This week, Chelsea Clinton said: “When I think about all of the statistics that are painful, of what women are confronting today in our country, and what even more women confronted pre-Roe, and how many women died, and how many more women were maimed because of unsafe abortion practices – we just can’t go back to that. That’s unconscionable to me. Also, and I’m sure this will unleash another wave of hate in my direction, but as a deeply religious person, it’s also un-Christian, to me.”
Let’s examine her statements in detail:
When she said, “When I think about all of the statistics that are painful,” was she talking about the pain of all the unborn children as they suffered a painful death from scalpels and chemicals?
When she said, ” … what women are confronting today in our country,” to what was she comparing this pain? Women have more rights, freedoms, and privileges today than at any time in our country’s history. They’re even allowed to kill their own unborn children–a
“freedom” that none of the rest of us have toward any other segment of our population.
She asked, “How many women died (having abortions in pre-Roe America)?” Whether its a few hundred, a few thousand, or a few hundred thousand, it’s still hardly a fraction of the 45 million unborn children who have been killed in post-Roe America.
When she said, “As a deeply religious person,” she obviously meant that she attempts to earn God’s favor through piety and devotion. I don’t doubt that she is pious, meaning that she has a dutiful spirit of reverence for God or an earnest wish to fulfill religious obligations. I believe that she has hypocritical concern about virtue and religious devotion in sanctimonious self-seeking ways. Her falsely earnest and falsely sincere subjectivity provides motivation for some ostensibly good objectives. She has a certain devotion to godly worship, and she may even pray to what she believes is a “higher power.”
When she said, “I’m sure this will unleash another wave of hate in my direction,” she was, of course, referring to her calling it un-Christian to place legal restrictions on abortion, as we do on other forms of murder. Although I disagree with her, I don’t hate her.
Then she said, “It’s also un-Christian,” meaning it would be un-Christian to make abortion illegal again. I think she has Christianity confused with Christendom; that is, “the Christian world,” or “our Christian country.” Christendom is a religion as describe above, but Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ, and we learn about that relationship via the Bible, the Word of God. The ultimate question concerning abortion is whether by the Word of God in Scripture abortion is an act of the murder of an innocent child. Is a developing unborn child a human being whose life is thus sacred to God? Does a woman’s right to the treatment of her own body extend to her treatment of her child’s body?
The Bible on Abortion
First of all, where does life begin? Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breaths of life, and man became a living being.” Originally, this verse tells us, that God formed man’s physical body from the ground like a potter shaping a vessel from clay. This produced a lifeless shell without capacity for anything. There are several names in the Bible for this shell. 2 Corinthians 5:1 and 4 refer to it as a tent. 2 Corinthians 5:6 refers to this shell as a home. 1 Thessalonians 4:4 refer to the human body as a vessel. Then this verse tells us that God Himself breathed into this earth body that he has formed, into this shell, and he breathed into it the breath of lives. And notice that the Hebrew is plural. It is unfortunately not always so translated. There should be an “s” at the end of the “breaths” of life. It is the breaths of lives that were breathed into him because there were two kinds of lives that were breathed into man. First of all there was soul life that was breathed into man which constitutes his mentality, his emotions, and his will for relating to people. There was also breathed into man a spirit life which gave him a human spirit and capacity for fellowship with God.
The earth shell then at that moment became a living being, and it had full capacity for fellowship with God. Now since the sin of Adam in Eden, all are born spiritually dead, and they must be made alive spiritually to God by the inbreathing of the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation when faith is placed in Christ as Savior. So, again, for our spiritual contact with God, as for Adam’s, there had to be an inbreathing of God. For us there has to be an inbreathing of the Holy Spirit for us to come alive spiritually.
Does God create a new life then with each baby? The answer is, “Yes.” A few Scriptures: First of all, Job 33:4 says, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job said, “I came into life. I came into being a living being as a result of an act of God which gave me that life.” Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was and the Spirit will return to the God who gave it.” When did God give that spirit? At the point when this child was born. At the point when this child was conceived he was given that spirit. Isaiah 42:5 says, “Thus says God the Lord who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it. Zechariah 12:1 says, “The burden of the Word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundations of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. One more in the New Testament, Hebrews 12:9 says, “Furthermore we had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits and live?”
