story of Jesus' nativity. Mary the mother of Jesus traveled to visit her relative Elizabeth, who was also pregnant. "When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, 'Blessed are you among women! . . . Behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy'" (Luke 1:41-44). The Greek word translated "baby" in reference to the child inside Elizabeth's womb is the same word used for an infant outside of the womb. The preborn Jesus is also referred to as a "baby," a living human being. This is more than an emotional outburst from Elizabeth; she was "filled with the Holy Spirit" when she made the statement.

The consensus of Scripture is that a baby in the womb is a unique human life. Therefore, children in the womb should be respected and protected. The Bible has much to say about defending the cause of the weak, especially those who have no voice. "Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute" (Proverbs 31:8; see also Psalm 82:3). We bear the responsibility to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, including children in the womb.

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