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What Are The Biblical And Church Teachings About Abortion?
There is not a lot in the Bible about abortion because there were not the medical advancements that there are today, so an abortion would have been impossible to perform.
Life and death are the going in and out of the world. Christians believe in God and recognise his power, and then respond to it. To do this, you must be faithful – full of faith. The Kingdom of God represents his authority over the whole universe.
Before you are born, you are in the womb. Are you in the Kingdom of God before birth? To be in the Kingdom of God you need to believe and recognise God, but how can you do this if you have not been taught about God, or have not experienced life yet? The unborn child may recognise its creator, and so would be in the Kingdom of God. The Churches teach that an infant has more spirituality than adults, and as you grow up, you lose that part of your innocence, and beliefs. In Luke 18:16-17 it says ‘But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Remember this! Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”’ This is explaining that only a child’s mind is spiritual enough to truly see the Kingdom of God. For example, if you ask a young child who puts the spots on a ladybird, then they will answer ‘God’, but if you ask an adult, they will probably say ‘evolution’, or something like that.
You cannot see the Kingdom of God, in Luke 17:20-21, Jesus teaches the Pharisees ‘The Kingdom of God does not come in such a way as to be seen. No one will say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” Because the Kingdom of God is within you.’ A Christian might interpret this as a pregnant woman has a baby inside her, so the Kingdom of God is part of the baby, meaning if you abort that unborn child, you are taking away part of God.
What churches teach, is that it could be wrong to have an abortion. If you have an abortion, then you are taking away a life. It’s murder.
The Sanctity of Life means that life is holy and should be respected, because God created life, thus, he created us. The Bible, says in Genesis 1:26 ‘Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us” They have the power over the fish, the birds and all the animals domestic and wild, great and small.’ This shows that God created humans; another example in Genesis 2:7 is when God created Adam, ‘Breathed life into his nostrils, the breath of life.’
We are the temple and God lives in us, meaning we live in God, and we were conceived in Gods womb.
There is more about God’s creation of life in Jeremiah 1:5 says ‘I chose you before I gave you life, to be a prophet.’ God plans our birth because he has a plan for us.
Christians believe that human life is sacred, that other animals don’t have souls, but deserve respect, and that God knows and plans the existence of everyone. It is believed that when we die, out souls live on, so we actually never really die at all, but just ascend to a higher plain of existence, making it more holy, because it is eternal.
The Church tries to teach people not to get abortions, because you will be meddling in God’s plans for everything, and you will be breaking one of the Ten Commandments, ‘do not commit murder’.
There are three ways to have an abortion:
- Vacuum Suction – a very strong vacuum will suck out the pack of cells that is forming a baby. This can only be done before the foetus is formed, and can damage the woman’s reproductive system, like the fallopian tube and the ovaries, possibly meaning, that the woman may become infertile or barren, so she would be unable to have children if she wanted them in the future.
- If the baby is formed, then a Vacuum would not be possible. In this case, the doctors would have to cut the baby out of the womb. We don’t know if the baby would feel pain, when this happens or not, but it would die.
- The third option would be to deliver a dead baby. The child would medically die in the womb. You would be induced, so the baby was born and it would be a still birth.
The reason we have abortions today is because medical advances have been made and sex is used as recreation, where people have sex for fun, not actually wanting a child. Sex is used more as a recreation now a days because we have things like contraception and the pill, which although don’t a hundred percent, reduce the chances of having a child significantly. The most commonly used product for birth control, are condoms, which prevent women from getting pregnant ninety percent of the time.
The parents may not want a child because they are not ready to take on the responsibility of looking after another life, they want to progress in their careers and children would make that much more difficult. Christians teach that if you don’t want kids, then don’t have sex, although other reason for an abortion may be that the baby appears to have serious health problems, it could be an ectopic pregnancy or the pregnancy might be a result of rape.
Abortions in England and Wales, 1996
Weeks of Pregnancy
Number of abortions
In 1996 there were about 175,146 abortions in England and Wales alone, and since then, the number has increased.
Some of the early Church fathers thought abortion was allowable before ensoulment. This was forty days for a boy and ninety for a girl, although at that time, they didn’t have the technology to see if it was a boy or a girl, so it was made up to forty days. This was based on the early understandings of science, but is generally not accepted now.
Today, churches of different denominations have different views on abortions. The Roman Catholic Church and Pro-life teaches that it is very wrong to kill an unborn child, no matter how old it may be, because it deserves to have the same rights to life as anyone else. Roman Catholics, feel that even in the case of a rape, a foetus should still not be aborted, because it is not the child’s fault.
The Salvation Army also think that life is sacred, but in some cases would accept an abortion. For example, if the mother’s life was at risk, which would be called therapeutic abortion.
The United Reformed Church is a bit more lenient, and will sometimes accept an abortion more often than others, although the matter is taken very seriously and the parents would be urged not to go through with it.
Although there are those who think that abortion is wrong, there are others who believe women should have the right to an abortion. They feel that it is the mother’s body, and she should decide whether or not she wants to continue with a pregnancy.
The Methodist Church teaches that respect should be given to the foetus, right from the moment of conception, and should have the same rights as anyone else. In a conference in 1976, the Church stated that abortion is always evil and should always be avoided if possible. They do realise that sometimes an abortion is necessary and every now and then is the ‘lesser of two evils’; for example, when the mother’s health is at risk, or id the embryo is seriously handicapped, where if they were born, it would be a short and painful life, full of suffering.
Although the Methodists disagree with abortion, they realise that if it was illegal, there would be an increase of ‘back-street’ abortions, which done by armatures are dangerous, illegal abortions, which have fatal results for the mother