Abortion: The expulsion of an embryo or foetus before it can live on its own

ABORTION

The expulsion of an embryo or foetus before it can live on its own. Common use often distinguishes between abortion and miscarriage, the former being defined as the deliberate and induced emptying of a pregnant uterus, the latter being considered as the accidental and unavoidable interruption of pregnancy.

Bas relief of a massage abortion. The operator...

Bas relief of a massage abortion. The operator is a demon rather than a traditional birth attendant. The pregnant woman’s abdomen is darkened from being touched by pilgrims to Angkor Wat. The bas relief dates from about A.D. 1150. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The distinction between abortion and miscarriage is not made in the Bible; there the terms are used in a broader and interchangeable sense. The Hebrew sha·khalʹ, meaning “suffer an abortion” (Ex 23:26), is also rendered “bereave” (De 32:25), ‘bereave of children’ (Le 26:22), ‘miscarry’ (Ho 9:14), and “prove fruitless” (Mal 3:11). The Hebrew word yoh·tseʼthʹ, rendered “abortion” in Psalm 144:14, is from a root meaning “come out.” (Compare Ge 27:30.) The expressions “miscarriage” and “one prematurely born” (Ps 58:8; Ec 6:3) render the Hebrew word neʹphel, which comes from the root na·phalʹ, meaning “fall.”— Compare Isa 26:18.

Unavoidable abortion or miscarriage may be caused by accident, infectious disease, mental or physical stress and strain, or because of a general organic weakness on the part of the mother. The waters near Jericho were death dealing, causing miscarriages, until Jehovah’s prophet Elisha healed them.

19 In time the men of the city said to E·liʹsha: “My master can see that the city is well-situated;+ but the water is bad, and the land is barren.”* 20 At that he said: “Bring me a small new bowl and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went out to the source of the water and threw salt into it+ and said: “This is what Jehovah says, ‘I have healed this water. No more will it cause death or barrenness.’”* 22 And the water has been healed down to this day, according to the word spoken by E·liʹsha.2Ki 2:19-22.

Deliberately to induce abortion or miscarriage by artificial means, by the use of drugs, or by medical operation, the sole purpose of which is to avoid the birth of an unwanted child, is an act of high crime in the sight of God. Life as a precious gift from God is sacred. Hence God’s law to Moses protected the life of an unborn baby against more than criminal abortion, for if in a fracas between men a pregnant woman suffered an accident fatal to her or the child, “then you must give soul for soul.” (Ex 21:22-25) Of course, before applying that penalty, the circumstances and degree of deliberateness were taken into consideration by the judges. (Compare Nu 35:22-24, 31.)

22 “‘But if it was unexpectedly and not out of hatred that he pushed him or threw any article at him without malicious intent,*+ 23 or if he did not see him and caused a stone to fall on him and he was not an enemy or seeking his injury, and the person died, 24 the assembly should then judge between the one who struck him and the avenger of blood, in harmony with these judgments.+ …  31 You must take no ransom for the life* of a murderer who is deserving to die, for he should be put to death without fail.+ (Numeri 35:22-24, 31)

But emphasizing the seriousness of any deliberate attempt to cause injury, Dr. J. Glenn comments:

“The viable embryo in the uterus IS a human individual, and therefore destroying it, is a violation of the sixth commandment.”—The Bible and Modern Medicine, 1963, p. 176.

Properly viewed, the fruitage of the womb is a blessing of Jehovah.

“‘I will direct my favor to* you and make you fruitful and multiply you,+ and I will keep my covenant with you.+  (Le 26:9)

 Look! Sons* are an inheritance from Jehovah;+ The fruit of the womb is a reward.+ (Ps 127:3)

Hence, in promising to prosper Israel, God gave assurance of successful culmination of pregnancy and the bringing forth of children, saying:

“Neither a woman suffering an abortion nor a barren woman will exist in your land.” (Ex 23:26)

As indicated in the prayer of the righteous, on the other hand, evidence of God’s disfavour to his enemies would be their having miscarrying wombs and their becoming like miscarriages that never see the sun.

