Christian Views on Abortion

By Natasha Williams

1ai) What is meant by the word “abortion”?

1aii) What biblical and Church teachings might be used in a discussion about it?


        Abortion is a subject that people, Christians especially, have very strong views about and different denominations have varying feelings about how it should be viewed. They may refer to the teachings of Jesus, quotations from the Bible or even modern happenings.

An abortion is when a foetus exits the body of the woman carrying it before it is fully developed into a baby, this can be via surgery or due to natural causes. If this happens naturally then it is called “miscarriage” or “spontaneous abortion”, which means it happens without warning and gives the mother or doctors no choice in the matter. However, “procured abortion” is when the foetus is removed in order to terminate the pregnancy deliberately. This normally occurs within the first few months of pregnancy, as it is safer for the woman. Abortion has been legal in England, Scotland and Wales since 1967 as long as it is done so before 28 weeks of pregnancy. However, when the Human fertilisation and embryology Act was introduced in 1990, it stated that it was illegal after 24 weeks of pregnancy to abort the birth, as the baby can survive on its own, therefore in the eyes of the law this is considered to be murder. Some believe that the woman should have the right to choose if she wants an abortion or not, as it is necessary to persuade 2 doctors before the surgery can commence. A woman might say that the birth would cause her to suffer from depression and she might feel that she couldn’t cope with raising a child at that specific time. Also, it might endanger her or the child and may affect her mental or physical health in some way. This means that if the doctors do not think her reasons for having the abortion appropriate then the woman can’t have an abortion legally. She would have to undergo the pregnancy and birth against her wishes and then either put her baby up for adoption or care for it herself, despite the surrounding difficulties such as potential depression. This view is known as the “pro-choice” argument and it says that the woman has the right to choose what happens to her body and since the foetus isn’t separate from the woman, it must be, in effect, part of her. Some denominations, such as the Roman Catholics, oppose this and may refer to biblical quotes such as in Genesis 1: “God created man in the image of himself” and also from Psalms 139: 13-15: “…it was you, Lord, that created my inmost self, and put me together in my mothers womb”. Both of these show that life is a gift from God and should be treated with the utmost respect and care, in which case abortion would be strongly opposed by Christianity. They believe that the effects of abortion could cause more damage than the birth itself. The woman might feel guilt for giving up her child and may result in her becoming depressed or mentally ill in some way. Also, the procedure could result in her being infertile, which would be a large consequence to deal with.      

        Others may too believe it to be wrong as the sixth of the Ten Commandments in the Bible says, “Thou Shalt not murder” and also due to the fact that God is the giver of life and only he should decide one’s fate. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “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 nation.” This shows how God may plan the lives of every person before they are born and so we should not interfere with this by discontinuing the pregnancy and therefore ending the life of the unborn child. This is effectively also achieved by using contraception such as a condom because it prevents the sperm from entering the woman’s body altogether to fertilise the egg. The Roman Catholic Church believe that contraception is against the “natural law”, as it stops humans from carrying out the wishes of God, who said, “Be fruitful and multiply”. On the other hand, the Anglican Church suggests that contraception might allow parents to plan their family more responsibly, which could help to reduce the amount of unwanted children, ultimately reducing the number of abortions.  

Join now!

        Others consider it murder to abort the baby even though it is still a foetus, as they believe it to be a life on the day of fertilisation; every sperm is sacred, therefore showing that God is the giver and taker of life so why should we decide whether to let someone live or not? Alternative Christian writings, such as the “Didache” (Teachings of the Twelve Apostles), state their views against the matter - "You shall not procure abortion, nor destroy a newborn child". Also, the idea of agape might support the view that all should be loved, even if ...

This is a preview of the whole essay