Religion plays a significant role in people’s decision to receive some forms of healthcare. One of these is the choice to undergo a safe abortion.
In this article we dive into Christians primary source of information; the Bible and what it says about abortion.
Abortion and the Bible
The Christian religion uses the Bible as their main information source to ensure they’re living according to their beliefs. It serves as the basis for all Christian inquiries. However, several scholarly research maintains there is no direct mention of abortion in the Bible. The Bible was compiled during a time that abortion was practiced but seen as a nuance. Yet the word “abortion” was not directly mentioned in either the Old or New Testament.
Different Interpretations regarding Abortion
The Bible had no issue addressing women centered issues like rape, menstruation and sex working. A controversial passage used by both Christian opponents and proponents of abortion is Exodus 22: 22-23 ;
If people are fighting and 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 . . .
Christian opponents of abortion interprete this passage as causing a premature birth results in a monetary fine while causing the woman to have a miscarriage results in a death penalty. Using this argument, the act of miscarriage is seen as an act punishable by death on all accounts.
However, proponents of abortion also interprete this passage as a woman’s life is more valuable than the fetus’s. Causing a miscarriage results in a monetary fine while causing harm up to life to the woman can result in a death penalty.
There are some scriptures (Jeremiah 1:4-5, Isaiah 49:1) that Christian opponents use when arguing their points across. These are scriptures that talk about God forming the fetus in its own image, having and knowing the plans that it has even before it’s fully human. The Bible also describes several important figures like the Apostle Paul, Jeremiah and Isaiah as having been called to their worthy tasks on earth right from their time in the womb.
These scriptures are used by many Christians to give personhood to a fetus and disagree on the autonomy of a pregnant woman to make the choice to terminate a pregnancy.
Some Christian opponents of abortion simply invoke one of the Ten Commandments when asked about their reasons for being against abortion. “Thou shalt not kill” is one of the commandments given to Moses for him and his descendants to live by. However, this commandment seemed to be talking of humans. This argument brings a loophole as fetuses are scientifically not human beings at the early stages where medical abortion is possible.
Effects of Criminalizing Abortion based on Christian beliefs.
Criminalizing abortion does not automatically end the practice. However, it creates more difficulty for abortion seekers who need the service irrespective of their reason for it. The barriers created by illegalizing abortion pushes abortion seekers to resort to unsafe methods just to have and take control of their body.
Most abortions in religiously strict countries take place in clandestine settings which sometimes are operated by individual lacking the basic and necessary skills and resources to perform a safe abortion. People risk their lives anyway because it’s a matter of choice and healthcare. Some end up with irreversible health issues due to fake pills or unsanitary conditions during the process. Abortion seekers should have the right to choose and decide for themselves.
Christians can develop Bible-based arguments from an ancient text for modern issues. But it is important for us all to know that the Bible never directly mentions “abortion” or addressed the issue head-on. All faith based opponents of abortion have to go on is interpretations of scriptures as they see fit.