What does the Bible teach about abortion?

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What does the Bible teach about abortion?

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To answer these questions, let’s first consider some background material. Today, most people only look to their own human reason instead of the Bible for guidance in this area. As you may know, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1973 (Roe vs. Wade) sparked a huge controversy. There is no issue since slavery that has so divided the population of the United States. The two opposing views on this issue are generally called “pro-life,” meaning those who support the rights of the unborn, and “pro-choice” for those who say a woman should have control over her own body.

Many who favor allowing abortion have argued that abortions should be safe, legal and rare. Yet statistics show they are anything but rare. In the United States some 3,700 babies are aborted every day, amounting to over 1.3 million per year. Statistics also say that 93 percent of abortions occur not because of serious potential health problems or rape or incest, but because of social factors. The child is either unwanted or inconvenient.

The biggest area of debate in the abortion question is when life begins. Those who favor abortion might argue that it doesn’t begin until sometime near birth, when the child could be viable on his or her own. Others point out that at the moment of conception a unique life comes into existence with a genetic code that contains everything that person will become—from height, size of feet and color of eyes, to factors such as whether he or she is predisposed to contract diabetes by age 50.

Growth and development after conception are rapid. Within 18 days a new heartbeat is detectable. At around three weeks, eyes, a spinal cord and digestive system are forming. At around a month and a half, brain waves can be detected. By about two months, fingers and toes are beginning to show and by the 18th week, the baby is moving and kicking.

While the Bible does not mention the word abortion, there are indications that God views the unborn as individuals. He told the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5 Jeremiah 1:5Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.
American King James Version×
). God indicates He knew Jeremiah as a person and designated him for a special job extremely early in the gestation period. This implies “personhood” and God expressly forbids murder in the Sixth Commandment.

Additionally, Job said this about other people, “Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?” (Job 31:15 Job 31:15Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?
American King James Version×
). Job understood God to be at work in the process of human gestation in the womb. Elizabeth was in her last trimester when John the Baptist “leaped” for joy in her womb in response to Mary greeting Elizabeth (Luke 1:36 Luke 1:36And, behold, your cousin Elisabeth, she has also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
American King James Version×
; Luke 1:41-44 Luke 1:41-44 41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spoke out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And what is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, see, as soon as the voice of your salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
American King James Version×
).

God views human life as very valuable and the verses above indicate He views life as beginning at conception. So while He doesn’t mention the modern issue of abortion in the Bible by name, these passages indicate that God would label abortion as a sin.