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Abortion and Christianity: Historical perspectives
This thread is NOT intended as a debate on whether abortion is right or wrong.
I'm genuinely confusedâ€”and curiousâ€”as to how anti-abortionism has become synonymous with much of Christianity, both Protestant and Catholic. Many Christians cite the Bible for their beliefs against abortion. However, the Bible is silent on the issue. It tells us not to "murder" but it never elucidates whether killing a fetus is considered murder (and after all, there are plenty of permissable killings in the Bible). There is even a verse, Exodus 21:22, that seems to be pro-choice: the penalty for striking a pregnant woman and causing her to miscarry is a fine, but if there is any further harm the penalty is eye-for-an-eye.
Jews and Muslims both allow abortions. Nothing in the Old or New Testament directly discusses abortions, and the passage above seems to say that killing a fetus is not equivalent at all to murder.
So where does Christianity's opposition to abortion come from? It isn't a recent idea; the earliest Christiand and church fathers were against it. And anti-abortionism predates Christianity. From the hippocratic oath: