Is it permissible for a Christian to have an abortion? A CNN poll of May 2013 shows that only 20 percent of people believe abortion should always be illegal. This poll also shows as many as 25 percent of people believe abortion should always be legal. Another recent poll by Quinnipiac University shows that only 30 percent of people disagree with the 1973 decision of Rowe v. Wade..
There certainly does not appear to be a consensus on people’s opinions regarding abortion. The issue of abortion surely has several facets to consider. From a secular viewpoint, one must consider the mother, the father, the mother’s family, the unborn baby, society, and the government. From a Christian standpoint we only need to look to God for the answer. God will handle the other aspects. Therefore, this lesson will focus on the spiritual facet of abortion. This lesson reveals the hard truth of what God says about abortion in the Bible.
Is it a child or a fetus?
In order for abortion to be murder, we have to prove that the unborn baby is really a human being and not just a soulless fetus. From a scientific standpoint, I personally believe that medical proof shows the baby is a live human. An unborn baby goes through one stage of continuous development. The fetus does not go through distinctly different stages. The fetus does not change from a worm to a moth, and then to a beetle like an insect transforms. Instead, the fetus begins immediately to form all the physical parts of a living human being. A famous study done by Dr. Anthony DeCasper and his colleagues at the University of North Carolina shows several examples of memory retention by an unborn baby as early as 27 weeks of development. I also find it interesting that The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists conducted a survey of 1,800 ob-gyns in the United States in 2011 that showed only 14 percent of the doctors polled were willing to perform abortions on their patients.
What does the Scripture say about the unborn?
Many people treat the unborn baby as if it is just a piece of human tissue. The Bible, on the other hand, presents the fetus as a work in progress, a work of God that is waiting for this human to be born. Let’s look at some Scriptures:
1. Isaiah 49:1…..“Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.”
a. Isaiah makes the proclamation that the Lord recognized him even before his birth.
b. The King James Version is even more explicit: Isaiah 49:1…..”Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.”
2. Psalms 51:5-6…..“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.”
a. We read here that we are sinful not just from birth, but even from the time of conception.
b. It is amazing that God mentions that the unborn child can receive wisdom within the womb. The baby learns in the womb and prepares for birth. Yes, an unborn child is God’s work in progress. This Scripture is in agreement with a study done in 1990 by Dr. DeCasper. His study showed extensive proof that newborns responded to sounds that were made in utero after the 32nd week of pregnancy.4
3. Matthew 1:23…..”The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel––which means, ‘God with us.’”
a. One can’t help but admit that Christ was considered a “child” when he was in the womb. Jesus was then called a “son” after he was born. To me, the word “child” emphasizes an unfinished work (typically of unknown gender) before birth and a son of finished work upon birth.
4. Luke 1:41…..“When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
a. We see here a powerful example of an unborn human being responding to the human voice.
b. We also see the term “baby” used to describe the unborn John the Baptist.
5. Genesis 38:27-30…..”When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so, the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, ‘This one came out first.’ But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, ‘So this is how you have broken out!’ And he was named Perez. Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out and he was given the name Zerah.”
a. The Scripture is clear that the two boys were considered “boys” even they were still in the womb.
b. This story is unique in that it makes one think about the horrible practice of partial birth abortion.
Many times we hear people claim that the issue of abortion is about a woman’s control of her own body. Scripture teaches that neither a man nor a woman owns their own body. Not only does a married person’s body belong to Christ, but it also belongs to the other spouse. The idea that a woman would worry about what God or her spouse would think about her own body is often repulsive to the secular woman.
1. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20…..“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.”
2. 1 Corinthians 7:4…..”The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.”
The Bible says abortion is murder?
I have heard more than one so-called Christian try and skirt the abortion issue. It is quite common for pastors to also dodge this issue. A typical answer to the question of whether abortion is acceptable would be if their own daughter wanted to have an abortion, then they would try to discourage her from having one. Then, however, they go on to say that they would still love her and support her in that decision. That is like saying they would try and talk her out of killing her husband, but if she still killed him, they would still love her and support her decision. I understand the love part, but supporting her decision is ridiculous. Do you see the hypocrisy in that answer? Abortion is only about one thing: murder. The love part is about skirting the issue because we are called to love even a mass murderer in the respect that we want him to find Christ.
What kind of person would support a murderer’s decision to kill her unborn child? If abortion were still illegal, would you turn your daughter over to police before she kills the baby? Would you turn her over to police if she were going to kill her three-year-old son? If you face the fact that abortion is murder in God’s eyes, the answer to these questions is not that difficult.
What does the Bible teach us about killing an unborn baby? The following Scripture gives us some insight to this question: Jeremiah 20:17….. “For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever.” How much more graphic must God be to convince us that a fetus is not terminated in the womb, but rather a child is killed.
A logical excuse
Some people might say, “Perhaps the child would be better off never being born.” This is an argument that people often use to justify abortion. Whether or not the baby would be better off alive, or dead is not our concern. People are not horses that need to be killed in order to be put out of their misery. Life or death is not our call. The following is a powerful Scripture that addresses this issue of deciding life or death before birth:
Isaiah 45:9-11….."Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'He has no hands'? Woe to him who says to his father, 'What have you begotten?' or to his mother, 'What have you brought to birth?' This is what the LORD says––the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands. It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. “
1. We clearly see that God decides which children should live and which ones should die.
2. If God can create the universe, why can’t he decide if a child should be born?
Some parents trust God to do what is best for their unborn baby. Other parents take it upon themselves to play God. We are not talking about a person improving things by getting a medical procedure to improve a physical defect, but an action to make things worse by committing murder.
