Tough Topics: Is Abortion Morally Wrong?

Some people have been trying to make science and religion fight to the death for a very long time. I think this is a poor approach to both topics. Specifically, in regards to society’s “tough topic” of abortion, I think science and religion complement each other.

In this post, I want to look at what science and the Bible tell us about this tough topic. From both fields of study, I am hoping we will answer the question: Is Abortion Morally Wrong?

How Is Abortion Defined?
Firstly, it is worth quickly looking at how the word “abortion” is even defined according to the dictionary. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines abortion as “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.” It is interesting that one can cause “death” to something they never believed was “alive” in the first place.

What we conceive the fetus to be determines the value we assign to it. Much of the debate centers around the idea if a fetus is a human baby or is it nothing more than a blob of protoplasm? The argument supporting abortion would be that if the fetus is not a human then it is not murder and it is not the “death” of any human. Most people wouldn’t be bothered if you killed a blob of protoplasm, but if you killed a human baby many people would be upset.

What Does Science Tells Us About Abortion?
In this section, I just want to look at the scientific facts surrounding that “blob of protoplasm” also known as a fetus:

  • At conception, a baby receives its own DNA which is separate from their mother/father [1]
  • 2-3 weeks, the earliest cells of major organs are forming [2]
  • 18 days from conception there is a heart beating its own blood [3]
  • 28 days the baby has eyes, ears, a tongue, and muscles are forming [4]
  • 42 days the baby has a skeleton forming as well as fingers and toes [5]
  • 5-6 weeks, the baby is making movements 8-10 weeks before the mum will even notice [6]
  • 6-7 weeks, the baby has taste buds and teeth forming as well as significant changes to the hands and feet [7]
  • At just 8 weeks from conception, the baby responds to touch and pain [8] and has fingerprints [9]
  • 9 weeks, the baby can already suck their thumb & grasp an object, move the head forward and back, open and close the jaw, move the tongue, sigh, and stretch [10]
  • 10 weeks, the baby shows signs of fingernails and toenails [11]
  • 11 weeks there are facial expressions and gender is able to be known [12]
  • 18-19 weeks, the baby is dreaming [13]
  • As early as (if not earlier than) 24 weeks, a baby shows distress when a mother is smoking [14]
  • A baby can survive outside the womb at 24 weeks [15]

baby-in-wombIn the UK, abortion is legal until 24 weeks after conception. All of the facts above are prior to 24 weeks. Statistically, most abortions happen for the sake of “convenience” and things like “incest” and “rape” only account for a small minority of the billions of abortions that have taken place in the world.

What Does The Bible Tell Us About Abortion?
It should first be noted that no teaching in the Old Testament or New Testament explicitly condemns or condones abortion. We do, however, have Scriptures which tell us about underlying issues in this tough topic.

  1. One of the 10 Commandments is that “you shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).
    If abortion is terminating the life of a wholly separate human inside the womb, as science shows, then this is murder and it is wrong. Murder is a strong word which shows us the weightiness of this moral decision. If abortion is a “woman’s choice” then we must recognize that we are saying that we have the right to choose whom deserves life and whom deserves to be murdered. No matter what the reason is for someone wanting to murder a baby in a womb, it is not justified. Most people in the pro-life position would agree that it is acceptable to terminate the pregnancy only if the mother’s life is in danger (as pro-lifers would want to preserve life at all costs)
  2. Psalm 139:13-14 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well
    Life begins at conception. At the moment of conception, God was there working the DNA which is separate from both parents. The scientific process which typically takes 9 months was wonderfully designed by God. This Scripture teaches us that humans are fearfully and wonderfully made. Even if a child is going to be born with an illness, the parents should not be coerced into having an abortion. If there were a 2 year old child with Down’s Syndrome, we would not think it right to murder this child because of their condition, so why would it be right to do this to a baby inside the womb? Simply passing through the birth canal does not determine the morality or immorality of abortion.
  3. Romans 5:8 God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us
    There are many other passages which could relate more to abortion than this (I encourage you to research those as well), so why do I include this one? The reason I include this Scripture is because I want you to see that God cares about the unborn & the already born. More is said below about this, but Christ died for those who believe so that their sins may be washed away. No matter whether you’re pro-choice or pro-life, this is a call to live for the one who died (Jesus).

Our Response
For those who have had an abortion or are considering it:
Thank you for taking the time to read this post today. I would again direct you to Romans 5:8 listed above. As a Christian, I believe God passionately cares about life and does not want abortions to happen. I also believe in the Gospel which says that no sin is too big for Jesus to cover. You may feel regret over what you’ve done and the best way to deal with that is to receive forgiveness from God Himself (for all your sins and not just this one). If you are considering an abortion, please do not do it and instead give the baby up for adoption if you feel like you cannot take care of it. It’s possible that a barren couple could benefit from the life you have in you.

For Non-Christians:
You may not agree with the Biblical position that abortion is not moral; however, you must sincerely look at the scientific evidence of what goes on in the womb very early on. When I see the scientific description of a baby in the womb, it sounds a lot like my friend’s infant children. I would hope that we wouldn’t dream of murdering a young child, so why an unborn baby? It’s not merely a blob of protoplasm, but it is a life that would cringe in pain if a doctor was trying to vacuum it out of its mother’s womb

For Christians:
Someone needs to be a voice for the voiceless. The babies who have been aborted didn’t get to have their say, it wasn’t their choice to be aborted or not. I am not saying it is impossible for a Christian to have ever had an abortion, but you know about grace and the need for repentance. Show love and grace to those who you disagree with, there are far too many rude and hateful pro-lifers (as well as pro-choicers). There’s no need to be ungodly towards those who are committing abortion, but do pray that your love would lead them to see God’s love which would lead them to repentance. Come alongside people in this tough time dealing with this tough topic.

God Bless,
Tyson Bradley