The Bible's View On Abortion: Part One

There are so many questions surrounding the end of Roe v. Wade. Many of these questions are being directed towards the pro-life side, and at Christians. This is leaving Christians either questioning the truth about abortion and the recent abortion bans or making blanket statements that may or may not be the whole picture. So, what does the Bible say about abortion and how does this Supreme Court ruling affect the abortion debate? Let’s look at several arguments made by the pro-choice side of this conflict and see how they stack up to the Bible and the Christian belief system.

** To be clear, this statement comes from Family Baptist Church and is not made through the lens of politics, but through our belief in the Bible as God’s Word to man. Many of these concepts are not and never will be accepted by non-believers. However, we must remember that acceptance or belief of a statement (or the lack thereof) does not automatically make the statement correct or incorrect. Truth always remains, and Christians must place their faith in the truths of the Bible. **

Argument 1: Life begins at birth, not before. Though the pro-choice side is fluid when it comes to the specific point at which a fetus becomes life, the concept of when life begins is really the main contradiction between pro-life and pro-choice. Many who advocate for abortion will state that life begins when the baby is born and abortion before this point is acceptable. Conversely, many who are pro-choice may draw that line at 15 weeks in pregnancy or some other timeframe. Typically, though, you don’t see many who believe that a mother of a 3-month-old child should have the right to take that child’s life. The questions to ask here is why the birthing process and cutting of the umbilical cord marks life? Or why is 14 weeks in the uterus ok, but 15 weeks is a no-go? In other words, what makes a full-term child still in utero a fetus, but a one-day old child a life? Here is what the Bible has to say about the timeframe for when life begins:

Psalms 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

According to the Bible, God is working in the life of a baby well before the birthing process takes place. The term “possessed my reins” literally means that God designed and formed the organs inside the baby’s body. God recognizes life at the earliest stages of development. The phrase “My substance was not hid from thee” is a clear picture that God knew me even before I was known by my mother. In other words, these verses show life at the time of conception. When no one else knew I was alive, God did. “When as yet there was none of themmeans that before I was ever conceived, God planned everything about me, even down to how I would look and function (“in thy book all my members were written”). Even before a child is conceived, God works in that child’s life and gives him or her the respect, love, and meaning that He gives to any other human. If you continue on to verse 17, you see that the Psalmist praises God for having great and precious thoughts towards him, including when he was in his mother’s womb.

The difficulty with Christians believing that life begins at birth (or at 15 weeks) and not conception is that there is no sound Biblical reasoning to back that belief up. In fact, as we see in the above verses, God does not remove or downplay any value of the individual because they are still in the womb. He says that the baby is precious. And Science seems to agree with God. One study showed that 96% of biologists who were surveyed agreed that life begins at fertilization, even though 85% of them were pro-choice[1]. So why does the “life at birth” concept persist? Here are three possible reasons this argument continues:

1.The baby in the womb is not actually a life: When a Christian holds this view to be true, they must remove from their belief the miraculous work that God is doing during pregnancy. In essence, they are not willing to see God’s work where it actually is. Verse 14 states that His works are “marvelous”. To disregard God’s wonderful work is nothing less than foolish. Some might say: what about someone who changes God’s existing creation around him for his own benefit? Isn’t that the same? The answer here is a resounding “no.” Taking medication for a headache or cutting down a tree for lodging is a very far cry from taking a life. Easing my pain or using nature to survive is nothing like making the choice to end a life. God gave us dominion over creation (Gen. 1:28) and tells us to use it wisely. If I am being a good steward with the gift of nature, I’m in line with Scripture. However, you cannot end an innocent life at any stage and be in line with the principles of Scripture (Proverbs 6:17). That baby in the womb belongs to God, not it’s parents (Psalms 22:10)

