Isn't the Bible's stance on abortion clear?

Acid Zebra posted this bit of the Bible yesterday and I can't get it out of my head:

"And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no furhter injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any furhter injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."

Exodus 21:22-25 (New American Standard Version)

This says that a fetus is not a life. It insists that someone maliciously hurting a woman shall be fined but it is not an involuntary abortion that demands a life for a life. It is clear that a fetus is not a life. So... is the Bible clear about abortion?

Update:

It says that a miscarriage is fine worthy but not life worthy. If further harm is done, beyond the miscarriage, then it is worth a life for a life an eye for an eye.

36 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    This does NOT indicate that a fetus is not a life.

    Where do you see that?

    Abortion is murder..........there's no getting around that fact.

    This has got to be the worst twisting of Scripture I've ever heard. Abortion will never be justified in the eyes of the Lord

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  • Jen
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    The problem here is that the person misquoted Exodus. This is what is actually says: 22 “And in case men should struggle with each other and they really hurt a pregnant woman and her children do come out but no fatal accident occurs, he is to have damages imposed upon him without fail according to what the owner of the woman may lay upon him; and he must give it through the justices. 23 But if a fatal accident should occur, then you must give soul for soul, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 branding for branding, wound for wound, blow for blow.

    Verse 22 says that if the children do come out and no fatal accident occurs the man is still to be disciplined. And a miscarriage is a fatal accident where the child would not come out ok. Verse 23 however says that if a fatal accident should occur (the unborn child not 'coming out alright') The man would have to pay with his life because it's murder.

    Whoever posted that the other day probably just didn't read the scripture right. God's stance on abortion is very clear in the Bible. Check out what King David said in Psalm 139:15 - 16:

    "15 My bones were not hidden from you

    When I was made in secret,

    When I was woven in the lowest parts of the earth.

    16 Your eyes saw even the embryo of me,

    And in your book all its parts were down in writing,

    As regards the days when they were formed

    And there was not yet one among them."

    And also how God views children at Psalm 127:3 - He views them as an inheritance given to us by him.

    Hope this helps!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes and no. If you look at the Hebrew, there is a slight ambiguity. In the translation you have shown, the ambiguity is reflected in "there is no further injury" or "there is further injury." It is ambiguous as to whether this refers to the mother or to the child. Also, it does not explicitly say that the mother miscarried, but rather that she went into labor. So, it can be read as:

    1.) If the mother goes into labor and the child is ok/injured...

    Or

    2.) If the mother goes into labor (and miscarries) and the mother is ok/injured...

    The Rabbinic interpretation is the latter (i.e., that the injury refers to the mother); whereas the Christian interpretation is the former (i.e. that the injury refers to the child). I hope that clarifies why Judaism and Christianity tend to disagree on the issue of abortion.

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  • Sarah
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Nowhere in the Bible does it specifically say that abortion is okay. It doesn't expressly forbid it, but it doesn't say it's okay either. There are places where induced miscarriages were considered punishment, but that's the closest the Bible comes to mentioning abortion at all.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It doesnt say that as you want it to. Here is the TRUTH.

    22"If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall (N)pay as the judges decide.

    23"But if there is any further injury, (O)then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life,

    The life for life is the CHILDS life, not the mothers.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    ????????????????????????

    It says nothing of the sort."But if there is any further injury ,then you shall appoint as a penalty ......"

    Given the state of medical knowledge at the time that this was written how would anyone honestly be expected to know if further injury to either woman or fetus had in fact occurred ?

    As we all know it is entirely possible that a fetus could die in the womb from whatever causes and not have a miscarriage occur

    Source(s): me-pro-choice atheist
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yep, that's pretty much the Bible's only mention of fetuses. Other than that one verse where abortion is ordered to be performed by God. Can't remember the chapter offhand.

    Addendum: primoa: The verse says that if the fetus dies, you pay a fine. If the woman dies, you get put to death.

    A fetus is not worth the same as a person. The Bible says so, right there. It could not be more clear. I cannot imagine the torture of logic you would have to employ to dispute that.

    Addendum II: The Fetus Strikes Back: Regarding other translations of the verse being mentioned, the meaning of the poster's version is still not incorrect. By "fruit depart", that means if the fetus dies. By "mischief follow", that means if the woman dies.

    "Fruit depart" doesn't mean "premature birth". That is an absurd stretch. First, this was four thousand years ago. Premature births did not survive. And second, a fine *simply* for making someone give birth early? Do you honestly believe anyone in Biblical times would have a law like that? Today's bureaucracy, *possibly*. Moses? I don't think so.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    22If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

    23And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

    24Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

    25Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

    This is why I prefer the KJV. According to this, if the child is born prematurely but the child lives THEN the husband determines the penalty, but if the child dies or is deformed because of it, then it is life for life, eye for eye, etc. So the Bible does not approve of abortion and definitely considers a fetus a life!

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  • 1 decade ago

    You've distorted this story... this situation is in no way analogous or pertinent to discussion regarding abortion. Most Christians will tell you that an eye for an eye was admonished by Christ. The New Testament (Covenant) did not consider the practices of the Old Testament illegitimate, but rather abrogated them as only Christ (God) can do. Believe me you don't want to go back to eye for an eye.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think you should check other translations. The translation you quoted above does not seem accurate.

    Get one that shows a literal word for word translation of the Hebrew in English.

    I have found a literal translation - Hebrew-English interlinear by Dr. G. R. Berry.

    Read from right to left (Sorry, the Hebrew characters are not recognized by the text editor):

    ????? ????? ????????

    strike they and ,men contend when And

    ????? ????? 22 ??? ???

    ,child her forth goes and ,1pregnant 2woman a

    ???? ???? ???? ???? ???

    ,fined be shall he surely ;injury is not and

    ??? ???? ???? ????

    of husband the him upon put may as

    ? ?????? ???? ????

    .judges the with give shall he and ,woman the

    ??? ????? ???? ????????

    23 soul give shalt thou (and) ,is injury if And

    ? ??? ???

    ,soul for

    Notice that it does not specify to who the injury has to be inflicted, therefore the underdeveloped children are also included.

    The fact that the Bible specifically mentions a PREGNANT woman shows that the life of the unborn child(ren) is also being considered as important. If not, why does it make it a point to mention a woman with child?

    .

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It seems like the obvious OBJECTIVE interpretation of that passage is that the unborn fetus is a commodity that can be assigned a monetary value ("he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him"), but certainly not a life, whose loss would demand the forfeit of the taker's life as punishment.

    Once again, the Christian establishment cherry-picks the scriptures that support its narrow world-view and spins or dismisses those which conflict with it. The ignorance and hypocrisy is astounding.

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