Today we continue our series of bulletin articles looking at why abortion is wrong. This week I want to show that Moses condemns abortions.
Moses wrote the book of Exodus and in it we read one of God’s laws that specifically condemns abortion: ‘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’ (Exodus 21:22-25).
Now some say that this text does not condemn abortion. They interpret the text as talking about a miscarriage of the baby which then results in only a fine. Thus, they claim, it appears that the text is saying that an aborted infant doesn’t have the same value as another human because the normal penalty for killing another human is capital punishment.
However the text doesn’t necessarily imply that the baby is born dead, i.e. miscarried. The Hebrew word translated as ‘gives birth prematurely’ by the New International Version is usually used in reference to normal live births. To imply that the text is only referring to instances when the baby born is dead is not an accurate translation.
So what is the right meaning of the text? If two men are fighting and one hits a pregnant woman and she goes into labour, when the baby is born, the child should be assessed for injuries. The law then provides punishment in kind to the violent offender – just as in other instances of violence toward another human being. If the baby is bruised, the man is to be bruised. If the baby is dead, the man is to be put to death. So instead of the text devaluing infants, as some imply, the better understanding of the text shows a value for infants that matches the value placed on all other humans.
So is the abortion of an infant an unforgivable sin? No. Through repentance of your sin and trust in Jesus’ death for your sins you can be forgiven for any sin, including the wrongful termination of another human.
Do you recognise that abortion is wrong because it is condemned by Moses and thus condemned by God?