 May they be like a snail that melts away as it moves along; Like a woman’s stillborn child who never sees the sun. (Ps 58:8)

14 Give them, O Jehovah, what you should give them; A womb that miscarries and dry* breasts. (Ho 9:14).

Job in his misery contemplated that it would have been better had he been “a hidden miscarriage.”

“Why from the womb did I not proceed to die?”

this tormented man cried out. (Job 3:11-16) Solomon, too, reasoned that a prematurely expelled foetus is better off than the person who lives a long time but who never comes to enjoy life.

If a man should become a father a hundred times and live for many years and reach old age, yet he* does not enjoy his good things before he reaches the grave,* I must say that a stillborn child is better off than he is.+ (Ec 6:3).

Contagious abortion, a disease characterized by premature birth, may occur among animals such as cattle, horses, sheep, and goats. Accidental abortion due to neglect or disease of domestic animals has also been known since the days of the patriarchs Jacob and Job.

38 During these 20 years that I have been with you, your sheep and your goats never miscarried,+ and I never ate the rams of your flock. (Ge 31:38)

10 Their bulls breed without failure; Their cows give birth and do not miscarry. (Job 21:10).

+

Preceding articles:

The Risk Factors Associated with Abortions

Should I Have An Abortion

My Choice (by Jezabel Jonson)

The Real ‘Choice’

“They Told Me What I Wanted To Hear” – Real Abortion Stories

The Things We Carry, by Penny

Not an easy decision to make

Whoopi Goldberg commandments and abortion

Stop Burning Rape Survivors at the Stake

How to heal after childhood sexual abuse

“Til It Happens To You” by Lady Gaga

Abortion — Not a Trouble-Free Solution

Next: Fruitage of the womb

++

Additional reading:

  1. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  2. About lions and babies
  3. Westboro Baptist Church and Catholic Truth against Nelson Mandela
  4. Always a choice

+++

Further reading:

  1. Friendships
  2. A little bundle of God’s Awesomeness
  3. Infertility and Shame: The Body Brokenthe miracle of a mother
  4. Delays…Of Course
  5. The Baby I Was Never Able To Meet
  6. Life After Loss – 5 Things Watching My Best Friend Survive Infant Loss Taught Me
  7. Not-So-Happy Birthday
  8. Dear Little One (who left too soon)
  9. The Hours of LossCouple Who Suffered 4 Miscarriages Asks For Prayers After Welcoming Premature Baby Boy
  10. GOP InbreedingPlanned Parenthood clinic in Appleton suspends abortion services
  11. Grieving a miscarriage
  12. My Miscarriage Story
  13. The Spirit Baby that wanted to stay
  14. Letter to our Angel
  15. A Tip (or six) From Me to You.
  16. The Gift within The Grief {The grief of losing a child and the gift of a receiving a church}
  17. Gianna Jessen Testimony – Video
  18. The Age Thing
  19. Aiding the Innocent: Abortion.
  20. The Tree of Life
  21. Sander’s Saturday: Abortion
  22. Judge rejects Roeder’s motion to bar Hard 50 sentence
  23. Anti-choice groups want you to get your next pap smear at an elementary school
  24. Why Catholic Hospitals are Messed Up
  25. The Saturday Post(s)
  26. Prostitution, porn, and abortion: three sides of the same coin
  27. Anger | Forgivness | God
  28. Eva and Eden
  29. Sad News
  30. Baby #3???
  31. I Was Afraid You Wouldn’t Understand {Grieving Lost Embryos}
  32. Picking up the pieces after another loss
  33. Happy-Due-Date, angel baby.

1 Comment

Filed under Crimes & Atrocities, Health affairs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters

One response to “Abortion: The expulsion of an embryo or foetus before it can live on its own

  1. Pingback: The Catholic synod on the family and abortion | From guestwriters

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