The Scripture quotes in this section, and the references to the Talmud, come from Brian Clowes', The Facts of Life, pp. 199-200, 219.
The Problem: Some Christians assert that abortion is a morally acceptable choice.
The Truth: Abortion is the deliberate killing of the living child in the womb. It is an intrinsic evil. Anyone who procures an abortion, or anyone who assists in the procurement of an abortion is guilty by that very act of a terrible abomination before God. Yet, it is also true that every sin can be forgiven. We need only turn again to God and ask His forgiveness, and it will flow like a river. As far as east is from west, so far will He cast away the sins of those who ask forgiveness, and He will remember their transgressions no more.
Gen 9:6 Whoever sheds the blood of man in a man, his blood will be shed...
The Talmud defines "man in a man" as a preborn baby in his mother's womb. In the Mishneh Torah, Maimonedes states "A descendant of Noah who kills any human being, even an infant in his mother's womb, is to be put to death."
Some argue that the book of Exodus permits abortion:
Ex 21:22-25 "When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
The Hebrew term used here for miscarried baby is y'ladeha which means "child," not u'bar or v'lad, meaning "embryo" or "fetus." The payment prescribed here does not mean that the child is deemed less than fully human, for the passage clearly describes an unintentionally caused miscarriage. A man could accidentally cause the death of another and not be condemned to death.
Num 35:22-34 "But if he stabbed him suddenly without enmity, or hurled anything on him without lying in wait, 23 or used a stone, by which a man may die, and without seeing him cast it upon him, so that he died, though he was not his enemy, and did not seek his harm; 24 then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood, in accordance with these ordinances; 25 and the congregation shall rescue the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge, to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil.
While it is true that the man who causes miscarriage does not flee to a city of refuge as does one who kills an adult, yet this does not mean that Jewish law saw the preborn child as less than human.
Ex 21:20-21 "When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. 21 But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be punished; for the slave is his money."
The Law for harming a slave involved penalties different from either of the previous, but the Law clearly understood both free man and slave as fully human, for the Law had provisions for the freeing of the same slave on the year of Jubilee. The question in these cases does not concern a question about the humanity or worth of the victim, but of authority. Deliberate killing was an attack on the gift of life from God, while unintended killing was not.
Life begins at conception:
Gen 16:11 And the angel of the Lord said to her, "Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ishmael; because the Lord has given heed to your affliction."
Gen 25:21-26 And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her...
Rom 9:10-13 And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 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, 12 she was told, "The elder will serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
Hos 12:2-3 The Lord has an indictment against Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways, and requite him according to his deeds. 3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and in his manhood he strove with God.
Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Lk 1:35 And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."
Jer 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."
Is 44:2,24 Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen... Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb...
Is 46:3 "Hearken to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb..."
Is 49:1,2 Listen to me, O coastlands, and hearken, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. 2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away.
Job 10:8-12 Thy hands fashioned and made me; and now thou dost turn about and destroy me. 9 Remember that thou hast made me of clay; and wilt thou turn me to dust again? 10 Didst thou not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? 11 Thou didst clothe me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. 12 Thou hast granted me life and steadfast love; and thy care has preserved my spirit.
Job 31:15 Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?
Eccles 11:5 As you do not know how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
Lk 1:41-44 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.
God knew us from the very beginning:
Eph 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
Mt 25:34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world...
A child with a physical defect is no less a gift from God:
Jn 9:1-3 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.
Acts 17:27-29 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, 28 for 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.' 29 Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man.
Psalm 94:9 He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?
Lev 19:14 You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
Is 45:9-12 "Woe to him who strives with his Maker, an earthen vessel with the potter! Does the clay say to him who fashions it, 'What are you making'? or 'Your work has no handles'? 10 Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' or to a woman, 'With what are you in travail?'" 11 Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: "Will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands? 12 I made the earth, and created man upon it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.
Children must not be sacrificed for any reason:
Ezek 16:20-21 And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter 21 that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them?
Jer 32:35 They built the high places of Baal in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
Ex 1:15-17 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 "When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, she shall live." 17 But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.
Psalm 106:37-42 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; 38 they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood. 39 Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the harlot in their doings. 40 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage; 41 he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them. 42 Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power.
2 Kings 16:3 but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.
2 Kings 17:17 And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings, and used divination and sorcery, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.
2 Kings 21:6 And he burned his son as an offering, and practiced soothsaying and augury, and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.
Deut 12:31 You shall not do so to the Lord your God; for every abominable thing which the Lord hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
Deut 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer...
Lev 18:21,30 You shall not give any of your children to devote them by fire to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.... So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs which were practiced before you, and never to defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God."
These children were sacrificed in order to attain material, temporal goods. To what gods of material, temporal good are today's children sacrificed? We have a duty to protect women and children, especially women and children abandoned or left without husband or father:
James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Zech 7:9-10 "Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy each to his brother, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor; and let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart."
Is 1:23 Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Every one loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not defend the fatherless, and the widow's cause does not come to them.
Is 10:1-2 Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, 2 to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!
Prov 24:11-12 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. 12 If you say, "Behold, we did not know this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not requite man according to his work?
Is 1:15-17 When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Jer 7:5-6 "For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly execute justice one with another, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers for ever.
Gal 6:9-10 And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
We sin by commissioning abortion, performing abortion, or assisting in the procuring of abortion. We also sin by refusing to provide the financial, emotional, or spiritual support we have available to a mother who is being tempted into the lure of this deeply evil act. All who strengthen abortion's appeal suffer from a heart hardened to the benificence of God, and the opportunities He gives us to give of ourselves and become like unto Him. Yet those who ask forgiveness of even these sins will be forgiven, if they are truly repentant.
Psalm 103:11-12 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Jer 31:33-34 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
The real horror of abortion lies not in the destruction of a child's innocent life, heinous though it is, for the child does not go to eternal punishment. Rather, the horror lies in the depth of sin into which it plunges complicit souls. The broken bodies of the children are but crumbs which fall from the gibbering mouth of satan. He delights on the souls of those who participate in the whirlwind of killing. We can obtain forgiveness for ourselves and for those who participate by asking God to forgive our hardness of heart, to replace our hearts of stone with real hearts. We will be judged on this.
Early Christians' comments on Abortion