Is Abortion Murder?

In one word - yes or no - please state whether or not abortion is murder.
"Yes" abortion is murder. Abortion is not a reproductive right, as reproduction has already taken place. Therefore, abortion is murder.

Abortion: A Brief Ancient History of a Despicable Crime

Abortion was viewed as a crime in many ancient civilizations. The Code of Hammurabi (c. 1772 B.C.) established fines for a man who murdered an unborn child by striking a pregnant woman. As in the Sumerian Code (c. 2000 B.C.) the amount of the fine depended upon the social status of the mother, not on the deliberateness of the act (Smith, see below).

In both the Code of Hammurabi and the Sumerian Code an unborn fetus was considered a human being!

In the Vendidad of Persia, (c. 600 B.C.), a woman with child was told not to destroy the fruit of conception. If she violated this warning, both she and the father were held to be guilty of murder. This law also applied to one who supplied the abortifacient drugs (Francis, see below).

Cicero (106-43 B.C.) in a speech, (For Aulus Cluentius 11.32), said:

I recollect that a certain Milesian woman, when I was in Asia, because she had by medicines brought on abortion, having ben bribed to do so by the heirs in reversion, was convicted of a capital crime; and rightly, in as much as she had destroyed the hope of the father, the memory of his name, the supply of his race, the heir of his family, a citizen intended for use of the republic. How much severer punishment does Oppianicus deserve for the same crime? For she, by doing this violence to her person, tortured her own body; but he effected the same crime through the torture and death of another. Other men do not appear to be able to commit many atrocious murders on one individual, but Oppianicus has been found clever enough to destroy many lives in one body. . .

Ovid (43 B.C.-A.D. 17) in Amores 2.14 spoke poetically against abortion as an immoral practice. Seneca (3 B.C.-A.D. 65) in De ira (On Anger), 1.15, wrote of hating abortion. In a letter to his own mother, (To Helvia His Mother on Consolation 16.3), he praises her for not having an abortion. Plutarch (A.D. 46-120) in Romulus 22.3, recounts a law from Romulus where a husband could divorce his wife for using "poisons," (i.e., drugs that cause abortion), "He also enacted certain laws, and among them one of severity, which forbids a wife to leave her husband, but permits a husband to put away his wife for using poisons, for substituting children, and for adultery . . ."

While of course there were some murderous heathens that approved of abortions, ancient history is full of laws and men and women who understood that abortion was a crime!

Abortion: Mass Murder

However, others have another view of this vile wickedness.

Margaret Sanger, Founder of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the world, wrote, "The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it" (Sanger, see below). The United States Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade (1973) under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to extend to a woman's decision to have an abortion. So, the highest court of the land legalized murder.

Regarding abortion, the United States is more barbaric and violent than many early civilizations. They even surpass Hitler in his mass murders (in The Holocaust app. 11 million Jews were murdered). The National Right to Life Committee reports that the total of U.S. abortions since 1973 is 57,496,011 (see below). This is over 57 million!

Many are outraged by the killing of a dolphin, a whale, a lion, or even an ant (see below), but think nothing of assassinating a defenseless human life. 'Woe to you . . . you hypocrites' (cf. Matt 23:27).

Abortion: Planned Parenthood

Dr. Savita Ginde, the Vice President and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, has been recorded as saying that fetuses are "a baby" and looking at a fetus said, "another boy" (Fox News, see below). Yet, Planned Parenthood still insists that a fetus was never alive?

German scientist Julius Hallervorden commenting at the Nuremberg trials in 1945 said, "If you are going to kill all these [Jewish] people, at least take the brains out so that the material may be utilized" (Eveland, see below). In like fashion, Planned Parenthood sells some body parts of aborted fetuses. On the one hand, they argue a fetus is not living, but on the other, they make a business in trafficking in aborted fetus' brains, eyeballs, and assorted other body parts which survive their different forms of murder:

  • (1) vacuums of death (Manual Vacuum Aspiration or Suction Curettage or D&X - Dilation and Extraction)

  • (2) an assassin's knife (D&C -Dilation and Curettage or D&E - Dilation and Evacuation)

  • (3) a witch's poison potion (Saline Abortion or Prostaglandin or Abortion Pills)

  • (4) torture by suffocation (Hysterotomy - similar to torturing terrorists with waterboarding, often a wet towel is placed over the baby's face so it can't breathe)

