Essay, Research Paper: Abortion And Bible


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I am for abortion in most cases. It is my personal belief that an unborn fetus
is not a living being. At the time of birth, when the fetus is out of the
mother's womb and breathing on it's own, then it is to be considered a living
being in my opinion. Let me touch on the religious aspect of abortion since the
original author has elected to mention it. I did some research on the biblical
aspects and was surprised to find some interesting interpretations on the
subject. The Bible doesn't seem to tackle the topic of abortion directly. Roy
Bowen Ward quotes two anti-abortion books in his essay on the personhood of the
fetus: John T. Noonan (1970) said: "The Old Testament has nothing to say on
abortion." John Connery (1977) said: "If anyone expects to find an
explicit condemnation of abortion in the New Testament, he will be disappointed.
The silence of the New Testament regarding abortion surpasses even that of the
Old Testament." Ward found this silence difficult to understand, because
abortion was widely practiced during New Testament era in the Middle East. The
Assyrians had a law concerning self-induced abortions as far back as the 12th
century BC. On the other hand, there are some Biblical passages that might be
interpreted as referring to the worth of a fetus. But even these suggest that a
fetus carried less value than human life. Here are samples of passages that I
have found that possibly address this subject: Genesis 2:7 God made Adam's body
out of the dust of the earth. Later, the "man became a living soul"
only after God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." This
would imply that Adam's personhood started when he took his first breath.
Following this reasoning, a newborn becomes human after it starts breathing; a
fetus is only potentially human; an abortion would not terminate a human life.
The most important word in the Hebrew Scriptures that was used to describe a
person was "nephesh;" it appears 755 times in the Old Testament. It is
translated as "living soul" in the above passage. One scholar, H.W.
Wolff , believes that the word's root means "to breath." He argues
that during Old Testament times, "Living creatures are in this way exactly
defined in Hebrew as creatures that breathe." Leviticus 27:6 And if it be
from a month old even unto five years old, then Thy estimation shall be of the
male five shekels of silver and for the female ten shekels. A child was only
given a value after the age of one month; boys were worth five shekels; girls
three; below that age, (and presumably before birth) they were assigned no
monetary value. Numbers 3:15 Take a census...including every male a month or
more old. Only male babies over one month of age were considered persons for the
purposes of enumeration. A baby under one month of age and a fetus were
apparently not worthy of being counted as a human. Ecclesiastes 6:3-5 If a man
begats 100 children...and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he
have no burial; I say that an untimely birth [a miscarriage] is better than he.
The passage implies that a person can have many children and a long life; but if
he is not motivated by love and goodness, and if he is not properly buried, then
it would have been better if he had been born dead. The suggestion here is that
a terminated pregnancy (one that does not produce a live birth) is better than a
pregnancy that produced a life that is empty and miserable. In closing, I would
also remind the original author that the United States Supreme Court ruled on
abortion in the Roe v. Wade case of 1973. This law left the decision to abort a
pregnancy, during the first trimester, up to the woman involved and her
physician. That decision marked an important turning point in public health
policy. It made it possible for women to get safe, legal abortions from
well-trained medical practitioners and therefore led to dramatic decreases in
pregnancy-related injury and death.

BibliographyRoy Bowen Ward, "Is the Fetus a person?" at:
John T. Noonan, "An Almost Absolute Value in History," in John T.
Noonan, ed., "The Morality of Abortion: Legal and Historical
Perspectives," Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, (1970), Page. 6 John
Connery, S.J. "Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic
Perspective," Loyola University Press, Chicago IL, (1977), Page. 34. Hans
Walter Wolff, "Anthropology of the Old Testament," Fortress Press,
Philadelphia PA, (1974), Pages 14 & 59. B.A. Robinson, "What The Bible
Says About Abortion" at:
B.A. Robinson, "What The Bible Says About Abortion" at:
B.A. Robinson, "WhatThe Bible Says About Abortion" at:
B.A. Robinson, "What The Bible Says About Abortion" at:
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