A Biblical example of an abortion
I am sure most people do not know the Bible actually mentions the example of a person injuring or killing an unborn child. Exodus 21:22-25 is a powerful Scripture regarding an abortion. In order to fully understand these verses, it is important to read and discuss Exodus, chapter 21, beginning with verse 12 and ending with verse 27.
1. Verses 12-27 are all statements of God’s law to the Israelites involving not just Israelites, but “anyone.”
2. Explanations are also given of how these laws are to relate to specific groups of people such as sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, and servants, etc.
3. Verses 26 and 27, like verses 20 and 21, only mention servants and slaves because the previous verses do not mention these specific groups. In other words, verses 26 and 27 show that servants can receive freedom in return for bodily injury inflicted upon them by their owners.
We will now study the verses that deal with abortion. We often hear the punishment part of this Scripture, but we hardly ever are told the context.
1. Exodus 21:22-25….. “If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”
a. First of all, this Scripture is referring to a type of abortion. Miscarriage is not a traditional medical term. Before the 1980s, the medical community in the United States classified abortions as either “spontaneous” (naturally caused), or “induced” (willfully caused). The death certificate requirements and terminology have been changed in some states since that time due to the popularity of induced abortions.
b. Secondly, we see that this abortion is not of a natural cause, but it is induced by unnatural means.
c. Thirdly, we see that the husband and the court are the ones to determine the fine if no damage is done.
d. Next, we see the popular punishment that is usually taken out of context. This punishment is not for injury to the woman, but for injury to the child. If this Scripture were talking about injury to the mother, it would not make sense since the killing of an adult was already mentioned. In other words, verses 23, 24, and 25 must be taken with respect to verse 22.
e. This act of murder is possibly intentional and not accidental. How do we know the context? We can accurately infer the context because the death penalty for intentionally killing an adult was already mentioned in previous verses 12 and verse 20. Conversely, verse 13 states that if a person kills someone accidentally, he or she should not be put to death. However, one could possibly argue that this Scripture stands alone, and that even accidentally killing an unborn child is as bad in God’s eyes as intentionally killing an adult. Regardless, it is actually just as evil to kill an unborn child as it is to kill a born human being.
f. Finally, a skeptic might ask why we don’t practice the punishment prescribed in verses 23-25. The answer is explained thoroughly in my previous book, Bible Power for Salvation. The quick answer is that in the New Testament, God often acknowledged a sin, but showed his grace by lessening the punishment. The woman caught in adultery is a prime example.
Exodus 21:22-25 should remind us all that even in Bible times, women knew how to abort their unborn children. Blunt force to the abdomen could cause an induced abortion. The only difference with abortion today is that it is much easier and safer. I do not see any Scripture that gives a pregnant woman any right to kill her unborn child. A mother should be even more protective of her unborn child than a man fighting with her husband. A life is a life.
The Bible shows us on many different levels that abortion is wrong. We have seen God refers to the so-called fetus as a “baby” and a “child.” We have read that the unborn child receives knowledge in the womb. The Bible also states that we should not question why God brings any person into this world. Finally, we have learned that killing an unborn child, like murdering an adult, carried the death penalty in the Old Testament.
I hope this lesson has been the most informative lesson you have ever had on abortion. I also hope that everyone studying this lesson will understand that abortion is nothing less than murder and that it needs to be again made illegal.
Additionally, we need to be more proactive in helping fight abortion. We not only need to say that abortion is wrong, but we need to prove to others that it is both morally and spiritually wrong. We need to fight to make abortion illegal.
We need to emphasis that an abortion is not the unforgivable sin. Those who repent and are truly sorry will be forgiven by God. Their sins are washed away and they are blameless in God’s eyes. On the other hand, those unrepentant women who believe their bodies take preference over the life of another human being must be prepared to answer to God. Those people who encourage abortion will also be held accountable before God.
We all need to pray for the unborn and for the mothers who must make difficult decisions involving the life and death of the unborn. We must also pray for those who do not realize abortion is murder.
Finally, we must do more than pray. We should not forget to help those women who make the right choice to give birth rather than have an abortion. We need to donate our time and money not only to prevent abortion but to help the mothers who have decided to keep their child. We need to also help those babies who were allowed to live, but were left behind by their mothers. There are organizations that need our help and our donations to minister to women who decide to give birth rather than have an abortion. These women need all the emotional, financial, and spiritual help they can get. Remember the popular saying: “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”
1. Where in the Bible does it say, or even imply, that an unborn baby is just a living organism and not a human being?
2. When people see a pregnant woman, why do they ask about the baby instead of the fetus?
3. Do you believe that the unborn baby can be affected by sounds outside of the womb?
4. Do you believe the Bible gives proof that an unborn baby is a real human being?
5. When does a fetus receive a soul?
6. According to Scripture, should the father have a say in the birth of a child?
7. What do you think about abortion in the case of rape or incest?
8. What do you plan on doing to help stop abortion?
9. What will you do to help women who are facing an unwanted pregnancy or have chosen to have their baby?
10. How can we help mothers and babies who are a result of unwanted pregnancies?