2.The task for determining life has been trusted to the professionals: This leaves much ambiguity surrounding what constitutes life, putting the definition in the hands of pliable and selfish humans. If life begins one second after the baby passes through the birth canal, what or who gives life to the baby? Is it the ability of the baby to survive outside of the womb? This can’t be the case, since if a newborn is left alone on the delivery floor, it would soon die from its inability to survive on its own. Is the elderly person who is totally dependent on someone else to feed them no longer a life because they cannot survive by themselves? The baby must have its mother for many years to survive, the same way it needs its mother the first nine months. Is it some level of development the baby reaches that makes it become life? This is also faulty reasoning. I was blessed to be the pastor of a family who delivered a 30-week-old baby boy. Thankfully, he’s a toddler now and doing very well! However, I recall the amount of effort by doctors and the use of advanced technology to save that baby’s life. It was amazing to learn the survival statistics for premature babies. Medical technology has come so far in such a short time. However, if those parents had decided nine and a half weeks after that premature boy was born that they didn’t want him anymore, would it have been Biblically sound to abort that child who was, technically speaking, not yet “full-term” by medical standards? If technology advances to the point where a 10-week-old baby can be saved, would parents then have a 30 week “window” to decide whether or not to have that baby killed? Why does the stage of a child’s life called “birth” bring about its life? Why does its location make a difference to its value? We see from Psalms 139 that God considers the life of a child that is not yet conceived valuable (Jeremiah 1:5). Therefore, any destruction of that life after conception is an immoral interference from mankind.

3.A timeframe for making decisions is desired. The danger here is that it leaves the door open for more atrocities towards babies. The only real reason a culture decides that birth is the start of life is because of convenience. I’ve been present for the birth of all three of my children. It is, without a doubt, an amazing moment to finally be able to meet and hold my child. But for an abortion advocate, this is the line crossed, the point of no return. Once we see and hold the baby, it now has enormous significance and a seemingly greater value. There are even reports from pregnancy crisis centers that seem to show that even seeing a baby on an ultrasound lowers the chances of a mother going through with an abortion. Once seen, it now has real humanity. Take a look at the type of ultrasound images we had the year that Roe v. Wade was passed (1973). I can imagine that law makers minds were put at ease knowing that the fetuses being aborted were just clumps of cells on a distorted black and white screen with very little resemblance to humanity. You have to ask yourself though, aren’t we all just clumps of cells? If it’s only an embryo, what kind of an embryo is it? That’s not a trick-question, by the way: they are human embryos. Consider that abortion advocates continue to fight for abortion rights, even as science and technology discover more and more about how a baby in the womb feels, hears, moves, and even breaths. The more human an unborn baby gets, the more loudly the call for the right to kill them becomes. How can this be? Beneath all the debate over terminology and science lies the struggle that sinful man always deals with: selfishness. Making life begin at the moment of birth allows the parents time to decide what ramifications their choices will have in their own lives, even at the expense of the baby’s, and it gives them the needed space to eliminate any inconveniences, heartaches, or trials. Why will this lead to more atrocities toward children? If doctors agree that a 35-week-old baby can feel pain and attempt to protect himself/herself from that danger, but then still choose to perform a late-term abortion, what would stop them from performing an after-term abortion? All the change that is needed for him to do so is a thumbs up from a government official that life begins at 45 weeks or 60 weeks, and off we go. If you think this is far-fetched, the concept of after-birth abortion has been proposed by modern philosophers[2], put into law in other countries for a child born with serious health issues[3], and has been just a breath away from being present in the Unites States, with several states allowing partial birth abortion[4] (the act of delivering a baby half way for the purpose of killing it before it’s completely removed). However, the Bible is clear—babies and children are a blessing from God, not a hinderance. (Psalms 127:3)

According to the Bible, life begins at conception. There’s really no other path around that. A human may have different names for the stages of development, but it never makes him or her less human. Embryo, fetus, infant, toddler, child, teen, adult, these are all time markers, not humanity markers.

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[3] [4]

[5] Picture credit:

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