Biblical and Church Teachings on Abortion
ii. What biblical and church teachings might be used in a discussion about abortion?
The bible is used as the center of the Christian faith because it is the primary source of information about the life of Jesus and the world we live in. For Christians the bible is an important text for teaching about their faith. Many Christians believe it is the word of God and should be treated with the up most respect. Christians follow the bible and use it to solve any problems in their everyday lives.
Discussions surrounding abortion faces many different issues as the topic of abortion is so widely based. The bible does not have any direct teaching on abortion because abortion is only a recent scientific discovery. Christians have to form their own view on abortion using quotes from the bible and church teachings and relating these to abortion.
Christians believe in the Sanctity of life and may use this to approach the topic of abortion. The sanctity of life is the belief that life is special and holy. Christians believe that human life is set apart from other kinds of life. Christians may use this belief to say abortion is killing of life and life is ultimately sacred.
A question to be considered is ‘Is Abortion murder?’ In the bible it quotes ‘You shall not commit murder’ (Exodus 20). Many Christians believe abortion is the murder of an innocent life so use this quote to support their argument to say abortion is wrong. They support this with ‘Anyone who kills a human being shall be put to death’ (Lev 24:17) They use this quote to say anybody that practises abortion is committing a sin. They also use this to say that the Mother’s are committing a mortal sin and killing an innocent human being.
Many Christians feel that it cannot be called murder because the baby is not yet a living person. This proposes the question, Is it a potential human baby or a baby with potential?
In 1974 the Roman Catholic Church released a document on Procured Abortion, The quote “From the time that the ovum is fertilised a new life is begun which is neither that of the father or the mother. It is the life of a new human being with its own growth. It would never become human if it were not human already” has provoked many Catholics to believe abortion is a moral sin and that from the moment of fertilisation is a new life. Many different religions agree with the Roman Catholic belief and believe abortion is never justified and is always a sin. For example, Buddhism, Southern American Baptist and Eastern Orthodox who do not consider abortion in any situation.
In the bible it quotes ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, Before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’ (Jer. 1:5) Christians may use this to believe every child is know and loved by God from the beginning on conception. Christians may use this to say that to end the life of a baby who is loved by god is alike to murder and should be treated as murder.
Support their argument opposing abortion saying in the bible it says ‘In his hand is the life of every living thing + the breath of every human being’ and that we are destroying the life of a human being in the hand of God.
In the bible it quotes ‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb’ (Psalm 139:13). Christians opposing abortion use this to support their argument by saying that God helped create the human life. However, Many Christians use this to argue for abortion saying that in the passage it does not state that during the creation the foetus is a person. This can be used to support the argument that abortion is not murder because it is not killing a person but a potential life.
Christians also use the quote ‘Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy and you are that temple’ (1Cor. 3:16:17) This quote can be used to say that by aborting a baby you are destroying a temple of God and that God will destroy you. Christians use this to back up their campaign contradicting abortion.
Many Christians use the teaching And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul’ (Genesis 2:7) To protest for choice in abortion. The passage suggests that man was created before he was given the breath of life. Many Christians interpret this to mean that when the baby is born it is alive and until then not a living human being.
In 1984 the Church of England, Board of Responsibility, released a report saying ‘Although the foetus is to be specially respected and protected, nonetheless the life of the foetus is not absolutely sacrosanct if it endangers the life of the Mother’. Many Christians follow this teaching that if the Mother’s life is endangered abortion is acceptable but only in these circumstances.
Muslims believe that abortion is a mortal sin. They form their beliefs from quotes in the Qur’an and alike to Christianity there are no direct quotes about abortion. Many Muslims use the quote “Do not kill your children in fear of poverty. We shall provide for both them and you. Killing them is a big sin.” (Qur’an 17:31) to support their views. However Sheikh Muhammad Mahdl Shamsuddin released a statement “Abortion is legal in one case only, and that is when the retention of the foetus or embryo in the uterus threatens the mother’s life.” This understands that abortion can be acceptable in the case of the Mother’s life being at risk. Many Muslims follow the teaching of Sheikh Muhammad Mahdl Shamsuddin for their belief in abortion.
The bible teaches that Christians should help the weak. This is expressed in the bible passage ‘Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them from the hand of the wicked’ (Psalm 82:4) They use this quote to suggest that they should help the weak i.e. the mother to become strong and strop them from killing their innocent child. Many Christians oppose abortion and use this passage to help support their argument.
However as the bible does not have any direct quotes regarding abortion, A Christians has to form their own view using the bible and Christian teachings. Eventually, A Christian has to define what abortion is regarding is it Murder? In what circumstances can it be accepted and up until what stage of life Each Christian has to form this view for themselves.