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The Beliefs and Actions, Past and Present, on Church and Abortion

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The Beliefs and Actions, Past and Present, on Church and Abortion

For as long as there has been recorded history, there have been recordings of the procedure now known as abortion. The Bible appears to be silent on the topic, which is of no support to Christian groups, especially Catholics, who believe that abortion is a mortal sin. In his book, “The Morality of Abortion: Legal and Historical Perspectives,” John T. Noonan (1970) states that “The Old Testament has nothing to say on abortion” (6). John Connery (1977) agrees with Noonan in his book “Abortion: The development of the Roman Catholic Perspective” where he writes, “If anyone expects to find an explicit condemnation of abortion in the New Testament, he will be disappointed. The silence of the New Testament regarding abortion surpasses even that of the Old Testament” (34). This is a difficult silence to understand when one considers the fact that abortions were widely practiced during the New Testament era in the Middle East. There were few recorded legal prohibitions against abortion in antiquity, and even fewer ancient laws protecting the practice (Gilbert 1).

Although abortion was not a big issue at the time, infanticide, or killing the baby outside the womb after delivery, was a prominent subject of debate, much like abortion is today (1). At the time, this seemed to be a safer way to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. Both Hippocrates, the “father of modern medicine” and Soranos, the “Greatest of the ancient gynecologist,” both opposed abortion, but their reasons for opposition are unclear and could have been for either the protection of the mother or the fetus (1). The more sophisticated medical methods for abortions became, the more they were met with cr...

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Childress, James F. and Macquarrie, John (1986). The Westminster Dictionary of

Christian Ethics. Philadelphia: Westminster Press. 1-6.

Connery, John. (1977). Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective.

Chicago: Loyola Press. 34.

Flanders, Carl N. (1991). Abortion. New York: Facts on File. 29-31, 18-20, 219, 51-52,

213, 16, 46.

Gilbert, Jeff. (2001, 2/8). Abortion Perspectives. GilbertJe@pottersschool.com.

Introductions. Available: http://www.pottersschool.com/abortion/bible.html.

Noonan, John T. (19700. The Morality of Abortion: Legal and Historical Perspectives.

Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 6.

Robinson, B.A. (1997-2000). Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.

Robisonba@religoustolerance.com. What the Bible Says About Abortion.

Available: http://www.religioustolerance.org/abibl.htm.
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