What does the Bible teach about abortion?

Here are eight biblical truths about abortion:

1. The Bible teaches that a baby in the womb is alive, and is a person whom God is making. Those I know who have had an abortion all say this is the most critical issue for them. If they believed their fetus was a real person which an abortion would murder, then they would not have done it. But they all believed that at that point of development, what was inside of them doesn’t qualify as a person by their arbitrary standard.

First, it is important to note that a fetus is a human life. It is alive, and it is human, so there is really no other way to describe it (here is a graphic and info on a fetus at 12-weeks from a secular website, and it’s obviously a person). At 12 weeks, a baby has arms, fingers, eyes, and toes. He makes fists, faces, and all his organs are working, albeit still developing.

But the Bible says that before that point a fetus is a person. For example, King David declared:

My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them (Psalm 139:15–16).

Before ultrasounds, David looked inside the womb and saw God at work. Before his frame was finished, God was at work, making him. God counted David as a person, with his days numbered, before he ever saw daylight.

This truth is not limited to David. Back when God introduced himself to Moses, who wrote the first book of the Bible, God asked: “Who has made man’s mouth? Is it not I?” (Exodus 4:11).

The mouth, by the way, is formed in week 6 of a baby’s life.  

2. The Bible teaches that a baby in the womb has a soul. Job 3:16-17 declares that infants who die before they are born have human souls, and that those souls are precious to God, and go to heaven when they die. This isn’t an excuse to kill a baby in the womb—any more than it would be an excuse to kill Christians simply because they believe in heaven—but it does show that the Bible teaches that an unborn baby has a soul.

3. The Bible teaches that these tiny people are precious to God. Again, David says to God:

 You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well (Psalm 139:13-14).

Psalm 72:3-4 says that little people who are unable to defend themselves are indeed “precious in His sight.” The Psalm goes on to say that God has pity on them.

Job found solace in the fact that God “fashioned us in the womb” (Job 31:15). Despite the trials he was going through, Job knew that his very existence is evidence of the truth that God exists, and has some kind of plan for his life.

4. The Bible teaches that God is in control of when someone conceives a child. With God, there are no accidents. Every child conceived is according to his plan. It is a common Old Testament teaching (Gen 29:3230:221 Sam 1:5-6Psalm 17:14, etc.). God is sovereign over when people are made, because he is the one who makes them.

5. The Bible teaches that ending a human life is wrong. The Bible condemns murder, of course (Exodus 20:13Romans 13:9). But the Bible also specifically identifies the taking of life in the womb as sin. Exodus 21:22 says that if a person strikes a pregnant woman, and her baby dies, then the person should be put to death as a murderer. In other words, taking life, even life in the womb, is a sin which deserves death.

6. The Bible teaches that people murder because they want something in life. People are sinful, and are born pre-disposed to rebel against God. But not all sins manifest themselves at all times. What makes someone consider the sin of murder? The Bible says that people murder because “you desire and you do not have…you covet and you do not obtain” (James 4:2). This fear of losing something, if strong enough, can compel someone to murder.

Why do some people get abortions even though the Bible clearly describes it as murder? Well, every situation is different, but James teaches that generally speaking it is fear of the future, shame of the past, and a distrust in God’s timing. People have a vision for what they want their future to be like, and if something threatens their vision, they lash out. Sometimes, such as in the case of abortion, the lashing out is lethal.

7. The Bible teaches that abortion is a sin for which Jesus died, and which he forgives through faith in him. Jesus did not die for perfect people, or even for good people. Jesus died to bear God’s wrath toward imperfect people—even murderers (Luke 23:40-43). For those that put their faith in Jesus, their sins can be forgiven because Jesus takes the punishment that they deserve. And this is true even of those who took the lives of their children.

8. The Bible teaches that adoption is a precious reality, and a metaphor for salvation. Adoption of an “unwanted” child is perhaps the best analogy of what God does when he saves someone. In salvation, God takes a person who was his enemy and brings him into his family. God makes that enemy a son, and then an heir. A person who was unwanted in the world is wanted in Christ. A person with no future, no hope, no home in this world—in Christ, that person finds more than a home, but a hope and a future.

This analogy speaks to a truth that children who are raised by their birth parents may never fully appreciate. But for those children fortunate enough to be brought into this world then adopted, they will always have a picture around them of the powerful love of God through Christ.

The Bible condemns abortion as murder, but celebrates adoption as a picture of eternal life.

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