The Biblical Basis for
Being Pro-Choice

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

BY: Marjorie Brahms Signer


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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.

Personhood. The Bible's portrait of personhood centers on the woman and man who bear the image of God and live in responsible relation to God.

The sanctity of life. All religions revere life. It is because we believe in the sanctity of all human life that we are sensitive to the effects of an unwanted pregnancy on women and families. We pray for a world in which every child is wanted, loved, and cared for. Because we believe in the sanctity of human life that we believe a child has the right to enter the world wanted and loved. Because we believe in the sanctity of human life we are sensitive to the effects of an unwanted pregnancy upon individual women, upon their loved ones and their families, and we recognize that they, not we, must determine what is best for those directly concerned and involved.

Respect. The Bible places full responsibility for procreation in the hands of parents. Requiring a woman to complete a pregnancy against her will devalues motherhood and shows lack of respect for women.

Religious Liberty. Religious Americans honor the dignity and value of all human life but recognize that different religious traditions hold a variety of views regarding when life begins and when ensoulment occurs. In this nation all are free to live according to their consciences and religious beliefs. No one religious philosophy should govern the law for all Americans.

In conclusion, being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. Bishop Melvin Talbert of the United Methodist Church put it this way in a 1996 sermon: "In reality, there are many of us who believe that choice is the most logical and the most responsible position any religious institution can take on this issue. My sisters and brothers, we are dealing with something that is deeply spiritual and cannot be left to those who would choose to politicize this issue and further victimize those who must ultimately decide for themselves."

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