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An abortion is a premature expulsion of the foetus from the womb. It may be natural (miscarriage) or induced. Abortion causes many problems for Christians. It raises a number of issues and poses many questions:
When exactly does life begin?
Is one life more important then the other?
Who should decide?
Sanctity Of Life Quotes Bible
Abortion is highly emotive because it is literally a life or death decision.
I don’t have a very strong opinion on this topic because there are a lot of factors to be considered and it should not be a decision taken lightly. I think it is wrong to make a mother keep her baby if it is going to be severally handicapped or if the mother has been raped. I think that if the mother went along with the birth of a baby which was clearly a mistake, because she was raped, then that baby would be a constant reminder in her life of the disturbing event. I don’t think the mother should be able to have an abortion whenever she wants for any reason, because the foetus shouldn’t have to suffer because the parents made a mistake. I would therefore put myself under the same set of believes as a person from the Protestant Church.
Different churches have different points of views on this topic. The Anglican Church believes that the life of the foetus must be protected but if the foetus endangers the life of the mother, action can be taken.
The Protestant church believes that abortion is allowable in 3 circumstances:
* The life of the mother is in danger,
* The baby will be born with a severe handicap,
* Other children will suffer badly if a new baby arrives.
The Catholic Church is totally against abortion in any circumstances. The majority of Catholics believe that it is God’s will that they exist and that God intends for all babies to be born. Therefore if God is responsible for all human life than only God should have the right to take a life away. They look to the Bible to support this view although the word ‘abortion’ never appears.
Most of the passages Catholics quote in support of their beliefs describe God as the Creator. In Genesis 1.v26-27 (Old Testament) it is written ‘God created man in his own image’. This has been interpreted to mean that to give and take a life is God’s right alone.
Also in Genesis 2.v7 (Old Testament) the verse … ‘the Lord God… breathed into his nostrils the breathe of life and the man became a human being’ has been taken by some Christians to mean the same thing, that only God can give and take life under natural circumstances.
‘When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them’. This quote comes from Genesis 5v1+2 and Christians believe it has the same meaning as the other two quotes from Genesis.
The following passages could be classed as ‘Basic Commands’, which Christians should be able to follow without having any problems or troubles. In Exodus 20v13 (Old Testament) ‘You shall not kill’ is used support the view that to take an unborn life is to kill.
In I Corinthians 3v16+17 ‘Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple God will destroy him, for God’s temple is sacred and you are that temple’. This has been taken by Christians to mean that you must respect your body because it is God. Both these quotes are used by people who are against abortion.
There are a lot of passages in the Bible, which are saying that there is ‘life before birth’. ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall depart’ Christians have taken this to mean that there is life before birth, and therefore is against abortion.
‘You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb’ this quote is implying that there is a bond between mother and unborn child and unborn child is a life.
There is one passage in the Bible, in Luke 12 v 6, which ‘stands alone’. ‘Are not 5 sparrows sold for 2 pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God’. It is argued to be against abortion and many Christians take it to mean all individuals count even the smallest, even the handicapped. In Matthew 18 v 12-13 ‘If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, he would leave the ninety nine and go into the mountains and look for it, when he finds the astray sheep he will rejoice more over that sheep than the other ninety nine which didn’t go astray’. Christians take this to mean that every single person has a place in this earth and nobody will be forgotten.
In Jeremiah 1 v 4-5 it is quoted ‘before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations’. This quote has been taken by Christians to mean that before the baby was formed in the body, God already knew it and before the baby came out of the womb, it had already been blessed and God made sure it was a prophet to the nations. Therefore this quote is against abortion because it is implying that the baby has already been blessed by God and is already a person.
When people are considering this topic, they may refer to the Bible as a source of reassurance to their beliefs because it has teaching from God. But there are sections which can be take to support abortion too. All Christians look at the Bible for reassurance, different denominations look at different parts depending on their beliefs and interpret quotes in different ways.
Christians believe that the following quotes are for abortion. In Exodus 21v22 (Old Testament) it is written ‘If men who are fighting hit a pregnant women and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the women’s quote husband demands and the court allows’. Christians believe this quote suggests that only because a fine is commanded the foetus is not as important as mother’s life but still seen as valuable.
Another quote from the bible, which is for abortion, is ‘When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb’ this quote has been interpreted by Christians to believe the unborn child is alive. In Matthew 9v36 comes the quote ‘When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd’ teaches Christians to show compassion towards mother and her decision.
Most Catholics disagree with abortion in any circumstance. So all of the following quotes, which came from the Catholic Church, are against abortion. Cardinal Basil Hume said ‘As a human being, there is surely a deep revulsion in most of us the destruction of any human life in any form, including the womb…’ Catholics have taken this to mean that abortion is a destruction of a human life.
In 1930 Pope Pirus XII stated that a ‘Foetus has the same rights as its mother’ which Catholics have taken it to mean that neither the mother nor foetus is more important than the other and that should not be an argument for an abortion.
The Catholic Truth Society claimed ‘We have been created by Almighty God in his own image and likeness. No pregnancy is unplanned, because no baby can be conceived unless Almighty God intends that conception…’ Catholics have taken this to mean God plans every conception.
The Declaration on Procured Abortion stated ‘From the time the ovum is fertilized a new life is begun which is neither that of the mother nor father…’ and has been interpreted by Catholics to mean a child is a life from fertilization. Also in 1974, The Declaration on Procured Abortion stated ‘every man and women with feeling, and certainly every Christian, must be ready to do what he can to remedy them’ which Catholics have taken to mean Women’s rights are OK but not when it denies another person the right to live. ‘Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception…’ was stated by Humanae Vitae in 1968 and Catholics have taken to mean life begins at conception.
The Church Of England looks at abortion from a different perspective and believes that it is acceptable to have an abortion under some circumstances. The following quotes from the Church Of England could be seen to support abortion at certain times.
The Church Of England Report in 1984 stated ‘… the life of the foetus is not absolutely sacrosanct if it endangers the life of its mother’. The Church Of England has interpreted this to mean the life of the foetus is important but not as important as the mothers because if the mother’s life was lost it would affect more people than if the foetus’ life was lost.
‘…Abortion is generally undesirable but that it may be acceptable in some circumstances’ was stated by Christians For Free Choice and although the quote doesn’t state the circumstances in which it is acceptable, it clarifies that each situation has to be looked at and treated individually. The following quote states the 3 circumstances in which The Church Of England thinks abortion is acceptable. ‘…While abortion should not be accepted – certainly not as a method of birth control – it may be permitted in certain cases:’
1. If there is a serious risk to the mother’s life
2. If conception takes place as a result of rape
3. If there is a grave risk that the baby will be born handicapped
The Church Of England has taken this to mean that there are 3 cases when abortion is acceptable and to withhold compassion is evil but abortion should not be used as a method of contraception.
The main comparison between the different churches beliefs is that the Catholic Church think abortion is wrong in any circumstances and The Church Of England has 3 circumstances in which they think abortion is acceptable but otherwise they agree with each other, accepting that it really is an undesirable response to a difficult situation.