The pioneers of Adventism are on record as condemning abortion on the very simple grounds that abortion is murder. An 1867 Advent Review article called “Fashionable Murder” was the first foray into the topic by our writers.
And for a century, printed thoughts on abortion were the same. J. H. Kellogg, James White and others shared the view that once conceived, a person is protected by the 6th Commandment.
Exo 20:13 “Thou shalt not kill.”
This view, established by Scripture, was not changed by Scripture. The Bible speaks clearly that David was David from his very conception. And it presents John the Baptist, as Christ’s forerunner, rejoicing in the presence of Jesus when both of them were yet unborn. Yes, John started his work before his first breath.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me (Psalm 51:5).
And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy (Luke 4:41-44).
More than this, the penalty for accidentally injuring a pregnant woman so as to cause a premature birth was a serious fine. And if the unborn child was itself found to have been injured or killed, whatever injury was suffered was to be imposed on the injurious person.
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” (Exodus 21:22-25 NIV).
The artistic work of God in fashioning you preceded your birth and even the formation of your organs in the womb. As John the Baptist had his mission before he was born, so you had a purpose before you had a breath too.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:13).
When was Jeremiah set aside the work of being a prophet? Not at, but before his day of birth.
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations (Jer 1:5 ).
These are all ways of saying, in simple language, that life begins at conception and is protected there by God’s law from being terminated by another person. Continue reading on Fulcrum 7