There are some who quote from Sacred Scriptures to support their pro-choice stance on abortion. For others, this is very disturbing. So, I decided to study the Scripture that was referenced as supporting the pro-choice stance. These references included selections from Exodus, Wisdom, Numbers, Job, Hosea, and Psalms.
I will address first some references within Exodus and Wisdom. It is true that the Lord instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh that since he did not allow the people of Israel to flee out of Egypt that the Lord would “kill [his] son . . . [his] firstborn,” which the Lord did do (Ex 4:22; cf. Wis 18:10-16). The Lord did not do this because the Lord did not value the life of Pharaoh’s firstborn. Instead, the Lord was punishing Pharaoh for not allowing the Lord’s plan to save the chosen people of Israel.
Further, it is true that within the narratives of Exodus, Numbers, and Psalms, God indeed allowed the killing of the firstborn of many at the time of Jesus’ birth (Ex 11:4-6; 12:12, 29; Num 33:4; Ps 78:51;105:36;136:10; 137:9). However, God did not allow this because their lives were not valuable. Instead, these children were killed in order to “execute judgement on all the gods of Egypt,” and to “eradicate the enemy,” since Herod wanted to kill the baby Jesus (Osiek and Hoppe, 982). As a result, God protected the plan for eternal salvation of all of humankind by halting the will of men to kill the baby Jesus, and God punished these men for turning away from God, with the hope that these men might turn towards the Lord.
Another Scripture often quoted to support the pro-choice stance is within Hosea, when the Lord “oversaw” and “provoked” the Assyrians to overrun Israel and to kill children of Israel (Lauderville, 1428; cf. Hosea 9:11-16; 11:5-7; 14:1). This allowance by the Lord was an act of “tough love towards a rebellious Israel;” Israel had strayed from the Lord, so the Lord had no choice “but to punish [them] severely” (Lauderville, 1428). With this, the Lord was not devaluing the life of these children. Instead, the Lord wanted Israel to turn their faith back towards the Lord for their salvation.
Some also refer to Scripture within Job as supporting their pro-choice stance on abortion. Within Job, it is true that the Lord allows Satan to kill the children of Job (Job 1:8-12). However, the Lord was not illustrating that the life of Job’s children was not valuable. Instead, the Lord was allowing Satan to test the faith of Job by killing his children. Again, it is the faith and eternal salvation of Job that most interested the Lord.
So how do I know that God has favor for these killed children? Well, God created all of creation, and God created all of humankind. God wants nothing but the best for God’s own creation. As a result, God offers eternal salvation for all these killed children, for these “Holy Innocents” (The Liturgy of the Hours, 1:1272, 1276, 1278).
God does indeed value all of human life. With this, these references above do not support the legality of abortion at all. Instead, these references demonstrate the Lord’s strongly and even forcefully wanting humankind to find, accept, and cooperate with the precious and divine gift of salvation and eternal life!
International Committee on English in the Liturgy. The Liturgy of the Hours According to the Roman Rite. 4 vols. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Corp., 1975.
Lauderville, Dale. “The Book of Hosea: Introduction.” In Anselm Academic Study Bible, Catholic ed., New American Bible Revised Ed., edited by Carolyn Osiek and Leslie J. Hoppe, 1426-1428. Winona, MN: Christian Brothers Publications, 2015.
Osiek, Carolyn, and Leslie J. Hoppe, eds. Anselm Academic Study Bible. Catholic ed. New American Bible Revised Ed. Winona, MN: Christian Brothers Publications, 2015.