Abortion is the willful termination of a pregnancy in progress. The undivided historical Christian witness had been (up until the 1960s) that such an action is a grave evil, amounting to no less than the murder of a defenseless infant by the abortionist. In the 20th century, as competing philosophies of the nature of human life came to be spoused, the undivided witness of Christianity against abortion was broken. The main positions now held  by different people seem to be as follows (1) total opposition to abortion, (2) an openness to abortion’s legitimacy because in some way or for some reason the unborn is not considered a human being or human person, (3) a position which regards abortion as legitimate in certain (exceptional) circumstances, but largely rejects the practice because it involves taking a human life, and (4) a position which regards abortion as a legitimate practice which is justified merely by the will and decision of the mother/parents. Each of the four positions described above is spoused by individual Christians of all stripes, sometimes in opposition to and/or dissent from the official position held by their corresponding Christian denominations. Thus, for example, each Christian group usually has a subgroup/association which opposes abortion, regardless of the official position of their particular denomination. Similarly, the official positions of each Christian denomination vary among the four possibilities described above ever since the 1960s.
1. Suction Aspiration: This is the procedure most often used in the first trimester of pregnancy (the first three months). The abortionist inserts a suction tube (similar to a vacuum hose with an extremely sharp end) into the mother's womb. The suction and cutting edge dismember the baby while the hose sucks the body parts into a collection bottle.
2. Dilation and Curettage (D & C): In this procedure, the abortionist uses a loop shaped knife to cut the baby into pieces and scrape the uterine wall. The baby's body parts are then removed and checked to make sure that no pieces were left in the mother's womb.
3. Dilation and Evacuation (D & E): This form of abortion is used to kill babies in the second trimester (24+ weeks). The abortionist uses a forceps to grab parts of the baby (arms and legs) and then tears the baby apart. The baby's head must be crushed in order to remove it because the skull bone has hardened by this stage in the baby's growth.
4. Dilation and Extraction (also known as D & X or Partial-Birth Abortion): Used to kill babies well into the third trimester (as late as 32 weeks old), the abortionist reaches into the mother's womb, grabs the baby's feet with a forceps and pulls the baby out of the mother, except for the head. The abortionist then jams a pair of scissors into the back of the baby's head and spreads the scissors apart to make a hole in the baby's skull. The abortionist removes the scissors and sticks a suction tube into the skull to suck the baby's brain out. The forceps are then used to crush the baby's head and the abortionist pulls the baby's body out the rest of the way.
5. Salt Poisoning: This technique is used in the second and third trimester. The abortionist sticks a long needle into the mother's womb. The needle contains salt which is then injected into the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. The baby breathes in, swallows the salt and dies from salt poisoning, dehydration, brain hemorrhage and convulsions. Taking nearly an hour to die, the baby's skin is completely burned, turns red and deteriorates. The baby is in pain the entire time. The mother goes into labor 24 - 48 hours later and delivers a dead baby.
6. Prostaglandins: Used during the second and third trimester, prostaglandin abortions involve the injection of naturally produced hormones into the amniotic sac, causing violent premature labor. During these convulsions the baby is often crushed to death or is born too early to have any chance of surviving.
7. Hysterotomy: Performed in the third trimester, this is basically an abortive Cesarean section (C-section). The abortionist makes in an incision in the mother's abdomen and removes the baby. The baby is then either placed to the side to die or is killed by the abortionist or nurse.
a. RU-486: RU-486 blocks the hormone that helps develop the lining of the uterus during pregnancy (progesterone). This lining is the source of nutrition and protection for the developing baby. The tiny boy or girl is starved to death and then a second drug, misoprostol, causes contractions so that the dead baby is expelled from the womb.
b. Methotrexate: Highly toxic, this chemical directly attacks and breaks down the baby's fast-growing cells. It also attacks the life-support systems the baby needs to survive. When the systems fail, the baby dies. Misoprostol is then used to cause contractions and push the dead baby out of the womb.
c. Abortifacient birth control (the Pill, Depo-Provera, Norplant, the IUD, Emergency Contraception). These abortion-causing chemicals and devices can act to kill preborn children in the earliest days of life. It is well known that abortifacient methods of birth control may act to inhibit ovulation and prevent conception. However, most women don't know they also act to alter the lining of the womb so that the implantation of a newly conceived child cannot occur. If the child cannot implant in the lining of the womb to receive nourishment, he or she dies.
