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Abortion and Capital Punishment

Posted by Matt Postiff February 18, 2021 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology  Society  Bible Texts 

Here is a short "Bible Literacy" video about abortion and capital punishment.

Many people who are in favor of capital punishment are opposed to abortion, including a good number of Christian people. But, isn’t this inconsistent? It is about the same as someone being for abortion but against capital punishment! Those who are opposed to both abortion and capital punishment, or who are in favor of both, seem more consistent from the standpoint of preserving life.

But our interest is not in who is more or less consistent on the basis of a single metric—that is too limited of a view. We are trying to increase our basic Bible literacy by understanding what the Bible teaches about these matters.

We turn to Exodus 21:22-23, where a matter of case law is given in which a pregnant woman is struck by someone. If she gives birth prematurely but the baby lives, it is a civil infraction with a monetary penalty. But if the baby dies, the Law of God in the Jewish theocracy stated that it was to be punished by the lex talionis, “life for life.” The law stated that if the baby died, the perpetrator was to be punished with death. That is how seriously God takes human life. It is precious in His sight, even in the mother’s womb. Abortion is just a “decorated” word for what amounts to exactly the same thing—murder of an innocent human.

The reason that some people take the “inconsistent” position for capital punishment and against abortion is that the Scripture teaches so. Consistency comes to view when you look at the issue through the lens of justice—it is unjust for an innocent baby to be killed, but it is perfectly just for a murderer to forfeit his life. The opposite view—that capital punishment is wrong and abortion is OK is actually inconsistent from this justice perspective—why does an innocent baby deserve to die, but a criminal guilty of a horrific crime deserve to live? Abortion basically is capital punishment…done to an innocent child.

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