Does the Bible explicity mention abortion?

Does the Bible explicitly mention abortion anywhere? If so, does it prohibit it? How about birth control? Both abortion and birth control methods were available at least in New Testament times (of uncertain effectiveness of course, but at least they thought they might work at the time), so one could think that if there were a strong reason to prohibit them, it would show up somewhere in the Bible.



As I have been told, opposition to abortion is based largely on Jeremiah 1:4-5

If your train of thought is going where I think it is going, keep in mind that at least among Catholics, scripture is one, but not the only, source of authority.

Not in the Old Testament. Closest it comes is describing the tort law in case someone violently caused a woman to miscarry. It does not explicitly address whether or not the woman is allowed to abort of her own will.

Of course, the Talmud finds the answer to these questions derived from the words of the Torah, but I wouldn’t think of that as explicit.

I am not sure the Bible explicitly addresses abortion but many seem to think it can be inferred from the following (not an exhaustive list):

“And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life.” (Exodus 21:22-23)
"Did not He who made me in the womb make him, And the same one fashion us in the womb? (Job 31:15)

“Yet Thou art He who didst bring me forth from the womb; Thou didst make me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. Upon Thee I was cast from birth; Thou hast been my God from my mother’s womb.” (Psalms 22:9-10)

“For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalms 139:13-16)

“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)

“But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased” (Galatians 1:15)

In additon to the above references, it’s helpful to ask the question “why would a woman get an abortion?” Except for when the mother’s life is in danger, the reasons that people get abortions are morally unjustifiable. Usually, the reason is economic, and traditional Christian morality says that you should never, ever, value money over someone’s life.

It’s more helpful to stick to the question asked in the OP, and not screw up GQ with GD-type answers.

There are plenty of threads in GD where you can argue pro and con on abortion. Go there if that’s what you want to do.

(bolding mine)

I believe you forgot to add an IMHO here. :wink:
Moral beliefs vary greatly, even within a single religion (Christianity, in this instance) and not every Christian believes that abortion is wrong, biblically or morally.

The only thing I can gather from the verses quoted, is the Christian belief that God created humanity, and therefore any children borne of humans. Whether that constitutes a belief in a “spark of humanity” (or whatever you want to call it) at the time of conception or at some later period in a pregnancy is left in doubt. I am only familiar with a couple of the quotes and haven’t had a chance to look up the others for context, but from the verses quoted, all I can see is the belief that at some point during a pregnancy there is viability (to use a contemporary term). That point is not specified.


Of course since a fetus is not a person, this has no relevance.



Yes. There are numerous passages in Joshua where God exhorts the invading Hebrews to cut the babies from the pregnant enemy mothers’ bellies.

Wha does this have to do with elective abortion?

What does elective abortion have to do with the OP?

Inasmuch as the OP was asking about abortion and birth control in the same context, it is not an unreasonable inference. I would not group together abortion, birth control and ripping unborn fetuses from the wombs of your enemies.

The OP was about Biblical standards, not modern or legal standards.

Numbers 5:11-31 seems to be a ritual to abort a fetus if the woman carrying it has committed adultery. It depends on the translation of a word that could mean either “thigh” or “uterus”.

Well not much, I suppose, but it does give us insight into God’s general opinion of the sanctity of life in the womb. Which we would therefore have to interpret as “highly subjective”.


I believe we are very heavily into GD territory here.

Don’t bother getting up, I’ll be happy to move it for you.


Birth control is an issue among Catholics primarily. As mentioned above, the Bible isn’t our only source of guidance. Just to clear that up.

Actually, looking into it further, it would seem the arguement for abortion is better than that against it in the bible. Neither way is truly made that clear but if someone is going to quote passages like the ones I listed above then they need to be aware of others that go against that view.

  • “And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life.” (Exodus 21:22-23)

I think this one is perhaps most telling as it talks about making a woman miscarry her baby and God relegates it to a civil matter. If they go further and kill the woman then God deems the guilty as deserving of death. In this instance the Bible is clearly distinguishing between a fully formed person and a fetus and the fetus is given decidedly less status.

It is worth noting my
I also found these which seem quite interesting as counterpoints the notion that the Bible fobids abortion and/or that life begins at conception:

  • “If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things, and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, `Better the miscarriage than he, for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he.’”
    Ecclesiastes 6:3-5
  • “And Job said, ‘Let the day perish on which I was to be born, and the night which said, “a boy is conceived.” May that day be darkness; let not God above care for it, nor light shine on it.’”
    “Why did I not die at birth, come forth from my womb and expire? Why did the knees receive me, and why the breasts, that I should suck? For now I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept then, I would have been at rest, with kings and with counselors of the earth, who rebuilt ruins for themselves; or with princes who had gold, who were filling their houses with silver,. Or like the miscarriage which is discarded, I would not be, as infants that never saw light. There the wicked cease from raging, and there the weary are at rest. The prisoners are at ease together; they do not hear the voice of the taskmaster. The small and the great are there, and the slave is free from his master.”

Job 3:2-4,11-19

  • “Why then hast Thou brought me out of the womb? Would that I had died and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not been, carried from womb to tomb.”
    Job 10:18-19
  • “And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver.”
    Leviticus 27:6

Here we have the bible putting a price on children. Note that under one month apparently has no value.

  • “Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them.”
    Numbers 3:15

Once again children less than a month old were for some reason not deemed worth counting.

  • "And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Ezekiel 37:8-10

God suggests here that the men he was re-animating were not alive till they drew breath.

  • “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
    Genesis 2:7

Again not alive, even though being truly created by the hand of God, till God got Adam breathing.

  • “And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.”
    Genesis 38:24
    Again not necessarily an exhaustive list but food for thought.