A woman's estrogen level increases hundreds of times above normal upon conceiving - and one of the first physical changes to the pregnant woman's body occurs in the breasts. That hormone surge leads to the growth of "undifferentiated" cells in the breast as the body prepares to produce milk for the coming baby. Undifferentiated cells are vulnerable to the effects of carcinogens, which can give rise to cancerous tumors later in life.
In the final weeks of a full-term pregnancy, those cells are "terminally differentiated" through a still largely unknown process and are ready to produce milk. Differentiated cells are not vulnerable to carcinogens. However, should a pregnancy be terminated prior to cell differentiation, the woman is left with abnormally high numbers of undifferentiated cells, therefore increasing her risk of developing breast cancer. The percentage of risk increase is dependent on the age of a woman when she reaches puberty, when she first conceives and the length of time the pregnancy progresses prior to induced abortion.
Spontaneous abortions, or miscarriages, are not generally associated with increased risk since they generally occur due to insufficient estrogen hormones to begin with.
Based on the most comprehensive medical evidence available, induced abortion is a risk factor for the development of breast cancer. The risk is especially great if the woman has received an abortion at a young age.
Scriptures on the Personhood of Unborn Children Edit
As a Christian, the Holy Scriptures are a source of guidance when confronted with such a grave topic. Here are some scriptural passages dealing with the personhood of unborn children, as well as some guidance from the poster as to what they think the passages say. Needless to say, the question of scriptural interpretation is far from resolved amongst Christians.
Exodus 21:22-24 -- "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. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot".Exodus 21:22-24
Ps. 51:5 -- "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me".Psalm 51:5
Luke 1:41 -- "And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb." John the Baptist is able to recognize and react as a person at the approach of Mary (and Jesus Christ in her womb) even as he himself is in Elizabeth's womb. Luke 1:41
Church Teachings Through History Edit
The Catholic/Orthodox Witness Edit
The witness against abortion has been ancient, continual and consistent in The Catholic Church. Though there may be different reasons why The Catholic Church opposed abortion at different points in time, the overwhelming concensus and teaching has always been that abortion is a great evil.
The Didache Edit
This ancient Christian document (though not carrying the weight of Scripture) is generally dated from about 50AD to 120AD , and purports to teach the sayings of the Apostles; whether this is true or not, the document appears to have been highly regarded by the churches at Syria and Egypt very early on.
The Didache -- "The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions. You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child" (Didache 2:1â€“2 [A.D. 70]). 
St. Gregory of Nyssa Edit
During the 4th century this theologian "advocated the view ... that the life principle quickens the organism from the first moment of its individual existence until its death (Eschbach, Disp. Phys., Disp., iii) "
Council of Eliberis Edit
This Council, held between 306 and 324 (not one of the Oecumenical) was held in Spain. One of the decretals of this council (that is to say, rules of governance, and not declarations of faith) shows just how evil abortion was considered. One of those decretals held "that Holy Communion should be refused all the rest of her life, even on her deathbed, to an adulteress who had procured the abortion of her child." 
Sixth Oecumenical Council Edit
This council is considered ecumenical for both the East and the West (The Roman catholic Church, and the Orthodox Church); in fact it was considered binding on all Christians until the Reformation. It was held in 680AD, and it determined "that anyone who procured abortion should bear all the punishments inflicted on murderers,"  regardless of the stage of gestation of the child.
