Now the word “abortion” doesn’t actually appear in Scripture, but that doesn’t mean it’s mute on the subject. To see and understand the Bible’s stance on abortion, we need, first of all, to examine what it says about the “object” in the womb—is it life, pre-life, part of the woman’s body, a hunk of random cells? Then we’ll consider the ramifications on terminating that “object.”
The Bible teaches that God is sovereign over the womb. As an example, we read that he closed Hannah’s womb before eventually opening it. Scripture speaks of the process of a body being formed in the womb as a mystery that we cannot understand any more than we can understand the work of God, “the Maker of all things.” It also teaches that it is God who brings forth a baby from the womb.
The Bible teaches that humanity is in the womb. Scripture repeatedly says that God is the one who makes and forms a body in the womb. More than that, He tells the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” This verse shows us that God forms a human life with purpose and knowledge. The most beautiful description of this concept is found in Psalm 139:13-16, where the Psalmist writes, “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb,” and “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” He adds that “Your works are wonderful,” before going on to verses 15 and 16: “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
Clearly, we see from these vivid passages that God is intimately and intricately involved in the formation of that “something” in the womb. But what is it? Life or potential life?
Beyond the above uses of words like “body” and “me,” Scripture is quite explicit at defining what is growing inside the woman as a human being. Luke 1 gives us several good pictures. In verse 15, we read that John the Baptist “will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.” Never minding why the Holy Spirit would indwell a pre-life form, the verse suggests that John the Baptist has his identity even before emerging from the womb. That is, he is human. (Paul conveys a similar sentiment in Galatians 1:15.) A little ways down in Luke 1:41, we’re told that when Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother) heard the greeting of Mary (the mother of Jesus), “the baby leaped in her womb.” Please note that the Scripture does not say, “the lump of tissue leaped in her womb.” Check any translation you like. Similarly, we read in the prophecy about Christ that “the virgin will be with child.” Not, “the virgin will be with fetus.”
The Bible teaches that eternity is in the womb. From the above sampling of verses, there’s no mistaking the Bible’s view on what is in the womb. It is a human life. But beyond the physical properties of life, Scripture introduces the idea of the human soul. In fact, it uses the word “soul” 95 times, mostly speaking of an “inner being.” The Bible is quite clear on the eternal nature of the soul. So the question we have to ask ourselves is when does that soul come into being? When is soul united, as it is during our life on earth, with the body? Is the soul generated when the baby emerges from the womb? Does air create a soul? Does a slap on the rump from the doctor? Does the soul rush in with the first breath? Or does God pick an arbitrary time? First heartbeat? Start of the second trimester? Day 86? I ask these questions with tongue in cheek, but I think they make the point. None of those seems logical. What does make sense is that we are imbued with souls from the moment of conception, the moment when—biblically—life begins.
A survey of Scripture makes it quite clear that God views the “something” in the womb as a human being, a precious life that He knit together with knowledge and purpose. It’s not a fetus or a lump of tissue; it’s a person, gifted by his or her Creator with a soul. No other conclusion has any scriptural support. We must then assert that the Bible is adamant that abortion stops a life in progress. So what does that mean? What are the ramifications for terminating this life?
There are some issues on which the Bible isn’t vividly clear. The intentional, willful taking of a life, however, is not one of them. The Sixth Commandment is as brief as any, succinctly decreeing “You shall not murder.” Jesus echoed that command in Matthew 5:21 and 19:18, Mark 10:19, and Luke 18:20. Paul and James also quoted it. Jesus also referred to murder as one of the evils that come out of the heart.
The Old Testament is full of other commands against murder. Specifically, Numbers 35:16-18 refers to fatal blows struck with iron objects, stones, or wooden objects. It refers to them as murder, and says the person who struck the blow is to be put to death. (It does not specifically mention killing by suction or pill.) The Psalmist pronounces woes against killing the innocent, calling those who commit such acts “wicked.” And in Proverbs, we see that “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him.” Listed third are “hands that shed innocent blood.”
But what about mitigating circumstances? Many pro-choice advocates—and some recent “pro-life” presidential candidates—suggest that abortion is appropriate in the case of rape or incest, when pregnancy causes medical complications for the woman, or when the baby’s “quality of life” wouldn’t meet a certain, subjective standard. In that case, they argue, taking a life is acceptable. There’s nothing in the Bible to advocate for that position, but there are a few startling examples to the contrary:
You’ve likely read or heard the story of Jacob, who fell in love with Rachel but was tricked by her father into marrying Leah. Jacob ended up having children by both Rachel and Leah, as well as their two maidservants. Talk about a messed up family. Anyhow, one of these sons, born to him by Leah, was given the name Judah. If that name’s familiar, it should be, because Jesus was called the “Lion of the tribe of Judah.” But we’re not finished with Judah. In Genesis 38, we read how his daughter-in-law dressed as a prostitute, seduced him, and bore him a son named Perez. It was from this distinguished lineage that King David and Christ Jesus himself descended.
Another example of a pregnancy that came about by less than ideal circumstances is Jephthah. He was the son of a prostitute who was mistreated before the Spirit of the LORD came on him, making him victorious in battle. Scripture is replete with examples of God using the unwanted and outcast for great things. Every life is precious to God, even those not considered worthwhile or that come about as the result of deception and sinfulness.
One other situation is worth mentioning. The Bible briefly tells us the story of a young woman—a teenager, likely—who was a prime candidate to have an abortion. Unmarried, this girl “found herself” pregnant, about to be disowned, unable even to name her child’s father. Her entire life was about to be transformed, to the point of great sorrow that would ultimately be brought upon her because of the life inside of her. Sounds like a Planned Parenthood poster child. But, of course, I’m talking about Mary the mother of Jesus.
Sadly, many in America—including Supreme Court justices—deny that God has endowed all persons with the right to life. Since the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution don’t speak specifically and overtly to the issue, there will always be a loophole by which people can claim protection for the unborn isn’t covered by those documents. But no such loophole exists with Scripture. It is exceedingly clear on the two points that shape the entire abortion debate: 1) Abortion is the intentional taking of a human life—it is murder. 2) Murder is unacceptable in God’s eyes.
 Declaration of Independence
 See I Samuel 1:5
 See I Samuel 1:20
 Ecclesiastes 11:5
 See Psalm 22:9, 71:6
 See Job 31:15; Isaiah 44:2,24
 Jeremiah 1:5
 Isaiah 7:14, quoted in Matthew 1:23
 See Matthew 10:28, 11:29, 16:26, 26:38; Luke 2:35; I Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12, 6:19; I Peter 1:9; and Revelation 6:9, 20:4, et al.
 Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17
 See Romans 13:9
 See James 2:11
 See Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:21
 Psalm 10:2-10 and 94:21
 Proverbs 6:16-17
 See Genesis 29-30
 Revelation 5:5
 See Judges 11