Abortion: A Biblical, Biological, and Philosophical Refutation

Artwork of tiny baby in adult hands

Evidences testify strongly

by Matt Dawson

Article from peer reviewed technical “Answers Research Journal”

According to the newest report issued by the Guttmacher Institute, 926,200 abortions were performed in the US in 2014. A holistic approach which accounts for biblical, biological, and philosophical truths must conclude that these unborn represent human beings with full personhood. Biblically, God the Almighty Creator establishes the worth and value of humanity by making all people in His own image (Genesis 1:26–27). From Scripture, a progression can be given which traces this image from adults, to the unborn, to conception. Biologically, it is an undisputed fact that a new, complete, genetically-distinct, individual human being is present at conception. Although attempts to redefine conception have been made, embryologists have consistently defined conception as the moment of fertilization for over 100 years. Abortion also cannot be justified philosophically. Some of the most common philosophical arguments for abortion are evaluated and discussed: (1) embryos lack consciousness, (2) abortion prevents children from being born into poverty, (3) monozygotic twinning proves personhood cannot begin at conception, (4) rape justifies abortion, (5) incest warrants abortion, and (6) abortion is often necessary to save the life of the mother.

Abortion continues to be one of the most passionately debated contemporary topics. Undoubtedly, the conversation is emotionally intensified because it affects numerous people personally, either directly or indirectly. Demographically, among women aged 15–44 years, 4.6% will have had an abortion by age 20, 19% by age 30, and 23.7% by age 45. In other words, one in four of all women in the US will have had an abortion by the time they turn 45 years old (Jones and Jerman 2017b, 1907)! The weighty moral and ethical implications of abortion also escalate tensions. To fully ponder the ubiquitous and solemn issue of abortion, one must consider questions of morality, biology, and philosophy.

First, the biblical witness must be considered because the Bible is God’s Word, the authoritative source for all questions of morality. The cornerstone of the biblical witness against abortion is the sanctity of human life. People possess innate worth because God created humans in His own image (Genesis 1:26–27). Exodus 21:22–25 and Psalm 139:13–16 are critically examined to determine if this image extends to the human embryo. Next, this section demonstrates how the total corpus of Scripture supports the value of the unborn. A brief look at Scripture’s position on ensoulment and personhood concludes the biblical section.

The proceeding section weighs the medical and biological facts on abortion. The biological evidence demonstrates that human life begins at conception. Biology also refutes the argument that the embryo is an extension of the mother’s body. Instead, the embryo is a distinct entity with its own genetic code.

Lastly, some common philosophical arguments in favor of abortion are scrutinized. The arguments that abortion prevents children from being born into poverty, that embryos lack consciousness, and that monozygotic (identical) twinning proves that personhood does not begin at conception are discussed first. Then, an examination is given of the instances involving rape, incest, and pregnancies that may jeopardize the life of the mother…

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image credit: Original artwork of tiny baby in adult hands based on unknown author’s photograph