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 or 1227 to 7 March, 1274) Edit
Though this theologian questioned when the soul was created, and though he spoke of the then-current scientific conviction "that a male child was not fully enough developed to be judged human (and therefore to have a soul) until forty days, and that the female fetus could not be judged fully human until eighty days,"  this theologian totally condemned abortion for any and all reasons. His logic run, in accordance with the Sixth Ecumenical Council, along the following lines: "he who destroyed what was to be a man was guilty of destroying a human life." 
Current Teaching Edit
Canon 1398 of the Roman catholic Church states that whosoever procures a completed abortion is authomatically excommunicated from the sacraments. Of course, reconciliation within the Church back to Communion is possible through the sacrament of Reconciliation (involving repentance, penance, prayer, and absolution).
Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, n. 57: “Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.” 
Finally, it must be pointed out that even though The Catholic Church condemns abortion as an evil act, through the principle double effect, it does not condemn as immoral those surgical procedures done to safeguard the life and health of the mother which result in the death of the infant carried in her womb provided that all the following four conditions are met: 1) That the people involved do not wish the evil effects (the death of the child), but make all reasonable efforts to avoid them (such as trying to re-implant the baby in the womb), 2) That the immediate effect (the saving of the life of the mother) be good in itself, 3) That the evil is not made a means to obtain the good effect; for this would be to do evil that good might come of it -- a procedure never allowed, and 4) That the good effect be as important at least as the evil effect (a common cold is no grounds for abortion). A surgical procedure which truly conforms to the four conditions mentioned above is not equated to abortion because it is not the willful killing of the innocent child.
Non-Denomiantional Evangelical Christians on Abortion Edit
Almost all non-denominational evangelical Christians are strongly opposed to abortion, considering it an evil act of great proportion. They use different proof-texts to prove that such an opposition is firmly grounded on Scripture.
The Episcopal Church on Abortion Edit
The Episcopal Church at its 1964 General Convention stated, "The Church continues to condemn non-therapeutic abortions...." 
Yet its 1967 General Convention approved abortions where "the physical or mental health of the mother is threatened seriously," and in cases where the child would be born with disability or was conceived in rape. In 1976, the Episcopal General Convention reaffirmed this statement and went further. It expressed "unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions in this matter and to act upon them." 
In 1988 a resolution passed which declared that "All human life is sacred...from inception until death....We regard all abortion as having a tragic dimension....We emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection, or any reason of mere convenience...." 
And yet, it is not uncommon for Episcopal Bishops to ignore the 1988 resolution. For that matter, it is not clear that the Episcopal Church as a whole believes in the 1988 resolution. For example, in 2005 Bishop V. Gene Robinson suggested that Planned Parenthood should target Christians so as to "promote abortion rights and comprehensive sex education." 
Lutherans on Abortion Edit
Martin Luther Edit
Martin Luther spoke out on behalf of the child in the womb: "Surely at such a time [conception], the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed." 
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Edit
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod never faltered in opposing abortion. In 1971 the LCM "resolved that willful abortion is contrary to the will of God. Since then this pro-life denomination has worked to develop alternatives to abortion and pastoral approaches to help women and families in this matter. The LCMS has also supported legislative efforts to obtain protection for unborn children." 
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Edit
"The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), formed in 1988 through a merger of the American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, issued a statement in 1991 which speaks of the sanctity of human life. However the statement provides three cases for allowing abortions: rape and incest, fetal disability, and threat to the life of the mother. In addition, the ELCA leadership has interpreted these cases to be 'illustrative, not all inclusive' and opposes laws that 'deny access' to abortion. Moreover, the church's health care plan for pastors and for church workers pays for elective abortions." 
Calvinists on Abortion Edit
John Calvin Edit
John Calvin on his commentary of Exodus 21:22 wrote: "...the unborn, though enclosed in the womb of his mother, is already a human being, and it is an almost monstrous crime to rob it of life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man's house is his most secure place of refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy the unborn in the womb before it has come to light." 
