Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of the embryo or fetus before it becomes viable. An abortion that occurs without intervention is known as a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. When deliberate steps are taken to end a pregnancy before the age of viability, it is called an induced abortion. The unmodified word “abortion” generally refers to an induced abortion (www.wikipedia.org). This article is concerned about the way the Bible views induced abortions.
Induced abortion is a very sensitive wedge issue that is causing a huge rift between conservative and liberal Christians. Conservatives believe induced abortion amounts to murder, since according to them, life begins at conception. Liberals place the rights of the woman above those of the unborn baby, and make her choice to abort or not, a personal decision which should not be interfered with. There’s thus an ever-widening chasm between the pro-life and pro-choice groups, even among Christians.
Whichever side of the divide one belongs to, the statistics concerning abortion are gut-wrenching. Data from the World Health Organisation reveal that worldwide, from 2010 to 2014, some 56 million abortions were performed annually. This translates to about 150,000 abortions performed every day, averaging about two children killed in the womb every second! This is alarming enough, even if you’re pro-choice! With more countries and regions legalising abortion and making data on the issue available, the statistics quoted above can only be expected to increase dramatically.
What does the Bible say about induced abortion? How does God view abortion? In this expository study, we shall attempt to examine abortion in the light of the Scripture, in order to find God’s perspective on the issue, so that Christians can be properly guided in their belief and practice.
The Bible consistently refers to a pregnant woman as “someone carrying a child” or “someone with a child”. God recognises the baby in the womb of a woman as a person with known sex or gender, as well as someone with a divine mission and purpose in life. God has, on a number of occasions, called babies in the womb by their names, to demonstrate their personhood!
Genesis 16:11 The angel of the Lord said to her further, “behold, you are with child, and you will bear a son; and you shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has given heed to your affliction.
Genesis 16:12 “He will be a wild donkey of a man, his hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; and he will live to the east of all his brothers.” NASB.
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
Matthew 1:20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (NIV).
God sees babies in the womb as people and nations, the same way he sees people and nations outside the womb. God sees fetuses as full people with all the potentials and destinies other people outside the womb have and are entitled to.
Genesis 25:21 And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
Genesis 25:22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, If it is thus, why is this happening to me? So she went to inquire of the LORD.
Genesis 25:23 And the LORD said to her, Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger (ESV).
God designs purposes and missions for people while they are still in the womb. He assigns roles and responsibilities to people when they are yet unborn! Every one of us came out of the womb with our life purposes already assigned to us right from the womb!
Jeremiah 1:4 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Jeremiah 1:5 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 (ESV).
Galatians 1:15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,
Galatians 1:16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone (ESV).
A baby in the womb can receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit exactly as adults outside the womb do, and they can leap for joy and show other range of emotions like people outside the womb!
Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
Luke 1:14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,
Luke 1:15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb (ESV).
Luke 1:39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah,
Luke 1:40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
Luke 1:41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,
Luke 1:42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
Luke 1:43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Luke 1:44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy (ESV).
God forms and delicately fashions the parts of every baby in the womb, as the creator, and sees and knows what happens to every baby growing in the womb, just like he knows our deepest and most intimate secrets. God has programmed everyone’s full lifespan in our genetic material, as well as our mission and purpose on earth. However, our lifespan can be cut short by our actions and those of others, and our destinies can be derailed. Don’t abort God’s design or seek to truncate God’s work through abortion!
Psalms 139:13 You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother.
Psalms 139:14 I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.
Psalms 139:15 My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop.
Psalms 139:16 Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus. Every day of my life was recorded in your book before one of them had taken place (GodsWord).
God’s love and affection extend to babies in the womb. The same way God shows affection to people outside the womb is the same way he loves people inside the womb. To God, there is no difference between a person in the womb and one outside the womb.
Romans 9:8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
Romans 9:9 For this is what the promise said: About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son.
Romans 9:10 And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,
Romans 9:11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call—
Romans 9:12 she was told, The older will serve the younger.
Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated (ESV).
Because of the value God places on the life of a person in the womb, even accidentally doing anything that harms a baby in the womb, leading to his/her death, attracts serious sanctions and penalties. In the Torah, accidentally inducing the death of a baby in the womb (accidentally induced abortion) was a punishable offence, to reflect the value placed by God on human life everywhere, in or out of the womb!
Exodus 21:22 When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine (NRSV).
Accidentally inducing abortion, akin to manslaughter, was a punishable offence in God’s reckoning, as recorded in the Torah. If God authorised the punishing of those that accidentally induced abortion in pregnant women, then, what do you think he will do to those who deliberately and pre-meditatively kill innocent children in the womb? Such will face the same penalty for first-degree murder, for they have cold-bloodedly shed innocent blood. Abortion is literally shedding blood, for a woman who aborts conspires to kill a baby in her womb, and then expels the remains, with bleeding from the ruptured heart and blood vessels of the mutilated child!
Genesis 9:5 For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.
Genesis 9:6 Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind (NRSV).
Children are considered by the Bible as man’s inheritance from God, and the fruit of the womb as God’s reward and blessing. To terminate such lives prematurely while in the womb is not only rejecting God’s reward and blessing, it’s also opposing and resisting God!
Psalms 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Psalms 127:4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Psalms 127:5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate (ESV).
To suffer the spontaneous loss of a baby in the womb is a tragic event that brings great sorrow to normal parents. Such misfortune were sometimes attributed to curses incurred as a result of rebellion against God. Why then will a parent deliberately induce the death of a baby and place themselves in the same shoes as those that are deprived of divine blessings?
Exodus 23:25 You shall serve the LORD your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you.
Exodus 23:26 None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days (ESV).
Hosea 9:12 Even if they bring up children, I will bereave them until no one is left. Woe to them indeed when I depart from them!
Hosea 9:13 Once I saw Ephraim as a young palm planted in a lovely meadow, but now Ephraim must lead out his children for slaughter.
Hosea 9:14 Give them, O Lord—what will you give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts (NRSV).
To show God’s care and concern for the well-being of children in the womb, pregnant women were admonished in the Bible to abstain from things that could jeopardise the lives of their unborn children. Samson’s mother, for instance, was given specific instructions by an angel to avoid alcohol and certain foods during the antenatal period, to prevent any harm to her baby, and to ensure the delivery of a healthy child! God cares the same way for every child in the womb!
Judges 13:2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children.
Judges 13:3 And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.
Judges 13:4 Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean,
Judges 13:5 for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines (ESV).
The deliberate killing of babies in the wombs of women was seen in Bible days as the height of brutish wickedness! Only the most hard-hearted brute beasts would attempt such cold-blooded acts of cruelty. That was what a heathen confessed when told he would soon be ripping off babies from the wombs of women in Israel! Only a ferocious rabid dog would tear a baby out of a pregnant woman in cold blood and not feel anything!
2 Kings 8:10 And Elisha said to him, Go, say to him, You may certainly recover: however, the LORD has showed me that he shall surely die.
2 Kings 8:11 And he settled his countenance steadfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept.
2 Kings 8:12 And Hazael said, Why weeps my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel: their strong holds will you set on fire, and their young men will you slay with the sword, and will dash their children, and rip up their women with child.
2 Kings 8:13 And Hazael said, But what, is your servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD has showed me that you shall be king over Syria (AKJV).
In the Bible, even harlots, who may not have known the fathers of their babies with certainty, had enough motherly love to preserve the lives of their babies, and enough compassion to be heartbroken by the death of a child they had carried for nine months in the womb! If anyone has a reason to consider a pregnancy unwanted and seek to terminate it, it should be a prostitute who would be put out of business for long by an unintended pregnancy. But, even harlots kept their pregnancies and cared for their babies! A true mother is recognised by her sacrificial love and compassion for her child, both in and out of the womb!
