EAST                                                                                                              Dr. Jack L. Arnold

Singapore                                                                                            Equipping Pastors Int’l, Inc.



Lesson 24

Abortion Practically Considered



A.   It has been estimated that around two million abortions take place in the United States each year. There were multiple millions more the world over. Abortion is becoming an accepted practice and the numbers of abortions will increase as sexual immorality increases.

B.    If it can be proven that abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, then, without a doubt, abortion is the biggest social problem of all time, involving more loss of life than all of man’s wars put together.


II.             MISCARRIAGE AND THE BIBLE (Exodus 21:22-23)

A.   Forced abortions for any reason, even in the saving of the life of the mother, are not mentioned in the Bible. Biblical law does, however, deal with miscar­riage caused by a blow to the mother. This incident may help us determine the value of the fetus as it relates to abortion.

B.    One interpretation of Exodus 21:22-23 is that this describes a case in which a woman suffers a miscarriage with the death of a fetus. The “any other in­jury” refers to the death of the mother. If the mother dies, the life of the one who struck the blow is to be taken in death. However, if the mother lives and the fetus dies, the man who struck the blow will pay a fine to her husband. This view concludes that the life of the mother is more valuable than the life of a fetus. Objection: The interpretation of “any other in­jury” (NASB) is too subjective and does not seem to be consistent with Old Testament law which says, “Thou shalt not kill.”


There is no scriptural proof that the unborn child is anything less than a human being from the point of conception. Exodus 21:22-25 is the only passage even alleged to furnish such proof, but it does not solve the problem on any reasonable exegesis. On the exegesis most favorable to this claim the life of the unborn child is given less value than the life of his mother. However, even this exegesis fails to show that the unborn child is less than a human being --something it must show to prove the contention in question. (John M. Frame, Abortion—and Some Christian Assumptions)


C.    Another interpretation of Exodus 21:22-23 (and I believe the right one) is that “any other injury” is not limited to the killing of a mother alone but covers the death of the unborn child. Verse 22 might then deal with the in­stance in which the blow causes the woman to deliver her child prematurely and neither the mother or the child is permanently harmed. In such cases the offender is to pay a fine for his reckless misdeed. But if “any other injury” follows, meaning the death of the mother or the child, then the one who gave the blow is to have his life taken. The Old Testament principle is “a life for a life.”


D.   The important thing to note is that this passage is not talking about forced abortion but miscarriage.


In neither of these interpretations does biblical law provide any sanction for abortion. As in the Bible, so in the code of Ham­murabi, a miscarriage caused by a man other than the husband always carried an accompanying penalty from death to fines. Furthermore, this passage is a discussion of miscarriage and has no direct appli­cation to induced abortions, therapeutic or otherwise! (Nicholas and Howe, “Abortion,” Moody Monthly, 1971)



A.   Sixth Commandment (Deut. 5:17 - “You shall not kill”). The word “kill” actually means in the Hebrew “premeditated murder.” God is speaking about the deliberate destruction of innocent human life without regard for its God-given absolute value and inviolability.

B.    Ingredients for Murder. For an act of murder, the following must take place:

1.     A person is killed.

2.     The person is killed intentionally.

3.     The person killed is innocent.

4.     There is unlawful or sinful motive involved in the kill­ing.

All of these ingredients of murder do apply to abortion because:

1.     In abortion a human being is killed.

2.     In abortion the human being is killed intentionally, by an act of the will.

3.     In abortion the human being who is killed is innocent.

4.     In all abortion cases, except critical abortion (abortion to save the mother’s life), there is unlawful motive.

NOTE:  Only critical abortion may be placed outside the realm of murder be­cause even though an innocent human being is intentionally killed, there is no sinful motive involved. Critical abortion involves the choice of the lessor of two evils. NOTE: It should be noted that capital punishment and killing in war are not murder because the victims are not innocent or do not have the right motives.

C.    Types of Murder in Abortion. Abortion is a gruesome, barbaric, unnatural act and it is a product of a dehumanizing society. It is murder in the first degree.


Abortions are accomplished by four main methods. In a D & C abortion, the fetus is dismembered and scraped cut of the womb. In a suction abortion, the fetus is torn to pieces and sucked out by an apparatus 29 times more powerful than an upright vacuum cleaner. These two methods are the ones used during the first 10-12 weeks of pregnancy. In a salting out abortion, used after 16 weeks, a concen­trated salt solution is injected into the uterus. The fetus breathes and swallows this solution, is poisoned by it, often convulses, and then dies. The outer layer of fetal skin is also burned off, and these babies take at least an hour to die. In a hysterectomy abortion used after the 15th week of pregnancy, the uterus is surgically opened and the child removed. Most of these babies are born alive and moving, and some of them will cry. They are either killed or left to die. (Dr. Earl Johnson, “Abortion, Human Sexuality and Holy Scripture)




A.   Pro-abortionists often make a good case for abortion by playing on the emotions of people, getting them to put their attention on cases where rape is involved, or where the child may be deformed or when the life of the mother is endangered. These reasons are a very small percentage of abortions today. What are the therapeutic reasons pro-abortionists give for abortion?

