Tomorrow, it will be 46 years since the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States. Just what does the Bible have to say about taking an unborn life?
Since Roe V. Wade was decided in 1973, there have been over 60 million babies aborted in the United States. That number takes my breath away. Abortion has become so acceptable that no long ago, I saw a Christian leader use social media to defend an organization that has performed over 8 million abortions. His tenuous grounds for the defense was that this organization does so much other good for women.
So what does the Bible say about abortion? There isn’t a specific command about life in the womb. Yet biblically, we can deduce from a number of passages that God considers a baby in the womb to be fully human and alive. To begin, Scripture clearly states that God is the designer of life in the womb. Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” These words remind us that God forms, sees, and ordains life in an unborn baby.
Not only that, God also sets people apart for service to Him even from the womb, as He did Jeremiah (Jer 1:5) and Paul (Gal 1:15). If they were not living persons while in the womb, that wouldn’t be true. Moreover, it’s possible for God to work spiritually even in an unborn baby’s life. Luke 1:15 says that John the Baptist was “filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.” Luke goes on to say, that the Spirit prompted John to leap while in his mother Elizabeth’s womb when Mary, pregnant with the Messiah Jesus, visited (Luke 1:41). It’s plain from Scripture that an unborn child is a fully human living person, made in the image of God and therefore precious to God Himself.
Taken together with the Scriptural prohibition of murder, as in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder,” it’s plain that God forbids abortion. Some might object that since abortion is legal, it’s only forbidden for people who actually believe the Bible. But abortion is a moral issue, not a personal religious decision. We can’t very well say “I’m personally opposed to murder or rape because the Bible forbids it, but I don’t want to impose my biblical values on others.” That’s because murder and rape are moral issues, not personal religious ones. And for all who say that abortion is a decision made between a woman and her doctor, don’t forget that there’s a third person involved, the unborn baby. Who will speak for the child? Who will protect the one who is unable to save herself? Followers of the Messiah Jesus need to be the ones who speak publicly, act sacrificially, and give generously, in fact, we need to do all we can within the law, to protect unborn children.
This is not the first time I’ve ever addressed this issue. Whenever I do, it seems I’m asked if abortion is the unpardonable sin. Jesus sid “People will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven” (Matt 12:31). However, the Lord was not speaking about abortion but rather the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. According to the context, the blasphemy of the Spirit is declaring the miracles of the incarnate Son of God, works of Satan (Matt 12:24-28). In essence, this is finally and fully rejecting Jesus as the Messiah and Redeemer of humanity.
The Bible teaches that there is no sin so heinous, so terrible, that it’s beyond the grace of God. Romans 8:1 says, “there is no condemnation for those in Messiah Jesus.” All our sins, past, present and future, are forgiven if we believe Jesus died for our sins and rose again and put our trust in Him. And what if someone who already is a follower of Jesus, has an abortion? The scriptures teach that even that person can be restored to fellowship with God and experience true pardon. John wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). There is no sin greater than God’s ability to forgive and restore, and that includes abortion.
Years ago, when I first started answering questions on Open Line, a young woman called and asked what the Bible has to say about abortion. As I began to go over the biblical data, I realized she wasn’t asking a theoretical question. She was contemplating having an abortion. My answer quickly shifted from a calm, theoretical statement of the facts to an urgent and passionate appeal for her to preserve life. I don’t know what she decided. But if you happen to be listening today and you’re facing a pregnancy that you think is a burden, there are people who want to help you. God wants to sustain you. Please listen to the words of Moses: “I have set before you life and death . . . Choose life that you and your descendants may live” (Deut 30:19).