1 Kings 3:16 Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.
1 Kings 3:17 The one woman said, Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house.
1 Kings 3:18 Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house.
1 Kings 3:19 And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him.
1 Kings 3:20 And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast.
1 Kings 3:21 When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.
1 Kings 3:22 But the other woman said, No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours. The first said, No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine. Thus they spoke before the king.
1 Kings 3:23 Then the king said, The one says, This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead; and the other says, No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.
1 Kings 3:24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. So a sword was brought before the king.
1 Kings 3:25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.
1 Kings 3:26 Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death. But the other said, He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.
1 Kings 3:27 Then the king answered and said, Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother (ESV).
Jephthah was the son of a prostitute. He was conceived and given birth to by a harlot, yet he grew up to be a judge in Israel and a victorious commander of the Lord’s Army. A pregnancy may not have the best circumstances surrounding it, or it may not even be desired. Yet, God could use the product of that pregnancy in outstanding ways. God has a purpose and a mission for every child conceived, whatever the circumstances of their conception!
Judges 11:1 Now Jephthah of Gilead was a great warrior. He was the son of Gilead, but his mother was a prostitute.
Judges 11:2 Gilead’s wife also had several sons, and when these half brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land. “You will not get any of our father’s inheritance,” they said, “for you are the son of a prostitute.”
Judges 11:3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Soon he had a large band of rebels following him.
Judges 11:4 At about this time, the Ammonites began their war against Israel.
Judges 11:5 When the Ammonites attacked, the leaders of Gilead sent for Jephthah in the land of Tob. They said,
Judges 11:6 “Come and be our commander! Help us fight the Ammonites!” (NLT).
Some people have justified abortion for pregnancies resulting from certain cases like rape and incest. As evil and as traumatic as those experiences are, we should be careful not to punish the wrong people in such circumstances. The guilty person in the case of rape or incest is the rapist and sexual abuser, not the innocent child that may result from such intercourse. To kill an innocent child resulting from the encounter is a great travesty of justice. In cases where people see the innocent babies from such traumatic encounters as perpetual reminders of their harrowing experience, the babies can be given up for adoption after birth, rather than being summarily executed in the womb. Whatever the situation, the child conceived from such an encounter is an innocent person, and not the culprit who deserves to be severely punished! Innocent children should not be made to pay for the sins of their fathers!
Ezekiel 18:1The word of the Lord came to me:
Ezekiel 18:2 “What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel:
The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?
Ezekiel 18:3 As I live”—this is the declaration of the Lord God—“you will no longer use this proverb in Israel.
Ezekiel 18:4 Look, every life belongs to Me. The life of the father is like the life of the son—both belong to Me. The person who sins is the one who will die.
Ezekiel 18:20 The person who sins is the one who will die. A son won’t suffer punishment for the father’s iniquity, and a father won’t suffer punishment for the son’s iniquity. The righteousness of the righteous person will be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked person will be on him (HCSB).
All lives come from God, and all lives are precious and matter to him, no matter how they’re conceived. Only God has the right to take a life or authorise it to be lawfully taken. A child conceived from rape or incest has a mission and a destiny to fulfill, and no human being has the right to abort that life and that destiny! The sons of Lot, Ammon and Moab, were conceived from incestuous rape, but God blessed and prospered them and gave them a great heritage.
Genesis 19:30 Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters.
Genesis 19:31 And the firstborn said to the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth.
Genesis 19:32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.
Genesis 19:33 So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
Genesis 19:34 The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.
Genesis 19:35 So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
Genesis 19:36 Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father.
Genesis 19:37 The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day.
Genesis 19:38 The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day (ESV).
Also, we see Tamar playing the harlot to conceive incestuously and sire children for her father-in-law. God blessed the children, despite the harlotry and incest involved in their conception, and one of them became the ancestor of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We may mess things up, but God can take our mess and make something really great out of them! Who would have believed that Tamar’s harlotry and incest with her father-in-law could produce offsprings that would become the ancestors of the Messiah? Surely, God’s ways are not our ways and he does work in mysterious ways!
