What Does the Bible Say About Abortion?

WomenBibleFor years I have been questioned about what the Bible actually says regarding abortion; does it condemn or condone the practice? Generally, the motivation for the question is rooted in the desire to promote or permit the practice since no prohibition seems to be identified. My simple answer has been to refer to the context of one of the most misquoted scripture passages used these days. How often have you heard the statement, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”? 

That quote is used to justify and/or condemn a number of actions both good and bad. But if you look at the context of one use of that language, you will find a serious statement to those who cause the death of the unborn child. “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,” (Ex 21:24).

It is impossible to read this passage and not conclude that the safety and well-being of the unborn child is of utmost importance to God. It is also impossible to read this passage and not conclude that God does hold anyone who causes the premature birth or miscarriage of the child responsible for those actions and subject to penalty, even up to death.

Well you might say, “what about the woman who doesn’t want to continue her pregnancy?” Where in scripture does it say that is a sin or a crime? After looking through scripture pretty closely, I honestly cannot find that language. I cannot find where God prohibits it. But I cannot find where he permits it either. The article, “Early Christians and Abortions,” by David W. T. Brattston, speaks to this issue.