There are literally tens of millions of unborn babies that are intentionally aborted each year, which is a number greater than the country of Chile, in fact, it is greater than the population of many countries. The modern woman has offered many reasons for their getting an abortion: having been sexually assaulted, to young, unable to afford a child, not having a stable relationship, preventing her from pursuing an education or from furthering her career, or simply not wanting to be a single mother. Other women, many, however, view abortion as murder of an unborn child, so they see it as morally wrong. What does the Bible say?
What the Bible Says
The Bible places a high value on all human life, including that of the unborn. Biblical teaching declares that life is a sacred, God-given gift (Gen. 1:26–27; 2:7; Deut. 30:15–19; Job 1:21; Ps. 8:5; 1 Cor. 15:26), especially the life of children (Ps. 127:3–5; Luke 18:15–16), and condemns those who take it away (Exod. 20:13; 2 Kings 1:13; Amos 1:13–14). The development of unborn life is controlled by God (Job 31:15; Ps. 139:13–16; Eccles. 11:5; Isa. 44:2; 46:3; 49:5; Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:15; Gal. 1:15). The personhood of the fetus is clearly taught in Exod. 21:22 where the unborn is called a “child” (yeled) rather than a “fetus” (nephel or golem). Hos. 9:11 implies that life begins at conception, while Luke 1:41, 44 recognizes the consciousness of an unborn child.
The high value placed on unborn human life in the Bible is consistent with the Mosaic law regarding negligent miscarriage (Exod. 21:22–25). This law can be compared to similar statutes in the Code of Hammurabi (nos. 209–214) in which the punishment exacted for acts of negligence that resulted in a woman’s miscarriage was dependent on the legal or social status of the mother, not the personhood (or supposed lack thereof) of her unborn child. Middle Assyrian law no. 53 (12th century B.C.) made a self-induced miscarriage (an abortion) a capital offense.
by Paul H. Wright
The crime of procuring abortion is little noticed in the earliest laws. It is a crime of civilization; in a barbarous state of society the parallel crime is infanticide. The practice was horribly prevalent among the Romans of the empire, although punishable with banishment and sometimes with death, and was a ground of accusation by the early Christians against the heathen. Tertullian denounces the practice as homicidal, declaring it to be but the anticipation or hastening of murder. “Prevention of birth is the precipitation of murder.”’ Minucius Felix declares it to be parricide.
The Council of Ancyra (A.D. 314) limited its punishment to ten years’ penance. The Council of Lerida (324) classes the crime with infanticide but allows the mother to be received to communion after seven years’ penance, even when her sin was complicated with adultery. The Council of Trullo classes it with homicide. Pope Gregory III, in the next century, reverts to the ten years’ penance, but modifies the sentence to a single year in cases where the child has not been formed in the womb: this is based on Exodus 21. By the Visigothic law, the person who administered a draught for the purpose was punished with death. See Bingham, Christ. Antiq. bk. 16 ch. 10, § 4.
by John McClintock and Dr. James Strong
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