Religion and Abortion

Religion fuels much of the intensity of the abortion debate. Modern government is purposefully separated from organized religion. In the western world, the teachings of any one religion shouldn’t and don’t dominate the laws of the nation. However the morals and beliefs of the people are what create the morals and beliefs of the government, and oftentimes these individual morals are influenced by religion. Religion shouldn’t be discounted in any political decision, because by affecting many individuals, religion affects society.

There are hundreds of religions and beliefs and I know next to nothing about most of them. If you do know how a religion treats the abortion issue, please let us know. Judaism, because of value placed on the family, has condemned abortion for several thousand years with a few exceptions. The Roman Catholic Church, the largest organized church in the world and possibly the most influential organization in the past two millenia, openly condemns abortion. Many Protestant groups also share this condemnation. These groups feel pro-life because of passages from their holy texts:

The Bible

  • “Can a woman forget her infant, or be without tenderness for the child in her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” –Isaiah 49:15
  • “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” –Jeremiah 1:5
  • “…and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb.” –Luke 1:15; How could the Holy Spirit ever fill anything but a person?
  • “This is what the Lord says- He who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you” –Isaiah 44:2
  • “For You created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” –Psalm 139:13-14
  • “Before I was born the Lord called me…from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.” “And now the Lord says-He who formed me in the womb to be His servant…” –Isaiah 49:1,5
  • “Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One form us both within our mothers?” –Job 31:15
  • “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womband called me by His grace…” –Galatians 1:15
  • “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” –Psalm 51:5
  • “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.” –Psalm 127:3
  • “If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall surely be punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life…” –Exodus 21:22-25

Religious Leaders

  • “You shall not slay the child by abortion.” – Didache (early Christian literature)
  • Excommunication of women committing abortion after adultury –Council of Alvira (A.D. 305)
  • Denouncement of all abortion–Council of Ancyra (A.D. 314)
  • “The hairsplitting difference between formed and unformed makes no difference to us. Whoever deliberately commits abortion is subject to the penalty for homicide.” –Saint Basil
  • Condemnation of abortion for any and all reasons. “…he or she was deemed dignified and developed enough to be the possessor of an immortal soul…” –Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • Abortion of a formed fetus determined to be homicide — 11th century Catholocism
  • Pennance for abortion was exclusion from sacraments for life — Council of Elvera
  • During the Protestant Revolution, became accepted for ectopic pregnancies, cancerous wombs, and other cases to save the mother’s life.
  • Punishment for other kinds of abortion excommunication — Pope Pius IX (A.D. 1869)

More Information

Where does the Bible Stand?

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops on Abortion