The Biblical Basis for
Being Pro-Choice

The Bible never mentions abortion, but it does offer support for choice.

Continued from page 1

Religions have many different--and changing--tenets about abortion. Some oppose abortion in all cases because they believe human life begins when an egg and sperm meet. They hold this belief even though medical science defines pregnancy as beginning with the implantation of the fertilized egg. Others believe abortion must be allowed in cases of rape and incest. Some believe abortion is required in certain circumstances, such as when a woman's life is in danger.

Many religions believe the decision must be the woman's because she is the person most affected.

Christians and Jews agree that all life is sacred--the life of a woman as well as the potential life of a fetus. Many Protestant Christians emphasize the New Testament's teaching of the priesthood of all believers, meaning that everyone has direct access to God and therefore the ability to do God's will.

The Bible tells us that God acts within human beings to set us free and enable us to assume responsibility for ourselves. If we make wrong choices, God forgives us. Humans, by the grace of God, have developed medicine, surgery, and psychiatry to prolong and enhance life. These same medical approaches can be chosen to prolong or enhance the life of a woman for whom a specific pregnancy would be dangerous.

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All Jewish authorities base their understanding of the Jewish view of abortion on two basic Jewish principles--that preserving life is of paramount importance, and that the fetus does not possess the same status as a living woman. Most Jewish thinkers throughout history have held that when a woman's life or health is at stake, abortion is permissible and sometimes even mandatory, regardless of the stage of fetal development.

Together, pro-choice Christians and Jews base their views on these biblical principles:

Stewardship. Genesis tells us we are created in God's image and that with that gift comes the responsibility for ".every living thing that moves upon the earth" (1:27-28). It follows that, as moral agents, women have the God-given obligation to make decisions about the course of action that seems most responsible in cases of unwelcome pregnancy.

Free will. Created in God's image, we are endowed with the ability to make moral choices. This ability is the very basis of an individual's dignity and autonomy.

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Marjorie Brahms Signer
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