What these verses all say is one thing: that God creates human life. But it does not say when in the birth process he does that. It may be at conception. It may be at viability when the child can prematurely live outside of the mother’s body. Or it may be at birth when he takes his first breath. Adam’s creation, of course, was different and cannot apply here because his situation was a creation as a mature person, and it differs from the situation of his posterity. What happens when the baby takes his first breath is merely the manifestation of the soul and spirit life that he already possesses in the womb as a human being. As we will see, the evidences for that soul life being there have been demonstrated in a variety of ways, and we will look at some of those. But the whole point is that at whatever point God puts in that spirit and soul life, He does it with that child that has been conceived and is in the form of being developed. And when that baby takes that first breath and becomes a full operational human being outside of the mother’s body, that soul and spirit life that he possesses is simply a manifestation of what he already had inside the womb. He was never anything but a bonafide human being. Life for Adam began when God breathed into him, but life for his posterity then begins at conception in the womb before there’s any physical development, before there’s any birth.
Now the next question is, once we’ve established that we’re dealing with a human being in the womb, a person who has not yet been born, what kind of legal rights does that unborn child have? Now we’re zeroing in on the real issue here. One of the places we can get some guidance is how God treated the unborn in the theocracy of Judaism in the Old Testament system. What were the legal rights of the unborn?
Exodus 21:22 is the key passage that establishes whether an unborn child is a human being, and if you take its life, it’s an act of murder: “And if men struggle with each other,” that is, two men get into a fight with one another. “… and strike a woman with child …” She is pregnant, and incidentally this Hebrew word “child” is the same word which is applied to an unborn child or a born child. The Hebrew has no word such as “fetus” or any word that would distinguish between the child who is in the womb and the child who is outside of the womb. In the process of their fight, one of the men loses his temper toward her, and he reaches over and strikes her. “… and he strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage…” The result is that she has a miscarriage. “… yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide.” The key word there, of course, is “miscarriage.” We have to know what that word means.
The word “miscarriage” in the Hebrew bible looks like this: It’s the word “yatsa.” This word means “to come out,” and it is the word for miscarriage that is applied only to live birth. That’s the key. This word is never applied to a miscarriage where the child is stillborn. It never applies to a baby that is born dead. It is applied to a premature live birth. So, the translation here would be much better if they said “premature,” which some versions of the Bible do. It should have said that this man hits this woman and the result is that she has a premature delivery, but the child here is born alive. There is no question about it. “Yatsa” clarifies that for us.
There are other places in the Old Testament where this Hebrew word is used that give us a little more insight. Genesis 25:26 in the birth of Jacob and Esau: “Now the first came forth red all over like a hairy garment and they named him Esau, and afterwards his brother came forth (“yatsa,” or to be born) with his hand holding onto Esau’s feet so his name was called Jacob, and Isaac was 60 years old when she gave birth to them. Obviously this word “yatsa” here is referring to a live birth. Both of these boys were born, and they were born alive.
Genesis 38:28-30 has this word used again: “Moreover it took place while she was giving birth (“yatsa”). One put out the hand and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand saying, ‘This one came out first.’ But it came about as he drew back his hand that behold his brother came out (“yatsa,” or “came out”). Then she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself.” So, he was named Perez. And afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand and his name was Zerah. There you have again two children born, both of them born live, and this Hebrew word is used which can only be used for live birth.
Look at Job 3:11: “Why did I not die at birth? Come forth (‘yatsa’) from the womb and expire?” Job is berating his condition wishing that he had died when he came out of the womb. How did he come out? Dead? No, he came out alive because this word in itself tells us that that was his condition. Then Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you, God says, in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I concentrated you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nation (speaking of Jeremiah) before you were born (‘yatsa’).” So, again we have this demonstration that these are live births.
Now coming back with that information to Exodus 21:22, that gives us an absolute clue as to what verse 22 is saying. These men struggle with each other. One of them strikes a woman with child so that she has a “yatsa.” What she has is a premature delivery, and yet there is no further injury. That refers to both of them—no further injuries to the mother or to the child. She’s alright and the baby is viable and able to live outside of the womb.
We have this further reinforced by the fact that there are Hebrew words (and here is where the language helps us again) which mean being born dead, stillbirth, so that there is an exact word that could have been used if this woman had a miscarriage and had a dead baby. That’s what it means “no further injury.” The child was born prematurely. He was not born dead. One of those Hebrew words is “shakol,” and this word used in several places. Let’s look at a couple so that you will get some idea of the difference.
