Today we continue our series of bulletin articles looking at why abortion is wrong. My articles so far have focused on the Biblical evidence against abortion. I now want to show that abortion has a long history of being forbidden by God’s people.

Although the Jews had their Bible, there were other writings to help Jews understand what God required. Just like we have Christian books that are not God’s word, but help us understand God’s word. And it is in these writings that we can see that the Jews in the first century clearly believed abortion was sinful. In the ESV Study Bible, Grudem and his colleagues write: ‘…the Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides 184–186 (c. 50 b.c.–a.d. 50) says that “a woman should not destroy the unborn in her belly, nor after its birth throw it before the dogs and vultures as a prey.” Included among those who do evil in the apocalyptic Sibylline Oracles were women who “aborted what they carried in the womb” (2.281–282). Similarly, the apocryphal book 1 Enoch (2nd or 1st century b.c.) declares that an evil angel taught humans how to “smash the embryo in the womb” (69.12). Finally, the first-century Jewish historian Josephus wrote that “the law orders all the offspring to be brought up, and forbids women either to cause abortion or to make away with the fetus” (Against Apion 2.202).’

And it’s not as though abortion was unacceptable across all cultures and so the Jews were just upholding the norm. Roman writings condone abortion/infanticide: ‘Cicero (106–43 b.c.) records that according to the Twelve Tables of Roman Law, “deformed infants shall be killed” (De Legibus 3.8). Plutarch (c. a.d. 46–120) spoke of those who he said “offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds; meanwhile the mother stood by without a tear or moan” (Moralia 2.171D).’ (From the ESV Study Bible).

Therefore God’s people have a long tradition of condemning abortion. But is the abortion of a person 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 abortion is wrong like God’s people have always done so?

Joel Radford.