Exodus 21 and abortion

Pro-choice advocates often refer to a passage in Exodus 21 to support their views. 

When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:22–25, ESV)

The short version is that the key word of the passage is often not translated well and says “miscarriage” instead of “children come out.”  It you study the original Hebrew it becomes very clear that Moses did not mean that if the child is killed that the penalty is less severe.  I highly recommend the following resources as thorough and accurate rebuttals to the pro-choice claims: What Exodus 21 says about abortion by Greg Koukl and The Misuse of Exodus 21:22-25 by Pro-Choice Advocates by John Piper.

But that is just one of many problems with their use of this passage.  Here is a full list:

1. They get the text wrong.  This is a pro-life passage, not a pro-legalized abortion passage.  If Moses wanted to say “miscarriage” he could have used a much more specific word for that.

2. They ignore or rationalize away other Biblical texts that they don’t like, such as Leviticus 18:22 (ESV – You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.)  So why do they find Exodus 21 so authoritative? 

They ignore passages like Romans 1 where Paul explicitly declares homosexual behavior to be sinful because they think Paul didn’t know enough about biology and psychology (and they unwittingly tip their hand that they don’t believe any scripture is truly inspired by God).  But if Paul is so ignorant and scripture is un-inspired, why trust Moses to know key scientific facts?  They should dismiss the “miscarriage” term even if it had been in the original text because he didn’t have access to the scientific fact that a new human life begins at conception.

3. They don’t even agree with the other teachings of Exodus 21, such as verses 23-25. 

But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

They are almost exclusively anti-capital punishment.  So why do they rationalize away the destruction of over a million innocent human beings per year in the U.S. based on a poor translation of a single word and then ignore the rest of the passage which is much more clear?

4. They ignore the endless pro-life passages in the Bible.

In summary, Christians (the uninformed kind) and “Christians” (the fake kind) who use Exodus 21 as support for abortion on demand serve up a quadruple dose of FAIL.  If it weren’t for people like them Roe v Wade and the destruction that followed would not have happened.

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0 thoughts on “Exodus 21 and abortion”

  1. Let’s give credit where credit is due. The democrats are not the cause of abortion. It’s a dude called Lucifer. He’s the one to blame also for gay marriages…and so forth. Lots of political rhetoric flying around…demos against repubs…and vice..versa. We’re all in this together. And its time to call a spade a spade. No one is responsible for abortion except the destroyer…and the woman who choses to follow his lead. The same Lucifer is the author of adultry…which is basically and alright thing with our church folk. Lots and lots of sin all around. And sin is no respector of political parties. We just hang in there is pray.

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