Genesis 31:38 says, “These twenty years I’ve been with you, Jacob says to his father-in-law, your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks.” When he says that they haven’t miscarried, what he is saying is that they have not been born dead. Exodus 23:26 says, “There shall be no miscarrying or barren in your land. I will fulfill the number of your days.” Here is the promise to Israel in the land. There shall be no one miscarrying, and because it uses the word “shakol” there, we know that what this is saying is that there’s no one who is going to be giving birth to dead babies. There will be no stillborn condition.
This is also found in Job 21:10. Job who is distressed over his obvious terrible trial that he is undergoing. Job 21:10 says, “His ox mates without fail. His cows calve and does not abort.” Here the animals are not born dead. Then one more in Hosea 9:14: “Give them Oh Lord. What wilt thou give them? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.” Here judgment is being called upon Israel’s enemies. And what did they say? Give them a condition where the children are born dead (“shakol” children), and therefore the breasts are dry because there’s no one to feed.
There’s another word as well, as if that one wasn’t enough. There is another one that the Holy Spirit could have used in Exodus 21:22, if this woman’s child would have been born dead as a result of the fight. It’s the Hebrew word “nephal.” This word also carries the same condition, the same idea, of being born dead. You’ll find this in Job 3:16 and in Psalm 50:8.
So, what happened to this woman in the fight here in Exodus 21:22 is that she had a premature delivery. She delivered a preemie. It was not that the child was killed in the process. Then it says if there’s no other injury, the guilty man is going to have to pay an appropriate fine to the husband as determined by him and the judges. The reason for this is that the woman has suffered mental and emotional stress and therefore she is to be recompensed for that by the fine.
Now let’s go down to Exodus 21:23. Supposing the worst thing happened. The baby is killed as a result of this deliberate striking of the woman. “But if there is injury” (and the words “any further” you see are in italics—that’s not in the Hebrew, forget them because it confuses the picture here). “But if there is injury.” What kind of injury? The next phrase gives us a clue. “Then you shall appoint (and forget “as a penalty” again—those are in italics), you shall appoint life for life.” So, the further injury is very clearly the death of the unborn child. And if it says there will be life or life, it is telling us that this man who deliberately struck this woman, caused her to have a premature delivery, and delivered a dead baby, he has been responsible for bringing about an abortion of death, and he will pay for it with his life. Does the Bible teach against abortion? You bet it does. It was a capital crime in Israel and the language here in the Hebrew makes it very clear what we’re dealing with here.
The injury here is furthermore a word that refers to something physical. It can be a bruise or can be death. The injury contemplated here again applies either to the mother or to the unborn child. And here the offender is to be penalized as per the injury he caused—life for life. That refers to capital punishment for the death of either the mother or the child by his deliberate attack.
What was brought about by someone as an unintentional death was not to be punished with execution. Under those conditions a person was to flee to one of the cities of refuge. Deuteronomy 19:4-13 describe that. So, if it was inadvertent unintentional taking of a life, that’s manslaughter, and therefore it was not dealt with as a capital crime. But here this man deliberately did it. And verse 24 then goes on to say, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” What is the purpose of all that? It’s telling us that the punishment must fit the crime—punishment commensurate with the crime, and the worst punishment is taking this life for murder. If he does something less, then he is dealt with accordingly in terms of what he actually did.
So, Exodus 21:24 indicates punishment for a deliberate attack. So, Scripture, guiding the Old Testament theocracy to establish the righteousness of God, gave full legal protection to the unborn child. That was the question we proposed? Does that child have legal protection? Our wise Supreme Court said, “No the child does not. He is not a person until he takes his first breath.”
The “M” Word
So, a premeditated abortion under the theocracy of God was clearly murder of a human being. The penalty for premeditated abortion is a death of the responsible parties. Today it would be the mother and the doctors (and the abortion clinics). There is no permission given for abortion in the Bible whatsoever, and there is clearly a condemnation of it. The U.S. Supreme Court, with its decision in favor of abortion, has drenched our land with the blood of millions of innocent children who have been murdered by abortion (and that’s the word), and judgment is coming upon this nation for that.
Regarding the Old Testament law, some might argue and do: So why didn’t the Old Testament give a specific prohibition against abortion? It gives many prohibitions. Why didn’t it, when it said, “Thou shalt not murder,” include some explanation, some caution concerning that. Well there are several good reasons:
First of all, childlessness was viewed as a curse among the Jews. So, it would be unthinkable to bring a curse upon yourself by killing your own child. You’ll find that in Deuteronomy 25:6, Ruth 4:5, and Jeremiah 1:19. It was a curse to be childless, so people wouldn’t bring that upon themselves.
