It is alarming to realize the nonchalance on the part of many concerning abortion. But it is not new. Someone stated in a magazine article, "Abortion is finding its place as a perfectly acceptable and valid health measure. We no longer think of it as a crime."
There are those who say that every woman has a right to control her own body. But more importantly, only God has final rights to any person's body. He brought that body into life and someday will take that body out of life. In the meantime, He provides the very sustaining power for the body's life to continue.
The Bible speaks of a fetus as a person, not simply tissue that can be discarded if found to be a bother or nuisance. Since the fetus is a person from the moment of conception, then destroying a fetus is killing a person.
"In the past, some people have mistakenly speculated that perhaps the body might be in the process of formation for some time, and then 'God breathes a soul into it.' They had it backward. The life that is present forms matter into a body for itself" (Joseph Breig, "Life Forms Matter," The Catholic News, January 24, l974, p. 8).
"Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk … and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit" (Job l0:8-l2).
"Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name … and now the Lord says — he who formed me in the womb to be his servant'" (Isaiah 49:l, 5).
"The word of the Lord came to me, saying , 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah l:4-5).
In the following passages we note that personality is ascribed to the unborn.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm l39:l3-l6).
"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him" (Psalm l27:3).
Exodus 21:22-25 instructs how Israel was to judge a circumstance relating to the death of the unborn:
"If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."
All of the latter deals with unintentional hurt which comes to a pregnant woman; how much more will divine penalty come upon those who intentionally discard the unborn baby?
The Gospel of Luke ascribes personality to the unborn baby within Elizabeth:
"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, said. . .'As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy'" (l:4l, 44).
Mere tissue does not leap for joy; only personhood leaps for joy. The Bible regards the unborn as having personality.
In Galatians, Paul speaks of himself as person while still in his mother's womb, but more — a person consecrated by God for a holy mission (compare Jeremiah l:5 for the same accent):
"But when God, who set me apart from birth, and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles…" (Galatians l:l5-l6).
"For all the talk of freedom and self-determination, the abortion movement is at its heart a movement denying rights to a silent segment of humanity and soliciting public sanction, support and subsidy to its own cause " (Donald P. Shoemaker, Abortion, the Bible, and the Christian, Hayes Publishing Company, l976, p. iv).
- J. Grant Swank, Jr.