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Exodus 21 and Abortion
With commentary from Christian Humor Guide Greg Hartman
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One Scripture that gets batted back and forth between prolifers and abortion defenders is Exodus 21:22-25.

"If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." (NIV)

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine]. 23. And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25. burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (King James Version)

Some Christians try to use this scripture to defend abortion, saying that it means that causing a miscarriage isn't the same as causing the death of a human being. The person who strikes the pregnant woman, they claim, is only liable if the premature expulsion of the fetus also injures or kills the mother. The death of the fetus, they claim, is a minor offense and only requires restitution, as would be appropriate for damaging a man's property. Which group was interpreting this passage appropriately? I turned to About's Christian Humor Guide, Greg Hartman, for help. Here's what he had to say:

When I looked online for commentaries on this passage, I also found other points being reinforced. One is that this verse underscores is that we are responsible not only for wrongs we deliberately inflict on others, but also even for harm we cause unintentionally, through our carelessness

Another point was that pregnant women were singled out for particular care. The passage doesn't specify penalties for harming bystanders in general during a conflict, but specifically protects the expectant mother and her unborn child. The miraculous process of gestation, of bringing fruition to a new life, is given special attention.

Next, more scriptures and what they say to believers about abortion.

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