Genesis 38:24 And about three months later it was told to Judah, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the whore, and now, behold, she has conceived by prostitution.” And Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned.”
Genesis 38:25 She was brought out, but she sent to her father-in-law saying, “By the man to whom these belong I have conceived.” And she said, “Now discern to whom these belong: the seal and cord and the staff.”
Genesis 38:26 Then Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.
Genesis 38:27 And it happened that at the time she gave birth that, behold, twins were in her womb.
Genesis 38:28 And it happened that at her labor one child put out a hand. And the midwife took it and tied a crimson thread on his hand saying, “This one came out first.”
Genesis 38:29 Then his hand drew back and, behold, his brother came out, and she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” And she called his name Perez.
Genesis 38:30 And afterward his brother who had the crimson thread on his hand came out. And his name was called Zerah (LEB).
Another common reason given by women and their doctors for killing their unborn children is the issue of congenital malformations in the babies. Some parents consider certain deformities of their children in the womb as sufficient reason to kill the children. Parents who would not normally kill a child that’s deformed after birth won’t think twice to kill the same child if he or she is deformed before birth. Is disability a justifiable reason to kill anyone? The Bible does not agree with that. We have records of people who were born with various disabilities in the Bible. Scripture never blamed the sufferers for their disabilities, but saw it as a means through which God could get glory out of those lives, through his miraculous intervention later!
St. John 9:1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.
St. John 9:2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
St. John 9:3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
St. John 9:4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
St. John 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
St. John 9:6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.
St. John 9:7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing (NIV).
The Acts 3:1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer —at three in the afternoon.
The Acts 3:2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.
The Acts 3:3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.
The Acts 3:4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!”
The Acts 3:5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
The Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
The Acts 3:7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.
The Acts 3:8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
The Acts 3:10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him (NIV).
The Acts 14:8 In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked.
The Acts 14:9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed
The Acts 14:10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk (NIV).
God has the power to correct and heal any disability a child is born with, even those currently beyond the knowledge of medical science. He may allow a child to be born with a disability, but he can turn that disability around for his glory, and use the condition to magnify himself. That’s what the Scripture teaches.
Exodus 4:10 Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
Exodus 4:11 The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
Exodus 4:12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (NIV).
Finally, let us remember that the blood of every innocent person that’s been shed on earth cries out to God for vengeance. We’ve killed more people through abortion in recent times than all the modern wars combined have done. The womb, designed to be a baby’s safe haven and incubator to nurture him/her for his/her task in the world, has now become his/her killing field. Every year, tens of millions of helpless and innocent babies are being injected with lethal drugs, hacked to pieces by surgeons’ knives, and made to bleed and die painful and harrowing deaths in their homes and on their beds, masterminded by the very people who should protect and defend them. Their blood, like that of every innocent victim of murder, cries out to God for vengeance!
Genesis 4:8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Genesis 4:9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Genesis 4:10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
Revelation 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.
Revelation 6:10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (NIV).
Genesis 9:5 And murder is forbidden. Animals that kill people must die, and any person who murders must be killed.
Genesis 9:6 Yes, you must execute anyone who murders another person, for to kill a person is to kill a living being made in God’s image (NLT).
Imagine the billions of aborted children crying out to God for vengeance against their murderers! May their cries touch our humanity and make us think twice before we kill the next innocent soul lying helplessly in their house and on their own bed, which may soon become their deathbed!
2 Samuel 4:9 David answered Rekab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble,
2 Samuel 4:10 when someone told me, ’Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news!
2 Samuel 4:11 How much more —when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed —should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!”
2 Samuel 4:12 So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner’s tomb at Hebron (NIV).
May we repent of all the murders we’ve committed in performing abortions and in aiding and abetting them, and ask God for forgiveness for our sins. Let’s ask God for pardon and resolve henceforth never to shed or contribute to the shedding of innocent blood again. Let’s protect and defend the lives in the womb because all lives matter!
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