B.    Problems in Child Birth. Today, it is a rare occasion when the unborn child must be taken to save the life of the mother. Dr. Joseph P. Donnally, former Medical Director of the Margaret Hague Hospital in New Jersey says, “Abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother.” Dr. Bernard J. Pisani, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University School of Medicine states, “Medical reasons for provoking abortion are just about non-existent. In fact, no basis on pure medical grounds ever really stands up.” NOTE: If there is any basis for abortion, it may be to save the life of the mother.


But are there circumstances justifying the killing of unborn human beings? This is a difficult question. The need to kill an unborn child to save the life of his mother is perhaps the most plausible set of circumstances for a justified abortion. But is it in fact justifiable to kill one human being to save the life of another? This question is one which I cannot now resolve. (John N. Frame)


C.    Rape or Incest.  Pro-abortionists say that in cases of rape or incest, a woman should have the right to terminate her pregnancy by abortion. NOTE: Rape is a tragedy and brings scars and much embarrassment, but if it results in a pregnancy, there is still an innocent child inside the mother. Most rape cases never end in pregnancy. However, a fetus’ right to life should never be conditioned on how the person begins. It is true that the child may be un­wanted, but if the choice is between being unwanted and being eliminated, what kind of a choice is that? It would be best for the woman to have the child and put it up for adoption after birth.

D.   Physical Defects (Eugenic Abortion). Today we are told that one out of every ten babies is born with a defect of some sort. Medical science is making significant advances, both in giving corrective treatment to the fetus before birth and detecting the presence of fetal deformities. Pro-abortionists feel abortions should be permitted for fetuses that give indication of having serious, irremediable abnormalities, especially if parents cannot handle the situation. NOTE: God sees to it that about 30% of all fetuses are lost due to spontaneous abortion. To some extent, at least this may be God’s way of eliminating defective fetuses. Furthermore, to abort for the possibility of deformity of the fetus is quite risky. Medical science can rarely detect with reasonable accuracy a deformed fetus. A fetus destroyed may well be a healthy fetus. Furthermore, while 10% of all babies are born with some defect, most are only slight defects that need no correction. Well over half of the serious defects can be corrected satisfactorily or compensated for in some way. Furthermore, the likelihood of fetal deformity even when a woman contacts German measles is very low.


The most critical period of the pregnancy is the first three months. If the mother contacts the disease (measles) during the first month, the likelihood of serious fetal defect is 50-50. Overall, for the three-month critical period, the chances are 15-20% that a seriously defective child will be born. In other words, parents confronted with this situation take an 80-85% chance--if they decide on abortion--of destroying a perfectly healthy or only slightly defective baby. (Eternity Magazine)


E.    Economic Necessity. Some parents rationalize an abortion because “they can’t support another kid!” They further reason that the world is overpopulated and an unwanted child would disturb the socio-economic structure. NOTE: Is it right to kill such persons to solve such problems? Unborn children are persons too. Killing innocent fetuses is not the way to solve economic and social problems. It is madness to reason this way, for if we kill unwanted fetuses for economic reasons, why not kill the older unwanted people? Why not kill infants who are unwanted and bothersome? For socio-economic reasons, death may be recommended to take care of the aged, infirmed or for anyone who appears to face on-going difficulties.

F.    Legal Ground. Pro-abortionists feel a mother has a right over her own body and over her privacy when she is denied an abortion on demand. NOTE: A fetus is a person and is not part of the mother biologically, genetically or spiritually. Furthermore, a woman has no total rights over her body for the body belongs to God (Isa. 44:24). In a very special sense, a Christian woman’s body belongs to God (1 Cor. 6:19). Even if a woman did own her own body, this does not justify abortion, for in abortion, a woman does not kill her own body but the body of one belonging to another.

G.   Therapeutic. Therapeutic abortion on psychiatric grounds accounts for the majority of abortions performed today. The reasoning is that having a child would disturb a woman’s mental health, even to the point of causing her to commit suicide. NOTE: It is questionable whether unwanted pregnancies increase the threat of suicide. Actually, women who abort innocent persons are more likely to be mentally disturbed because of the guilt involved.



A.    Abortions done to preserve the mental or physical health of the mother, or prevent birth defects or because of rape or incest make up a very small percentage. Most abortions are done for sinful reasons.