Secondly, children were viewed as a gift from God, so a parent one would be spurning a gift from God by abortion (Genesis 33:5, Psalm 113:9, 127:3). Furthermore, the Bible teaches that God grants conception, and the one who fears God does not terminate a work of God such as a pregnancy, and all pregnancies are the work of God (Genesis 29:33, 30:22, 1 Samuel 1:19-20). Also abortion was not practiced in Old Testament times. So, there really wasn’t any need for a prohibition against it. Even the ancient pagan civilizations recoiled from the concept of abortion. They didn’t recoil from burning their born children alive in offerings to Baal, but they recoiled from the idea of aborting an unborn child. The Old Testament is silent on abortion per se, but that does not justify the practice we’ve seen from the text in this passage.
We have, furthermore, one more point, and that’s in Psalm 139. Psalm 139 stresses the work of God in the womb. Psalm 139:1-16 deal with the life of King David and the stages of his life. The first stage is in verse 1, and I want you to notice the personal pronoun “me.” “The Lord oh Lord has searched me and known me.” The second stage of his life is verses 2-6 where he repeatedly uses the word “I” as he reviews his present condition with God. His last stage of life is in verses 7-12 where again he repeatedly uses the word “I” in reference to himself in dealing with God. Then when we come to verses 13-16, he goes back into the fetal stage of his life. He goes back into his life in the womb. We’re going to zero in on that. Verse 13 says, “For thou didst form my inward parts.” David is reviewing his condition from the womb to adulthood, and he uses these personal pronouns to show that he is the same person inside the womb as outside, and there was a continuity. Verse 13 says, “For thou didst form my inward parts. Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb.” These words “form” and “weave” describe the work of God in this pregnancy. The formation of a living person in the womb is a creative work of God.
Job 10:8 speaks about being fashioned by God’s hand. Ecclesiastes 11:5 refers to the creative work of God in developing a child in the womb. So, there is a clear declaration here that what is formed in the world as the result of conception is not a mere chemical biological activity, but it is the creative work of God. It is not some automatic system that has no mind and direction behind it. Then in verse Psalm 139:14 he says, “I will give thanks to thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are thy works, and all my soul knows it very well.” “Wonderfully made” is a praise to God for His infinite ability. Psalm 8:3-5 indicate that man is the crown jewel of all the creative work of God. And David thanks God for the fact that he has been wonderfully made. Anybody who knows anything about the functioning of the human body, the fact that the capacity the human body has for taking care of itself, when its immune system is functioning, and to repair itself, is amazing. Only such nonsense of evolution would suggest that that could have come without a thoughtful guidance by the power of God.
Then notice Psalm 139:15, “My frame was not hidden from thee…” The frame refers to the skeletal structure of the little body in the world. “… when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.” “Skillfully wrought” indicates that the work that God is doing is a work of embroidery. The child is God’s handcraft, and “the depths of the earth” is a poetic reference to the fact that he was hidden in his mother’s womb. This is a Hebrew expression for “deepest concealment.” What God does in the womb was not known until modern times with the onset and the availability of radiology to be able to look inside the womb and see what was going on. But David knew and he said that God was skillfully putting together all the pieces, embroidering, as it were. God knows always because he fashions one child at a time. Abortion then is the gross interrupting of a creative work of God which is in progress, by sinful human beings for social convenience.
Finally Psalm 139:16 says, “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance. This refers to David when he was an embryo, beginning his life, beginning as a new person. Before the embryo takes human shape, God is already at work on it actively putting it together and structuring it. “And in thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” “Furthermore, David said, “I have a mission.” Every conception is a human being with a divine mission. “And God has recorded my mission, and He has recorded my appropriate life span to execute that mission. Please remember that. If you are still here, it’s because you haven’t completed your mission. When your particular mission is completed as per the plan of God, you will die. Nothing will prevent that. Nothing will be able to circumvent that. All of that is in the Book of God and it was decided when that sperm and egg cell came together and conception was begun. God’s work and God’s decisions were at that point.
So, the fetus is not a mere growth in the mother’s womb which can be removed like a bad appendix or infected tonsils. The fetus is not a “potential” human being. It is a human being which is maturing to adulthood. At no point after conception does a fetus “become” a human being. The Bible is clear that it is a human being in the image of God, and that’s why the deliberate killing of that child in the fight with the woman and her husband with this man was an act of murder on the part of that man, because he killed a bonafide human being. If he would have killed a bonafide human being he would have paid with his life for it.