Is abortion a sin? Abortion, modernly defined as “the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy.” The connotation behind this word is that of intent. Mothers who abort their fetuses do so purposefully. This word is different from the word miscarriage because the latter suggests a lack of choice. Abortion is both a hot and uncomfortable topic today. That’s been the case for a while. Everyone is seemingly divided into two camps: pro-choice or pro-life. Contrary to what some would assume, Christians are divided on the topic as well.
A central point of debate is that of deciding where life begins. Does life begin at the date of delivery, the first heartbeat, of the moment an embryo forms? Another point of contention – who sets the rules for who. Is a man allowed to tell a woman what to do with a fetus? Or one woman to another?
There are some believers who support the pro-choice argument of “my body, my choice.” The rebuttal from the pro-life camp is that though the child is in the mother’s body, those are still two separate bodies. Connected, but separate, much as Christians are in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12). With the question of whether a man or woman can tell another woman what to do with her body, the authority doesn’t rest in man, but in God.
Sadly, the disagreement between Christians on this major topic is one more reason for people to undermine the faith. In reality, if adhering to Scripture, every Christian would be pro-life because of two important passages in Scripture. If adhering to Scripture, Christians would know when life began and by whose authority abortion is considered wrong. We would then be united on the topic as one body (1 Corinthians 12:25).
However widely debated, both the ideas of pro-choice and pro-life cannot be correct. For those unsure of where they should stand or how to talk to others, there is an answer. Keep reading. Here’s how you should talk to others about the sin of abortion.
Is Abortion a Sin and Does the Bible Talk about It?
Nowhere in Scripture is abortion mentioned by name, but that doesn’t mean the Bible has no response to the topic. We know from Scripture that there is “nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). That includes abortion. Is abortion a sin? This is a logical question any believer would ask when discussing the topic. Abortion is indeed a sin because of at least two passages in Scripture. The first readily available answer appears in the Book of Psalms.
“For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)
“My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began.” (Psalm 139:15-16)
Apparent in this passage, life for human beings begins in the womb. Not only that, but the one who forms us is our Father above. How then can we consider an embryo or even a fetus as not being alive, or even human? If a fetus (a stage in human development) is not a person then what is a fetus? The psalmist writes that God saw him when he was still “formless.” This passage gives us clarity on what we should consider as “life.” Another passage in Scripture tells us how to treat life.
“Do not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)
There is an important distinction between murder and killing, and that is intent. Killing can occur accidentally, but murder is done with purpose. This verse from the Book of Exodus is one of the Ten Commandments, laws set forth by God that we still honor today (Matthew 19:16-19). We now understand that life begins in the womb the moment God starts forming a person. Secondly, we know that we are not to murder any other person. With this information we come to the natural conclusion – abortion is indeed a sin.
What Does the Bible Say about the Beginning of Life?
Our previous passage from the Book of Psalms offers great insight into what God considers the beginning stages of life. That is not the only verse that speaks to childbirth. Each verse serves to further the point of honoring life, no matter how young, and no matter whether in the womb or not. Life is life, and we are all formed by God.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)
“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” (John 16:21)
There are even more passages in Scripture talking about children as they grow older. Children are mentioned in their relationship to God, to Jesus, to parents, and to grandparents. Every detail furthers their importance. We would do well to honor that importance and by doing so, honor God’s word. Though we have clarified how to respond to pro-choice arguments, that does not explain how we should talk about abortion to others.
Is Abortion a Sin? If so, How Should Christians Talk about Abortion to Others?
Abortion is not an easy topic to discuss, not when you are of the biblical pro-life mindset. Unfortunately, today, this particular sin is mainstream, popular, and encouraged. Most abortions do not happen because of circumstances involving rape or incest, but rather as convenience services for the mother and or father. While this may be true this does not give any believer permission to approach someone else with a judgmental attitude. Everything we do should be done to honor God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Therefore, when we have conversations with other people, especially with such a delicate topic, we must think of honoring God in these moments too.
Let us not forget that we are called to love God as our first and greatest commandment. The second greatest commandment is to love other people (Matthew 22:39). We cannot love other people if we confront them on the topic of abortion, telling them how wrong they are for their views. Instead, we can spark change and hold on to love by sharing truth with others, but we can do so gently. Not ever suggesting that their beliefs are moral, but also not belittling them. The balance may seem counterintuitive, but we need only imagine ourselves in that position.
If we have a false belief, how would we want God or our loved ones to talk to us? That is the same mindset we need to have with others. Abortion is indeed a sin, and we can hate the sin. Yet, we must strive not to hate the sinners because each of us is contending with our own problems, including wrong beliefs (Romans 3:23).