I was a young teenager when I first heard the saying “It is a choice, not a child.” Young and rather innocent, I had no clue what abortion is. Then there was this ethereal news item about a court case called Roe v. Wade, which said abortion was not only legal in the United States but also guaranteed as a right under the US Constitution.
It was then I learned about abortion and how it was the termination and removal of a living child from the mother’s womb. Even when I was a young person, this knowledge upset me. How could anybody kill their unborn baby? Does God have anything to say about the killing of an unborn child? Many suggest that since the word abortion isn’t in the Bible, it must be unimportant. On the contrary, God’s Word has much to say about it.
The sixth commandment states, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17). The Hebrew word translated “kill” in the King James Version is rasah, which is better translated “murder.” The vast majority of Bible translations use murder instead of kill. The question before us, then, is simple: Is abortion murder?
Merriam-Webster defines the verb murder variously: “to kill (a human being) unlawfully and with premeditated malice; to slaughter wantonly; to put an end to.” By any definition, the taking of unresisting, vulnerable, innocent life is murder.
When does life start? Does human life begin at conception? Three months into pregnancy? At birth and first breath? Following the science, modern medicine is now able to pinpoint the exact moment life begins in a womb. In his book, The Developing Human, Keith L. Moore sums up the scientific consensus:
Human life begins at fertilization, the process during which a male . . . sperm unites with a female . . . (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized . . . cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.
God already confirmed this truth through Hosea: Life begins at conception (9:11). In the Bible, the unborn are consistently described by the very same terms as those born: a baby, a brother, a son, a child (Luke 1:41; Hosea 12:3; Ruth 1:11; Genesis 25:22).
Womb of life or death
The Bible repeatedly tells us that we are living and known of God from the womb. David wrote, “Thou art my God from my mother’s belly” (Psalm 22:10). God makes and protects us from the womb (139:13, 14). Jacob was formed from the womb (Isaiah 44:2). God knew and chose the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah from their mothers’ wombs (Isaiah 49:1; Jeremiah 1:5). God called John the Baptist and the apostle Paul from the womb (Luke 1:15; Galatians 1:15). When Elizabeth heard the voice of her cousin Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, the babe, John, leaped inside her womb (Luke 1:41-44).
Life, including unborn life, is sacred to God. In the law, even accidental harm to an unborn child brought a stiff penalty (Exodus 21:22, 23). This important statute shows God’s directive that the baby in the womb is a valued, living, human being.
The Bible tells of several instances where unborn children were murdered and violently ripped from their mother’s womb (Amos 1:13-15). Evil King Menahem of Israel smote and ripped up women, and God called it evil (2 Kings 15:16-19). It was prophesied that Hazael, the future king of Syria, would rip up “women with child” (8:12). Hosea prophesied the terrible fate of Samaria: “their women with child shall be ripped up” (13:16).
The word ripped (Hebrew, baqa) literally means “to cleave; generally, to rend, break, rip or open . . . tear” (Strong’s #1234).
While these words are horrible, they are fair descriptions of the gruesome process that ends the life of an innocent child in the womb. Violent and premeditated, baqa describes what abortion truly is: murder.
Abortion is a sin, and the wages of sin is death (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17; Matthew 5:21, 22; Mark 10:19; Romans 6:23). Jesus tells us to love our neighbor (Matthew 5:43). How is the killing of an unborn baby love? Jesus tells us that even contemplating killing is a sin (vv. 21, 22). How much more sinful is it to murder an innocent unborn child? By taking the life of a baby, one is actually incurring the death penalty from God.
What would this world be like if Sarah had aborted Isaac because she was past the age of child bearing? What if Elizabeth had aborted John the Baptist because she was pregnant at an old age and worried about Down syndrome? What if the unwed Virgin Mary had aborted Jesus, the Son of God, because she was poor and unable to take care of the baby herself? The answer is, we would all be lost in sin and death, and we would have no Savior in Jesus Christ.
Like all sins, abortion should be repented of; God will forgive. Praise the Lord! He forgives and forgets all of our sins, both large and small, when we truly repent and trust Him. Women guilty of abortion and repentant of it will find love and acceptance from their compassionate God. The church, too, must be a loving, supportive, non-judgmental community for such women.
So we pray for this lost world: “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29, emphasis mine).