Christian Attitudes to Abortion and Euthanasia
Christians have different views about abortion and euthanasia, but
they all take the issues very seriously. They are part of the
discussion about the Sanctity of Life. Christians believe that all
life is sacred and was given by God. It is a gift from God. To have an
abortion or to accept euthanasia are very serious decisions and
Christians believe that they should not be encouraged for social
reasons. E.g. Abortion is not another form of contraception. It should
only be considered in the most serious circumstances.
Abortion can be spontaneous and is then regarded as a miscarriage or
it can be an operation, which causes the premature expulsion of the
foetus from the womb. An operation to terminate a pregnancy can
legally take place in Britain before the foetus is viable; that means
capable of living independently of its mother. Legal abortion is
usually safe and relatively uncomplicated.
Jesus did not teach his followers about abortion. It was not an issue
in his day. However, those who oppose abortion look for guidance in
Biblical passages, which speak of the sanctity of life. They also
consult teachings of the Church.
The Bible says, in the Ten Commandments:
‘You shall not murder’. (Exodus 20:13)
Some Christians believe that abortion is murder because it ends the
life of the unborn child.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 tells Christians that the body is God’s temple:
‘Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s
Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy
him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.’
Psalm 139:13 states:
‘You created me; you put me together in my mother’s womb.’
Similarly, Jeremiah1: 5 says:
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart.’
Those who are against abortion say that these passages from the Old
Testament show that God knows life from the beginning. Ending life at
any stage is murder.
In Luke 1:41 the unborn John the Baptist, responded to the news of the
coming of Jesus:
‘When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb.’
One of the earliest Christian documents, the Didache, says:
‘You shall not kill by abortion the fruit of the womb.’
This suggests that the issue of abortion has been discussed and
disapproved of by the Church for many years.
Roman Catholic Attitude:
The Roman Catholic Church believes that abortion is a sin in all
They believe that life must be protected from the moment of
conception. It is argued that the foetus is a living person, with a
soul, from the time of conception. Abortion is regarded as infanticide
and, therefore, murder. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches