What Does the Bible Say About Abortion?

We know what religious leaders claim the Bible says about sex. But what does the book actually say? More importantly, what does it leave out?

Theologian Matthew O’Neil has written a book discussing what the Bible says about everything from birth control to homosexuality to circumcision. It’s called What the Bible Really Does (and Doesn’t Say) about Sex: The How, When, Why, and With Whom of Scriptural Prohibitions and Permissions (Pitchstone Publishing, 2015):


In the excerpt below, which is reprinted without footnotes, O’Neil tackles the question: What does the Bible say about abortion?

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Jennifer Lawrence “Worships at the Altar of Planned Parenthood,” Whines Conservative Site

It’s no secret that many conservatives have a bizarre, obsessive hatred for Planned Parenthood. It’s also no secret that many women and men (2.7 million a year, for the record) rely on Planned Parenthood for a variety of reproductive health services.

So when actress Jennifer Lawrence mentioned in an interview with Glamour magazine that she relied on Planned Parenthood as a teenager growing up in a religious household, it wasn’t very surprising to those of us who understand the variety of services offered by the organization. It’s also not shocking, though, to see some hand-wringing and whimpering from the usual suspects who like to pretend that Planned Parenthood is the Great Satan of Healthcare.


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In “Dear Abby” Abortion Discussion, Catholic Readers Distort How the Church Values Mothers

Back in November, the advice column Dear Abby ran a letter from a young woman whose husband indicated that, in case of a life-threatening pregnancy, he would prioritize the fetus’ life over his wife’s. In her response, Abby made a comment that about Catholic hospitals having a similar policy.

This past Wednesday, the column ran several letters from Catholic readers correcting Abby on the ostensible inaccuracy of that claim:


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Ohio Republicans Now Want Burials and Cremations for Aborted or Miscarried Fetuses

Anti-abortion legislators in Ohio are pushing a bill to force burial or cremation for miscarried or aborted fetuses. Ostensibly, it’s all about providing a “respectful way” to dispose of fetal remains; but the move is part of a series of moves against Planned Parenthood by Ohio Republicans.

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Southern Baptist Leader: Birth Control is the “Sexual Misbehavior” That Led to Same-Sex Marriage

It’s pretty obvious when we examine the language of Christian “pro-life” advocates that much of their opposition to reproductive rights is fueled by a profound contempt for sexually active women.

Thus we hear conservatives dismiss concerns about birth control with comments about how “the gals” should put “aspirin between their knees”; we hear that efforts to make contraception available somehow implies that women “cannot control their libido”; etc. And if a woman wants to end a pregnancy, the pro-life community contemptuously demands that she “take responsibility” — by which they mean, of course, forced birth and no other responsible solution to pregnancy (because they see no other options).

But it doesn’t end there. Even birth control has become a target. Granted, the “pro-life” movement has largely buried this opposition from public view, overshadowed by their attacks on abortion access and framed in the language of “religious freedom.”

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