Are Calvinists still following Calvin on this one issue?
Baptists on Abortion Edit
Southern Baptist Convention Edit
The Southern Baptist Convention adopted policies in 1971 "allowing abortion as a decision of the woman or the couple." 
However, in 1980 "The SBC expressed opposition to use of tax money for non-therapeutic abortions and favored legislation 'and/or a constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion except to save the life of the mother.' Resolutions in 1982 and 1984 strengthened pro-life policies; its 1988 resolution states that most Southern Baptist churches opposed Roe v. Wade. From 1987 on, the Christian Life Commission (now known as the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) of the SBC made opposition to abortion, except to prevent the death of the mother, a firm policy, and encouraged churches to develop crisis pregnancy ministries." 
Presbyterians on Abortion Edit
Presbyterian Church (USA) Edit
In 1962 and 1965 the following was the position of the PCUSA: "The fetus is a human life to be protected by the criminal law from the moment when the ovum is fertilized.... [A]s Christians, we believe that this should not be an individual decision on the part of the physician and couple. The decision should be limited and restrained by the larger society." However, "since 1970, [PCUSA] has supported free and open access to abortion without legal restriction." 
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Edit
The CC adopted policies in 1971 "allowing abortion as a decision of the woman or the couple." 
Methodists on Abortion Edit
United Methodists Edit
The UM adopted policies in 1971 "allowing abortion as a decision of the woman or the couple." 
Mennonites on abortion Edit
The Mennonite Church has stood with The catholic Church in upholding the sanctity of life and its opposition to abortion. In 1998 the Mennonite Church USA issued a statement, "Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective," which in part said "Led by the Spirit, and beginning in the church, we witness to all people that violence is not the will of God. We witness against all forms of violence, including . . . abortion" .
In 2003 the Mennonite Church USA once more declared abortion to be counter to biblical principles, "but encourages compassionate responses to those caught in a complex issue." The whole of the statement can be found here.
Other Reformed Christians on Abortion Edit
Karl Barth Edit
This famous and gifted Swiss Reformed theologian, creator of the 13-volume Church Dogmatics, has this to say about abortion (during the years of the Holocaust in Germany): "The unborn child is from the very first a child. It is still developing and has no independent life. But it is a man and not a thing, nor a mere part of the mother's body.... He who destroys germinating life kills a man.... The fact that a definite NO must be the presupposition of further discussion cannot be contested, least of all today." 
United Church of Christ Edit
Formed in 1957 by the union of the Evangelical and Reformed Church with the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches, the UCC adopted policies in 1971 "allowing abortion as a decision of the woman or the couple." 
History of Abortion in America Edit
Susan B. Anthony Edit
Susan B. Anthony, one of the founders of the feminist movement considered abortion as a grave evil. She said, in 1869: "I deplore the horrible crime of child murder. No matter what the motive-love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent-the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed." 
- See main page: Susan B. Anthony
Norma McCorvey Edit
Also known as Jane Roe, Norma McCorvey was the plaintiff in the famous Roe v. Wade case that Federally legalized abortion in 1973. Norma later converted to Christianity and renounced her pro-choice position and has recently sought to have the Roe v. Wade decision overturned.
- See main page: Norma McCorvey
Favorable / sympatheticEdit
- Abortion (Blue Letter Bible)
- Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom in the 21st Century, (MP3) (Albert Mohler Program)
- The Abortion Dilemma (PDF), by Michael A. Grisanti
- Abortion and the Law: Three Clarifications, by John Warwick Montgomery - from Slaughter of the Innocents: Abortion, Birth Control and Divorce in Light of Science, Law, and Theology
- Bonhoeffer on Abortion, by Charles Ford
- The Empty Cradle Will Rock, by Larry L. Eastland - How abortion is costing the Democrats voters--literally.