Tens of millions of unborn babies are deliberately aborted each year—a number that exceeds the population of many countries.
A personal choice or a question of morality?
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Women who have an abortion do so for various reasons, including economic hardship, relationship problems, the desire for freedom to pursue further education or a career, or not wanting to be a single mother. Others, however, view abortion as morally wrong—a violation of the trust that has been placed upon a pregnant woman.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS
In God’s eyes, life—especially human life—is sacred. (Genesis 9:6; Psalm 36:9) This principle applies to a baby growing in the womb, a place designed by God to be a safe haven for a developing child. “You kept me screened off in my mother’s womb,” said a Bible writer. He added: “Your eyes even saw me as an embryo; all its parts were written in your book regarding the days when they were formed.”—Psalm 139:13, 16.
God’s view of the life of an unborn child is also reflected in his Law to the nation of Israel and in our God-given conscience. God’s Law stated that a person who assaulted a pregnant woman and killed her unborn child was subject to the death penalty—the killer paying with his own life for the life he took. (Exodus 21:22, 23) Of course, the judges had to take into account motives and circumstances.—Numbers 35:22-24, 31.
Humans are also endowed with a conscience. When a woman heeds her conscience, or inner voice, by respecting the life of her unborn child, her conscience rewards her.* If she violates her conscience, it may trouble her or even condemn her. (Romans 2:14, 15) Indeed, studies indicate that women who have an abortion also have an increased risk of anxiety and depression.
What, though, if the prospect of rearing a child seems daunting, especially when the pregnancy is not planned? Note God’s reassuring promise to those who loyally live by his standards: “With someone loyal you act in loyalty; with the blameless man [or woman] you deal blamelessly.” (Psalm 18:25) We also read: “Jehovah loves justice, and he will not abandon his loyal ones.”—Psalm 37:28.
“Their conscience is bearing witness with them, and by their own thoughts they are being accused or even excused.”—Romans 2:15.
What if you have had an abortion?
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Ruth, a single mother, said: “I already had three young children and felt unable to care for four. Yet, after having an abortion, I felt I had done something horrible.”* But had she done something that God could not forgive?
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS
Jesus Christ reflected God’s mind on matters when he said: “I have come to call, not righteous people, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32) Yes, when we feel genuine remorse for a wrong we have committed and we repent and ask God to forgive us, he willingly does so—even for serious sins. (Isaiah 1:18) “A heart broken and crushed, O God, you will not reject,” says Psalm 51:17.
Along with a cleansed conscience, God gives the contrite one peace of mind when he or she humbly turns to him in prayer. “By prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your mental powers,” says Philippians 4:6, 7.* After studying the Bible and pouring out her heart to God, Ruth gained that inner peace. She learned that with God “there is true forgiveness.”—Psalm 130:4.
“[God] has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor has he repaid us what our errors deserve.”—Psalm 103:10.
A potential health risk to mother or child would not justify inducing an abortion. If at childbirth a couple must choose between the life of the mother and that of the child, the couple must decide. That said, in many developed lands, medical advances have made such a situation very rare.
Name has been changed.
The resurrection hope can also contribute to a person’s inner peace. See “Questions From Readers” in the April 15, 2009, issue of The Watchtower, which discusses Bible principles relating to the possibility of a resurrection for an unborn baby that dies.