Engaging in a biblical debate about abortion might seem a little ridiculous if you do not, in fact, believe in God or the Bible. But you’ll never get the choice message across to a Christian fundamentalist without trying! The bible does not mention abortion. It does not define life at conception.
Below are a few common Biblical arguments, and some push backs you can use. For the truly adventurous, I’ve also included some Bible verses that support Pro-Choice arguments. Trust me, I went to Christian college (shudder).
- The word ‘fetus’ never occurs in the bible: No kidding. Fetus/foetus is of Latin origin. Its generally agreed that the Christian Bible was originally written in a combination of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. It isn’t in the bible because there was no such word.
- “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee,” Jeremiah 1:4-10: Anti-choice Christians love this one. But read the rest of the verse and chapter. In this passage, God is speaking directly to Jeremiah – a prophet – not to humanity writ large.
- God creates every life, and every life is precious to him: Not according to the Old Testament. There are a handful of passages that threaten miscarriages and ‘untimely births’ onto populations as holy punishments. Also, this begs the question of what constitutes life. There is no passage that says every pregnancy is precious.
- The Bible repeatedly equates breath with life. “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being,” Genesis 2:7. That’s just one verse, but there are tons that equate breathing with living. A fetus does not and cannot breath. Six times the Bible even uses the specific phrase, the ‘breath of life’.
- The Bible marks birth as the opposite of death, not conception. “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth,” Ecclesiastes 7:1.
- The Bible occasions a child’s birth as a cause for celebration, not conception. “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world,” John 16:21.
- Do your own research! Try searching Bible.com for key words like, birth, born, stillbirth, miscarriage, womb, etc. You’ll be surprised how much ammunition you find. Also, The Freedom From Religion Foundation has great posts about what the bible has to say about abortion.
Kate is a public policy expert with a vintage dress obsession.