Outline on Abortion

I am going to be making available my outlines on different biblical and ethical topics which I have been working on for many years.  The first of these is on abortion since I will be going in mostly alphabetical order.  This is not all the information that I have on each topic since I want each article to be able to be read in one sitting.

Biblical Literature:

Genesis 25:22 – children struggled together within her (use of the term “children” to describe unborn children is also the same term used for children already born)

Exodus 21:22-25 – (use of term for child)

Deut 27:25 – shed innocent blood (what blood is more innocent than that of an unborn child?)

2 Kings 8:11-12 – rip open their pregnant women (especially cruel since this also involves the death of the child)

2 Kings 15:16 – ripped open all the women in it who were pregnant

Job 10:18-19 – Would that I had died before any eye had seen me (Job was alive before birth)

Job 31:15, 18 – Did not he who made me in the womb make him? (God creates unborn life)

Psalm 22:9-11 – from my mother’s womb you have been my God. (David was alive before birth)

Psalm 51:5 – in sin did my mother conceive me. (David was alive at conception)

Psalm 58:3 – wicked are estranged from the womb (the wicked exist before birth)

Psalm 71:5-6 – Upon you I have leaned from before my birth

Psalm 127:3 – children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward (children exist even in the womb)

Psalm 139:13-16 – you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

Prov 6:16-17 – hands that shed innocent blood (what blood is more innocent than that of an unborn child?)

Prov 24:11-12 – Rescue those who are being taken away to death (an urgent plea to save the lives of those who are to be killed)

Prov 31:8 – Open your mouth for the mute (unborn children are mute since they can’t speak)

Eccles 11:5 – the womb of a woman with child (“child” describes the unborn)

Isa 49:1, 5 – he who formed me from the womb to be his servant (Isaiah was alive before birth)

Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed you in the womb (Jeremiah was alive before birth)

Jeremiah 20:17 – because he did not kill me in the womb

Hos 12:3 – In the womb he took his brother by the heel (Isaac was alive before birth)

Amos 1:13 – ripped open pregnant women

Matthew 1:18 – to be with child (same term for child before and after birth)

Luke 1:15 – filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb

Luke 1:41,44/ Luke 2:12,16; 18:15 – the baby leaped in her womb (same term for before and after birth)

Luke 2:5 – was with child

Luke 2:21 – before he was conceived in the womb (life begins at conception)

Extra-Biblical Literature:

1 Enoch 69:12 – all the wicked smitings of spirits and demons, and the smitings of the embryo in the womb, that it may pass away.

Didache 2:2 – you shall not abort a child or commit infanticide.

Epistle of Barnabas 19:5 – Thou shalt love thy neighbor more than thine own soul. Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born.

Athenagoras (35:6) Plea for Christians – And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very fetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God’s care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it.  But we are in all things always alike and the same, submitting ourselves to reason, and not ruling over it.

Tertullian Apology 9 – In our case, murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the foetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed.

Basil of Caesarea Letter 188.2 – The woman who has deliberately destroyed [her child] is subject to the penalty for murder. And among us there is no fine distinction between a completely formed and unformed [child]. For here justice is not only to be procured for the woman, who conspired [to kill] herself, because the women who attempt such things often die afterwards.

I would agree with Denny Burk’s response to the objection of what about women who are pregnant because of rape or incest:

“Christian pro-lifers weep with those who are victims of sexual violence. We name it as an unspeakable evil and condemn it in no uncertain terms (see Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s helpful piece in CT). We also believe that children conceived as a result of rape are precious human beings created in the image of God. One cannot erase the evil or the trauma of sexual assault by killing these children. If one is willing to deny the humanity of children conceived through violence, one cannot consistently defend the humanity of children conceived through consensual sex. To deny the humanity of the one is to deny the humanity of the other. That is why pro-lifers support the right to life of all unborn children. It’s not how children are conceived that makes them image-bearers. It’s that they are conceived that makes them members of the human community whose lives deserve to be protected in law. I am concerned that these pro-life principles not be cast aside in the rush to defend the Republican nominee for president. Those who do cast them aside are profoundly wrong and are giving up the grounds upon which to defend any unborn human life. Legitimate pro-lifers respond out of principle, not out of political expediency.”



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