The word “abortion” is never used in the Bible and there is no direct commandment in either Old or New Testament that explicitly forbids terminating a human foetus. The closest the Law came to discussing abortion is Ex 21:22-25:

When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Opinions diverge as how to interpret this passage. The key issue is whether “harm” refers to a wound to the woman or a wound to the child. One reading would imply that only harm to the woman was punishable. The other reading would imply that harm to the child was punishable like-for-like with harm to an adult (“life for life”).

However the fact that abortion is not explicitly referred to in the Bible does not mean that abortion was acceptable. The Bible explicitly forbids killing another human being because all human beings are created in the image of God (Gen 9:6). This commandment against murder is repeated throughouth the New Testament (cf. Luke 18:20; James 2:11). So the significant question is whether God considers an unborn child to be a human being created in the image of God. If so then the commands against killing would apply as much to the born as to the unborn child.

There are several passages in the Bible that speak of God’s view of the unborn child. To Jeremiah 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 (Jer 1:5)

Perhaps most explicit are the words of the psalmist:

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. (Psalm 139:13-16)

These passages seem to give a clear message that in the eyes of God the unborn child is a human person, and if that is God’s view of the unborn child then we should treat that child with the same moral values we apply to all other human beings.

The pro-life position is not a uniquely Christian position. It rests on two propositions: (1) that life begins at conception, and (2) that all human beings possess moral worth (and therefore should not be killed). The first of these propositions is a scientific fact and, we have seen, is also how God regards human life. The second of these propositions is widely held across almost all systems of morality, and is the clear teaching of scripture. Taken together these two propositions mean that abortion is wrong.

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