What Does the Bible Say About Abortion?
The Bible is NOT Silent on Abortion!
ABORTION IN THE BIBLE
You may have encountered an objection that abortion is not mentioned in the Bible. Let us unambiguously affirm: the word “abortion” is not in the Bible.
But what about the ‘concept’ of abortion? Is the Bible silent on that?
Right from the beginning God reveals our dignity: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26) No other creature in all the universe is made in God’s image. Abortion destroys a unique bearer of God’s image.
LIFE BEGINS IN THE WOMB
And the word “conceived” is paired with “bore & birth” from the very beginning of
Genesis making clear life begins in the womb:
- “Eve…conceived and gave birth” (Gen 4:1).
- “In sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:7).
- “You knit me in my mother’s womb”. (Psalm 139:13).
- “[F]rom my mother’s womb you are my God” (Psalm 22:10-11).
- “God from my mother’s womb had set me apart and called me through his grace” (Galatians 1:15).
- “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).
- “Your hands have formed me and fashioned me” (Job 10:8).
Scripture teaches that our lives are fashioned by God. From the moment we are “conceived” we have human dignity.
“the Lord who made you…who formed you from the womb” (Isaiah 44)
DEFEND LIFE FROM THE MOMENT ON CONCEPTION
So, the Bible talks about abortion without using the word. The Bible makes it clear that life is sacred. A gift from our Creator.
That is why the Church teaches that “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.” (CCC, 2270)
And there is, of course, the ultimate example: God became man! When Mary pays a visit to her cousin, Elizabeth’s baby, upon hearing Mary’s greeting, “leaped in her womb”. (Luke 1:41)
The Savior’s life on Earth began at the Annunciation, not Christmas and “Every child who…is condemned unjustly to being aborted bears the face of Jesus Christ“. (Pope Francis)
In the Bible life, human dignity, begins in the womb, not with the first breath at birth.
THE BIBLE CONDEMNS KILLING THE INNOCENT
The fifth commandment states, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). The child in the womb is a person. And “the Lord hates…hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:16-17).
That is why the Church insists that “The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule, and to the holiness of the Creator. The law forbidding it is universally valid: it obliges each and every one, always and everywhere.” (CCC, 2261)
“Abortion is murder…It’s a human life, period.” (Pope Francis)
INVIOLABLE HUMAN DIGNITY
“The inviolability of the person…is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God”. (Pope St. John Paul, 38)
“The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself.” (Pope Benedict XVI)
“[E]very human being is endowed with a dignity that must never be…destroyed“. (Pope St. John Paul II, 12)
“Let the abortion and killing of innocent lives end.” (Pope Francis)
Catholic social teaching is built on three foundational principles - Human Dignity, Solidarity and Subsidiarity. Human Dignity, embodied in a correct understanding of the human person, is the greatest. The others flow from it. Good governments and good economic systems find ways of fostering the three principles.
This means a correct understanding of the human person and of each person’s unique value. All Catholic social teaching flows from this: the inherent dignity of every person that comes from being made in God’s image.
Solidarity is not “a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of others. It is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good”. (Pope St. John Paul II, 38) Love of God and love of neighbor are, in fact, linked and form one, single commandment.
Subsidiarity “is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry. So, too, it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and a disturbance of right order to transfer to the larger and higher collectivity functions which can be performed and provided for by the lesser and subordinate bodies”. (Pope Pius XI)