The Unborn – A Biblical Primer

With Roe vs Wade back in the news, here is a list of biblical passages that Christians should consider as they think about the unborn.

Part 1 – The Value of the Life of the Unborn

The fundamental value of all human life (as opposed to the life of a cow or a caterpillar) lies in the biblical revelation that mankind (male and female) are made in the image of God.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 

Genesis 1:26-27

The circumstantial differences between people, such as their position within the social hierarchy, are not pertinent to value since both are made in the image of God.

Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? 

Job 31:15

The stages of development in the womb are part of the work of God in fashioning humanity. It is impossible to make distinctions on the value of the unborn based on their development as the entire process is orchestrated by God.

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 136:13-16

The unborn already have God given purposes for their life.

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. 

Jeremiah 1:5

But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.

Luke 1:13-15

Part 2 – The Calling to Motherhood

Fruitfulness in progeny is a purpose and blessing from God.

And God blessed them (Adam and Eve), saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 

Genesis 1:22

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. 

Genesis 9:1

And I will make thee (Israel) exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.

Genesis 17:6

Motherhood is the normative calling for women.

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 

Genesis 3:20

Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 

Deuteronomy 7:14

Her children arise up, and call her blessed

Proverbs 31:28

Part 3 – Response to the Social Injustice of Abortion

The midwives in Egypt refused to commit infanticide.

But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.

Exodus 1:17

The Israelites were forbidden from offering their children to Molech

And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. 

Leviticus 18:21

Old Testament Jews and New Testament Christians are to seek the good of the most vulnerable

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 

Isaiah 1:17

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. 

James 1:27

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 

Matthew 25:45


The Biblical teaching on the value of the unborn is clear, as is the responsibility to the most vulnerable in society. These vulnerable ones include the unborn as well as mothers in distress. Just as Christians cared for exposed babies in the Roman Empire by establishing orphanages, homeless children in Europe by establishing Sunday Schools, slaves in the Western world by promoting abolition, so we find Christians in the 21st century funding and supporting pregnancy care centers, adopting, fostering, and caring for babies.