B.     Selfishness. Abortion is practiced because men and women seek to escape the responsibility of children. Children would affect the mother’s life style, be inconvenient, or hurt the mother’s career, or tax her mental or physical health, or children make the mother or father nervous. A couple may be living high on two incomes and be faced with the possibility of the woman losing her job because of a child the parents do not want. NOTE: These kinds of abortions are not done for the sake of the child who may be unwanted, but for the sake of the adults who do not want responsibility. This kind of reasoning shows a sickness in people, for they reason that for a child to be saved from an unhappy life, it must be killed. This is selfishness on the part of the parents and selfishness is sin.

C.     Sexual Immorality. Well over 50% of all abortions are the result of fornication (premarital sex) and adultery (extramarital sex). Most abortions are to conceal the consequences of sin. They are performed on unwed mothers and women who cheated on their husbands. NOTE; Sexual immorality is sin and God says He judges fornicators and adulterers (Heb. 13:4).




A.    Guilt. Anyone who has dealt with women who have had forced abortions know many of them have tremendous guilt. They seem to know intuitively that they have transgressed God’ s moral law and have been guilty of taking a human life.

B.     Physical Harm and Death. There are risks that go along with abortion performed under the best conditions.


The mortality rates vary widely, depending on the stage of preg­nancy, the skill and experience of the operator, the quality of the clinic or hospital, etc., but vary from 16 to 75 thousand. The average is probably about 30 thousand. In addition, the mother may hemorrhage, requiring blood transfusions with their attendant risks, her uterus may be perforated, or she may become infected. Salting out abortions are so dangerous for the mother that they were abandoned in Japan years ago. (Dr. Johnson)


C.     Long-Term Complications. There are many side effects to some women who have abortions.


The mother is also subject to long-term complications. One study from Japan showed 9% subsequent sterility, 14% subsequent habitual spontaneous abortions, and a 400% increase in incidence of subse­quent tubal pregnancies. Thirty-one percent of the Japanese women reported some kind of physical abnormality as a result of abortion. The exact incidence of psychological complications is difficult to determine, but they do occur frequently. Also, the prematurity rate for future children rises from 5% to 15% after a single legal abortion.  Prematurity often results in physically or mentally defective children.  It is clear, then, that abortion is not without its cost, both to Christian ethics with its social and philosophical implication, to the individual mother, and to her future children.  (Dr. Johnson)



A.   Abortion is the result of a new ethic or new morality, which does not place much value or dignity on the human person.  Today, most people have no absolute moral value and morals are what society deems right rather then what God declares in the Bible.  Western culture has been dominated in the past by Judeo-Christian morality founded upon the Bible.  But Biblical authority has been cast away.  Western societies are primarily humanistic, atheistic, agnostic and relativistic.  God has been cast away and man has become his own god.  The new morality is pagan, not Christian.  With no moral absolutes, everything depends upon situations.  We have now moved into an era of moral anarchy where man decides for himself what is right (Judges 21:25).

B.    The new morality tells us that humans are only valuable as long as they benefit society.  If society rationalizes that it is right to kill a baby in the womb because it is unwanted, will it then be all right to kill infants and small children because they are unwanted?  The next logical step is to kill the aged who are weak and deformed.  Where will it all stop? Perhaps someday Christians will be killed because they are detrimental to society.

C.    The real question is this:  How shall we solve our problems?  Shall we solve them by killing innocent people whether in the fetal stage or aged, or shall we solve them by love, mercy, wisdom, compassion, justice and self-sacrifice as taught by Christ?

D.   The new morality is not new, especially as it relates to sexual immorality and abortion.


This principle contradicts the view expressed in the Roman law:  “Foetus pars viscerum matris,” – the embryo is still a part of the body of the mother.  The human person begins to exist with birth, not with conception, it said, and on this principle the practice of abortion was based in the Roman world.  (H. Sasse, “Abortion:  A Christian View,” The Presbyterian Journal).


E.    Christians in pagan Rome opposed abortion.  The Didache said, ‘You shall not slay the child by abortions.”  Athenagoras stated, “Those who use abortifacients are homicides.”  Tertullian said, “The mold in the womb may not be destroyed.”  Abortions were opposed by Barnabas, Clement of Alexandria, Jerome and Augustine.

F.    For two thousand years the church has opposed abortion and stood up against it in pagan Rome.  The Church in the 21st century must also stand against abortion and oppose it wherever possible.  Christians have three basic ways to oppose abortion and the new morality:

1.     They must win men to Christ, for only Christ can give a person a basis for moral absolutes.

2.     Christians can make sure they do not practice abortion and can warn others of its dangers.

3.     Christians can pray and work to change the law of the land which permits abortion.  May God empower us Christians to help eliminate the slaughter of innocent, unborn children.