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The Biblical Case Against Abortion

In response to last week’s post “Praying for Those Who Fight for Abortion,” some commenters suggested

the Bible doesn’t give us a definitive word on abortion. They raised the

question of whether a fetus is really a person. One commenter brought up the

fact that many Christians even support a woman’s right to choose. This simply

is not a biblical position. Here are a few of the strongest biblical reasons God

prohibits abortion.

1. The Bible describes God as active in creating human beings

from the moment of conception, as Psalm 139 says:

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. My

frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately

woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your

book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as

yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:13-16).

This Psalm describes God’s active, creative work within the

womb. Conception and pregnancy are not merely complicated biological processes,

but a work God has designed and is presently involved in. The Psalmist worships

God as active Creator every time a person is conceived. If you are

pregnant, God is knitting together a person in your womb.

2. Jesus Christ was incarnated through conception. It is

fascinating that Jesus Christ first came to this world as a zygote. He could

have arrived as a baby, child or even as a fully grown adult, but God ordained

that He would come through conception. Jesus Christ existed as a zygote,

embryo and fetus before He was born. When Jesus’ mother visited Elizabeth, the

unborn John the Baptist leapt in her womb. In a fascinating scene, the unborn

Jesus causes the unborn John to act in a way that sparked His mother Elisabeth,

filled with the Holy Spirit, to cry out:

Blessed are you among women, and

blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the

mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your

greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy (Luke 1:42-44).

Elizabeth describes the unborn Jesus as her Lord. Not only

was He already a person, He was already her Lord. Charles Scobie said it

well, “The Bible depicts the fetus as the work of God and the object of his

knowledge, love, and care, and hence its destruction must be considered

contrary to the will of God.”

3. God demonstrates personal knowledge and calling of the unborn.

The Lord says to the Prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew

you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to

the nations” (1:5). Before he was born, God knew Jeremiah, consecrated him and

appointed him as a prophet of the nations. God set apart Jeremiah from the womb.

For God, who a person will become is never something that remains to be seen.

God knows who a person will be and what a person will do. It

follows, then, that a person is a person as soon as God knows them; at

conception and not a second later.

4. The Old Testament Law significantly protected the unborn.

In the Old Testament, God provided several moral, civic and ceremonial laws to

govern the people of Israel. These laws showed the people how they ought to

handle judicial disputes and punish those who violate God’s laws. In Exodus, the Lord

specifically addresses the unborn:

When men strive together and hit a

pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one

who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him,

and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall

pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Exodus 21:22-25).

Causing a pregnant woman to prematurely give birth was to be

punished with a fine. Causing harm to that unborn child was a crime punishable

by death. In this command, God’s law clearly puts the same value on the unborn

and on the born.

5. Children are consistently described as a blessing from

God. In fact, Jesus was so counter-cultural in His acceptance of small

children, even the disciples were caught off guard:

And they were bringing children to

him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus

saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not

hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you,

whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them (Mark


The disciples assumed Jesus didn’t have time for or interest

in children, but Jesus not only affirmed their value, but regarded them as

closer to the kingdom than the adults present. In a sense, Jesus said you

need to become like these children in the way you relate to God. Psalm 127 also

demonstrates the same value of children:

Behold, children are a heritage

from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a 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! (Psalm 127:3-5)

Many in our culture have begun to think of children as a nuisance

or an inconvenience. The Bible

consistently calls them a blessing and reward from God, describing the mothers

and fathers of many children as richly blessed by God.


One thing is clear from God’s Word: God creates and

loves every human life and never authorizes the killing of the preborn. Many

debate whether abortion should be legal, but a more important question is

whether it’s offensive to the Creator. From this short list, we must conclude,

it certainly is. In fact, abortion destroys what Scripture tells us God is

presently knitting together.

I realize many have been deceived on this issue, had

abortions, and continue to struggle with the pain, guilt and shame of that

mistake. The good news is that Jesus Christ died to pay for the sin of abortion.

The Bible tells us Jesus “appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put

away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” 

Jesus wants every person to come to Him for forgiveness and freedom

from sin. He doesn’t want us to get hung up on our sin, but rather believe that

His death and resurrection was powerful enough to take it all away. In fact,

the Bible promises that Jesus will ultimately put an end to all sin. As John

wrote, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the

devil” (1 John 3:8).

I write as one who has received this forgiveness. Christ has

forgiven my sins and given me a new heart. As a result, I increasingly love

righteousness and hate sin. When I write about abortion, it’s not in a spirit of judgment or condemnation, but with the sincere hope that

those who are deceived would enjoy the same forgiveness and freedom I do. I want all to know the sweetness of forgiveness.

If you support abortion, know that I’m praying for you, not primarily that you

would change your mind on this particular issue, but that God would change your

heart and draw you into a saving knowledge of himself.

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About the Author

Andrew Hess

Andrew Hess is a Sr. Communications Specialist at Compassion International. He formally served as the director of content at the White Horse Inn and editor of His writing has also been featured on the Gospel Coalition. He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife Jen and their young son. Andrew and Jen met at the very first Boundless Pursuit conference at Focus on the Family in 2014.

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