Let's look at some scripture:
"You did form my inward parts, you knit me together in my mother's womb...you knew me right well; my frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret..."
So god specially knits fetuses with love...he might not want you to kill them willy-nilly. Of course, one could say that he created everything, including animals and such we can kill so this one is kind of a wash.
"Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you."The typical pro-choice response to this is that god doesn't specially consecrate all fetuses as prophets, but the evangelical Christian response would be that god has a plan for everyone's life. It sure seems easy to thwart god's plan with a little medical procedure, though...
"And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy."
This is the same word (brephos) Luke uses in Luke 2:12,16 "You will find a baby lying in a manger." Luke 18:15,16 meaning infants and 1 Peter 2:2 "newborn babes."
So here we have a fetus showing reactions to the world around it, at about 6 months gestation, which would be viable today, if not back then. Supposedly, we also have the same word being used to refer to fetuses and babies. One could argue, though, that this isn't meaningful for much earlier fetuses or embryos.
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 (KJV)
The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.One argument is that breath is synonymous with life, ensoulment, and human personhood in many places in the bible. Jewish abortion positions, which are quite interesting, derive from this principle even though it seems contradicted by the verses above from Jeremiah and Psalms (obviously Jews wouldn't care about the verses in Luke).
-- Job 33:4 (KJV)
"The Babylonian Talmud Yevamot 69b states that:
"the embryo is considered to be mere water until the fortieth day [after conception]."
Afterwards, it is considered subhuman until it is born.
"Rashi, the great 12th century commentator on the Bible and Talmud, states clearly of the fetus 'lav nefesh hu--it is not a person.'
The Talmud contains the expression 'ubar yerech imo--the fetus is as the thigh of its mother,' i.e., the fetus is deemed to be part and parcel of the pregnant woman's body." 1"Obviously, none of that is going to matter to Christians, so the breath argument is not very convincing.
"This is just a BAD argument. The fact that babies under a month old aren't counted due to infant mortality doesn't mean they aren't persons. Look, it only counts males, that doesn't mean that females aren't persons. That doesn't mean you could kill them willy-nilly.
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
The major contention here is what happened when her fruit departed? Is this a miscarriage or a premature birth? If mere payment suffices for a miscarriage, this would be a sign that in this part of the biblical context that fetuses were not seen as persons.
|"The key Hebrew word "yatsa" literally means to "lose her offspring." |
According to religioustolerance.org, some liberal theologians see this law as another ripoff of the Code of Hammurabi and Hittite laws where miscarriage is clear
Numbers 5:12-31So this is one of the weirdest passages in the entire bible. It's a long and involved how-to for a procedure to do when a husband is jealous, yet has no hard evidence of his wife committing adultery. A man takes his wife to the priest, he makes a small offering, and the priest harangues the wife, unbinds her hair (this is considered shameful, and some commentaries say she is stripped topless as well), then she is forced to drink a concoction of holy water and dirt from the temple floor. If she is innocent, nothing will happen, but if she is guilty:
So in the KJV, it says belly will swell and thigh will rot. What does that mean? I did frequently come across the idea that "thigh" is often used for genitals in Hebrew, meaning that something will happen to her vagina or womb. Here's the NIV
The NIV is the only translation that seems to use womb and miscarry. I looked all over for a decent explanation of the Hebrew from either a pro-choice or an anti-choice perspective. Nobody seems to know what the fuck is happening in these verses. Most people seem to think that the curse of the thigh and belly is barrenness, which would be a huge deal for a woman at the time. There is no other indication in the text that the woman in question is pregnant.
Even if we interpret it as an abortion or potentially abortifacient, it would be God performing the abortion, at the behest of the husband. It is not an example of a woman's choice.
So we've looked at some of these verses relating to Personhood of the fetus, now let's look at general principles and women.
Children are a Blessing
So after dealing with the explicit passages about fetuses, let us look at the general principles of the bible
Psalm 127:3-5This verse is the Quiverfull standard verse from which the name we call them comes from. There are many other verses praising children and saying that barrenness is a curse. There are no indications in the bible that refusing children in any way is allowable.
"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is His reward.Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."
You shall be blessed above all peoples. There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Status of Women
And now we get to what I consider the crux of the matter. Maybe the bible doesn't value fetuses like people or maybe it only values some fetuses. Maybe god will kill your fetus on demand. That is all unclear. What is not unclear is that women and women's sexuality is NOT valued in the bible.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Here we have God cursing women with many children, pain in labor, and patriarchy. The idea of women escaping this curse with anesthetic was considered sinful even in the 1800s. To escape this curse with abortion seems even worse.
The birth of a female is twice as ceremonially unclean as the birth of a son.
1 Corinthians 11
But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
And here we have some New Testament stuff (in case anyone wants to say this is all Old Testament). Clearly women are lesser.
1 Timothy 2:11-15
So here we have explicit commands to shut up and be submissive, that we can't have authority, and that we are saved by childbearing. Obviously women choosing abortion is a direct rejection of this.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35
1 Peter 3:1-6
As we see here, women are to submit to men. Women making decisions about their own bodies is anathema to the overarching theme of the bible. I believe that it is mainly this reason that Christians oppose modern feminist abortion rights.
So while we have demonstrated that the bible is contradictory on the value of fetuses, and the bible denies women agency, we come to the issue of Sex. The bible is quite clear that sexual immorality is a big deal, and women's sexual immorality is even worse.
Over 80% of abortions are on unmarried women, thus assisting fornication. Even if Christians were unsure if God opposed it as murder, it would make sense to oppose it as a practice associated with helping women get away with fornication.
1 Corinthians 6:13-20
If sexual immorality is a sin against your own body, why would you be allowed to then make a choice about your own body to assist in further sin? Also, see the EXPLICIT rejection of Bodily Rights!
Here we have the stoning of non-virgin brides.
The entirety of Proverbs 7 warns against the seductive woman who entices youths to commit adultery,
There is FAR more I could post on warnings about sexual immorality.
If all that was a little TL:DR for you, remember what the 2 main issues in abortion are
Personhood and Bodily Rights
Does the bible make a case for the Personhood of fetuses? No. There are at least as many passages that seem to say that fetuses aren't persons as verses that do. This is all very unclear, and unless you know Hebrew and biblical scholarship, you probably shouldn't use any of these.
Does the bible support women's bodily autonomy? That is an emphatic NO. Women belong to men and sexual immorality among women is to be punished, not assisted. No Christian has bodily rights at all, according to Corinthians.
Therefore, modern Christians act in accordance with the bible when they do not support abortion on demand.