Conservatives have turned the issue of reproductive choice into a political issue to leverage support from those personally opposed to the procedure. Before the mildly recent envisioned turmoil ensued, views on the reproductive procedure were innately less extreme and proselytized. The conservative opposition to abortion frequently includes an abundance of religious influence.
Whether these claims are authentically or disingenuously attributed, the conservatives contend that the Bible equivocally condemns abortion. Although, according to the Bible, a fetus is not a living person with a soul until after drawing its first breath.
In Genesis 2:7, after God formed man He ?breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and it was then that the man became a living being?. Although the man was fully formed by God in all respects, he was not a living being until after taking his first breath.
The problem for people on either side of the abortion debate regarding the Bible is the fact that the Bible does not specifically refer to abortion. No references exist in regard to women seeking to end pregnancies by ingesting herbs, other chemicals, or by any other means, despite the fact that abortion was a known practice at the time. This absence of consideration may be interpreted as inferred acceptance, but most conservatives assert that a negative position on abortion is implied through the contextually misguided verses that when parsed together nearly represent their negative perspective.
The Bible can clearly be used to imply that a fetus is not considered a living human being since the resulting punishment for the abortion is nothing more than a fine; abortion is not classified by the bible as a capital offense. Exodus 21:22 states that, ?If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follows: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.? Exodus is clear that murderers receive capital punishment, but killing a fetus is not punished with death. This is the closest the Bible comes to commenting on abortion. Judaism’s refusal to unequivocally condemn abortion stems from this verse.
In fairness, a limited amount of biblical verses suggest that a fetus exists as a person. Psalms 139:13-15 describes God knowing a person in the womb. But, several reasons exist, textually as well as contextually, to read this more poetically than as a literal description. Nothing in the bible indicates that a fetus is considered to be anything other than living tissue and, according to scripture, a fetus does not become a living being until after it has drawn its first breath. In Job 33:4, it states, ?The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.?
Regardless of what the Bible says, biblical verses are an inappropriate basis for public policy. Even if the Bible explicitly condemned abortion, at best that should only dictate a reason for believers of the Bible to personally reject abortion and urge against themselves going through the procedure. Personal convictions are not the same as criminalizing the actions of others. Because criminal prohibitions apply to all citizens, not just those who regard the Bible as Holy Scripture, the government should not ban abortion on the basis of biblical injunctions. Thankfully, the government does not have the authority to be favorable of the Bible for this sort of special treatment. Regardless of the importance of the Bible and its teachings to its followers, they cannot abuse their power as an electoral majority to impose it upon everyone else. The Establishment Clause in the United States Constitution states that the government ?shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”