Planned Parenthood call these "body parts" mere "products of conception." But the individuals of Planned Parenthood are a "product of conception" too. However, they, as we, are much more than a mere grouping of living cells. People have souls. A fetus has a living soul too. A fetus is not a mere accumulation of biological material, but rather a new living being, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psa 139:14). Look at Psalm 139:13-16:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Above we observe that Lord meticulously forms a person. That God is to be praised for his wonderful and precious work. And though a person is a product of this earth (cf. Gen 2:7; Job 10:9; Rom 9:21), God forms in every fetus a soul. Only he that has a soul could "leap for joy" at the presence of God; yes even in the womb (Luke 1:44; 41). So, in reading this magnificent account of "life" we may say with Tertullian, "To prevent birth is anticipated murder; it makes little difference whether one destroys a life already born or does away with it in its nascent stage. The one who will be a man is already one" (Apologeticum IX, 8). A person is a person at conception. See "At the Moment of Conception" below.

Organizations like Planned Parenthood are assassinating fetuses that have literal souls! This is murder.

Abortion: Infanticide

However, as if selling aborted fetus body parts is not depraved enough, it even gets worse. Abortion principles have evolved into a philosophical argument for the murder of newborns. This is not new. In Old Testament times sacrifices of children were made into Molech (cf. Lev 18:21; 20:1-5), a god worshiped by the Phoenicians and Canaanites. They may no longer worship Molech, but their reasoning is every bit as vile.

This form of murder is seen in the writings of Peter Singer, Michael Tooley, and John Harris in their defense of infanticide today. There is also defense of it in professional medical ethics journals:

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call after-birth abortion (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled. (Giubilini, see below)
This is total depravity (Rom 1:18-32) at one of its heights. Is this where some nations, some academics, and man's depravity have brought us - infanticide? If an individual, organization, or nation ordains the death of a child (fetus or newborn) they are guilty of murder every bit as much as the chief priests and scribes (Matt 26:3-4; 27:22-25; cf. John 11:53), the Romans (Matt 27:27-37), and others (Luke 23:21) who murdered the very Son of God (Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28). "Thou shall not murder" (Exod. 20:13) applies to fetuses as well as the already born. "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man" (Gen. 9:6).

God is the final judge.

Abortion: A Biblical Perspective

Biblically, life begins at conception. If we are pronounced dead when our heart stops beating, then why are we not pronounced alive when it starts beating? Life begins at conception in the womb. Isaiah says:

Isaiah 49:1 Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.

The all-knowing God declares that he knows people even before they are born. He knows them personally, as he is their Creator, who is spreading his image through-out the earth (Gen 1:27). He knows our entire being (Psa 103:14; cf. Job 10:8; Psa 119:73; Eccl 11:5); which includes our very souls which are given at conception (Eccl 12:7). No matter what title a person goes under (mother, father, doctor, etc.), a person who aborts a child (fetus) is guilty of sin against God and the child.

Scripture states:

Exodus 21:22-23 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.
These words of Moses place a fetus on the same level as an adult; that is, it recognizes a fetus as living (life for life) even in the womb! In this example, if a fetus is seriously injured (which includes dying) even by accident, God required a life for a life. How much more is God's judgment upon those that purposely set out to murder one of his children!

A child in the womb is created by God in his image (Gen. 1:26-27). Jeremiah emphatically considered himself as alive in his mother's womb (Jer 20:17). To God, all children - even those yet in the womb - are living human beings (Psa 139:13-16).

The same Greek word brephos (meaning an unborn child, embryo, a fetus, a new-born child, an infant, a babe, or a child) is used to describe the unborn John the Baptist (Luke 1:41, 44), the newborn baby Jesus (Luke 2:12, 16), and the young (out of the womb) children who were brought to Jesus for his blessing (Luke 18:15; also 2 Tim 3:15). God makes no distinction between children which have been born and unborn fetuses. They are "all" his living creations (Psa. 127:3). To purposely kill one of these precious beings is murder!

Biblically abortion is murder. It is an evil depraved wicked act. See "Is Murder ever Justified?" below.

Abortion: Forgiveness in Christ Alone

However, though abortion is grievous sin, it is forgivable. The Cross is full of compassion for God's people. If God enabled nations, such as the Egyptians (who mandated the murder of children, Exod 1:16; Acts 7:19) and others (Lev. 18:21; 20:2-5; 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chron 28:3, 33:6; Jer 7:31; 19:2-6; 32:35; Amos 1:13) to repent (Matt 28:19; Mark 13:10; 16:15-16; Acts 1:8; Eph 2:17; Col 1:23), then he is able to give "the gift" of repentance to others today as well (2 Tim. 2:24-26; i.e. Acts 3:19). God forgives sin - even this one (Rom. 5:20).

Find a Christian today to sit down and weap over your sins. Love, mercy, grace and forgiveness are a footstep away. God will give great mercy, grace, and repentance to all who by the Spirit of the Living God sincerely ask.

Abortion: Civil Disobedience

Receiving repentance for having an abortion in the past is indeed a blessing. Never having an abortion is even better - as you will hold a precious blessing in your very arms. But this is still not enough. We must help others in understanding what is at stake. Producing articles, books, and videos, are all very important in this effort. However, at times this also means in engaging in certain types of civil disobedience. This is biblical:

In Exodus 1:15-22 Pharaoh commanded the midwives to slay every male Hebrew baby. But the midwives Shiprah and Puah "feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live" (Exod 1:17). In Joshua 2:1-14 Rahab saved the lives of two Hebrew spies (the enemies of Jericho) by hiding them from certain soldiers who were searching for them. In 1 Kings 18:4 queen Jezebel was murdering the LORD's prophets. In defiance of her orders Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid and provided for them. There are also other instances of divinely approved civil disobedience in Exodus 5, Daniel 3, 6, and Acts 4.

The Bible plainly teaches that "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:28-29).

See "Ministries of Mercy to the Unborn," "Operation Rescue: Case Study on Civil Disobedience," and "When in the Course of Human Events Does Civil Disobedience Become Necessary?" below.

Let me close by using the framework of a thought from Martin Niemoller, who spoke out against the Nazi regime. He spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

First they came for the fetuses, and I did not speak out - Because I was no longer a fetus.

Then they came for the children, and I did not speak out - Because I was not a child.

Then they came for the elderly, and I did not speak out - Because I was yet young.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

Speak up and get involved in saving children (of all ages) while there is yet time!

Related Links:

Is Murder ever Justified?
Sin had not reached its full measure?
At the Moment of Conception
How does the soul of a man originate?
Planned Parenthood Hypocrisy?
Ministries of Mercy to the Unborn, by Dr. John Frame
Operation Rescue: Case Study on Civil Disobedience, by Dr. John Frame
When in the Course of Human Events Does Civil Disobedience Become Necessary?, by Dr. John Frame


Eveland, Philip. Julius Hallervorden quote in, Their Creator: How a Belief in a Creator Shapes the American Conscience. iUinverse (2000). p. 123.

Fox News. "Call it 'research,' not 'business,' Planned Parenthood doc says in latest sting video." July 30, 2015. Last Accessed: July 30, 2015.

Francis, Charles F., Editor. The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East. (14 vols. New York and London: Parke, Austin, and Lipscomb, c1917), vol VII, entitled, Ancient Persia, pp. 121-122.

Giubilini, Alberto and Minerva, Francesca. Journal of Medical Ethics. "After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?" Last Accessed: July 31, 2015.

The National Right to Life. Last Accessed: July 31, 2015.

Sanger, Margaret. Women and the New Race (Eugenics Publ. Co., 1920, 1923).

Save the "Dolphins," "Whales," "Lions," and even "Save the Ants" (which has gone underground and no longer has a dedicated website) may all be worthy causes, but do they trump human life?

Smith, J.M. Powis. The Origins of the History of Hebrew Law. (Chicago: the University of Chicago Press, 1931). p. 211.

Yonke, Matt. LifeNews. "NOW President: Babies Wouldn't Die So Much If We'd Just Kill Them Before They Died." May 2014. Last Accessed 14 Dec 2014. "National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O'Neill published an editorial on the Huffington Post today entitled, "Abortion, Like Contraception, Is Essential Health Care That Saves Lives." Let that sink in for a second. A procedure that's taken over 50 million lives in the U.S. alone since 1973 . . . saves lives. . . . That's right, her solution to high infant mortality rates is to kill the babies before they get the chance to die!

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).