Does the Bible Condemn Abortion?

By Robin Schumacher
This post previously published on

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A number of news agencies [1] recently reported the releasing of a "Pastoral Letter to Patients" by Planned Parenthood, part of which contained the following claim: "The truth is that abortion is not even mentioned in the Scriptures — Jewish or Christian — and there are clergy and people of faith from all denominations who support women making this complex decision."

If Planned Parenthood means that the word "abortion" is never used in the Bible, they are correct. However, if they mean the Word of God is silent from a moral condemnation standpoint on the taking of a baby's life inside the womb, they are quite wrong, and prompt us to ask them the same question Jesus did others on one occasion: "Aren't you deceived for this reason, because you don't know the scriptures or the power of God?" (Mark 12:24).

From the Top

Let's begin by documenting something that few, if any, disagree with: the Bible condemns the murder of innocent human beings:

"You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13).

"There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers" (Proverbs 6:16-19, emphasis added).

In addition to condemning the murder of the innocent, the Bible also hands down the death penalty to a murderer, in keeping with the idea of the punishment fitting the crime:

"Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man" (Genesis 9:6).

"But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing" (Romans 13:4).

So the Bible is clear that the murder of human beings is immoral and evil, with the ultimate punishment being reserved for it. Now the next questions are, does the Bible refer to unborn children as human beings and does it ever link together the taking of an unborn child's life and the death penalty that Scripture hands down to murderers?

One and the Same

A quick survey of Scripture finds that a baby is defined as a human being both inside the womb as well as outside. As one example, Luke uses the same Greek term — brephos — to refer to the unborn John the Baptist and the born child, Jesus of Nazareth:

Unborn Child Born Child
"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit."
(Luke 1:41)
"This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
(Luke 2:12)
"For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy."
(Luke 1:44)
"So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger."
(Luke 2:16)

The fact that a born and unborn child are viewed by God as one and the same, and that both are human beings whose lives are valued by God and protected under His Law, is showcased in this Old Testament passage: "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" (Exodus 21:22-23).

The Bible clearly states in this passage that if a pregnant woman is injured in a way that causes death to her unborn baby, the death penalty is handed down to the one who caused the death of the child. The same penalty is applied to the loss of life for the unborn as it is to those who have already been born.

Continued on Page Two

1. You can view the full letter from Planned Parenthood in this news report.

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Published 6-10-14