Friday, May 10, 2019

The Penalty for Abortion

"If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life" (Exodus 21:22–23).

The Bible teaches that the fetus in the womb is a living human being. A number of passages in the Old Testament point to the fact that God oversees the child in the womb (Psalm 139:13–16; Isaiah 49:1–5; Jeremiah 1:4–5). The unborn baby is already under God’s law, as when Samson’s mother was not to drink wine because her unborn baby was already under the Nazirite vow (Judges 13:7).

In the New Testament, John the Baptist leaped for joy in his mother’s womb when he encountered the unborn Jesus in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:40–44). These verses indicate that both Jesus and John were living persons in their mothers’ wombs, and that John as an unborn child manifested cognition and joy. With this information before us, it is clear that to kill an unborn child is every bit as much murder as to kill a baby in a crib.

Exodus 21:22–23 indicates that God commanded the death penalty for fetus killing in Israel. Some have said these verses speak only of the woman suffering harm, but this is a dubious reading of the Hebrew text. The scene is this: Two men are fighting and one of them either accidentally strikes a pregnant woman bystander or perhaps deliberately strikes the pregnant wife of his opponent. The result is that she gives birth prematurely. If there is no harm to either woman or child, the offending party still must pay a stiff penalty set by the husband and adjudicated by the courts.

If, however, either the mother or the child is harmed, then the penalty is eye for eye and tooth for tooth. The Bible indicates that a ransom might be taken in place of a literal application of the “eye for eye” law (Numbers 35:31 with Exodus 21:30). But what if the mother or the child are killed? What if the child is born dead as a result of the blow? Then the text says, “life for life.” This means that if the baby dies, it is a capital crime.

God taught Israel that abortion was murder. Therefore, He assigned the appropriate punishment. As in all forms of murder, that punishment was death.

Inherent rights of U.S. citizens include the fundamental rights of “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The second and third flow necessarily from the first. Write to your congressman this weekend to express your desire that he work to uphold this basic right for all people including the unborn.