I am struck with how the debate over whether or not abortion is morally acceptable has become a battle of slogans rather than of reason. I think the major culprits are on the so-called ‘pro life’ side, but at this point there is little rational discussion on either side. This paper seeks to correct that shortcoming, and argues there is NO good reason for opposing abortion as murder, or anything like it.
I cover what I believe are all possible arguments against abortion: that life is sacred, that human life is sacred, that the Bible, or its logic, opposes abortion, and that it is wrong to prevent spirits seeking birth as humans. Because I give reasons for why these claims are flawed, the anti-abortion folks have an opportunity to rebut me.
A few years ago I had been on the road attending weddings, a memorial service for an old friend who recently died, and seeing various friends along the way. During this time I received an email from a woman taking exception to some remarks she had heard me give regarding the legitimacy of abortion. She wrote me “Life is sacred. I have rarely had the courage to say that I think abortion is wrong. Life is so beautiful and mysterious and at the core full of love.”
I replied to her that regarding the basic insight that life is sacred, we agree. Life is sacred. It is also beautiful, mysterious, and I believe is at its core rooted in love. But I do not believe these truths lead to opposing abortion as always wrong.
I. Life, Death, and Ethics
Let’s begin with the question of life and death, for most of the argument against abortion involves the legitimacy of killing a fetus or a fertilized egg. If life is sacred what are we to make of death? And of causing death?
Life’s marvelous abundance is intimately connected to the presence of physical death. Without carnivores who kill to survive we would have not evolved beyond the level of blue green algae. From the coming into being of the first multi-celled beings, death has been an inevitable outcome, even if we escape predation. Life is a process of going through a series of cycles of birth, growth, maturity, decline, and ultimately death. Everyone dies, and that is a part of their having lived.
Imagine a world where beings could reproduce but never died. Most beings reproduce far more individuals than are needed or desirable to carry on the species. In time, and not much time, such a world would become a Hell of malnourished suffering.
Immortality for all would be no blessing to beings that reproduced. As it is, most young plants and animals are eaten, but by their being eaten enables other beings to flourish. Most adults eventually suffer a similar fate, or succumb to disease, the elements, or just bad luck.
With respect to this reality, I have always liked Gary Snyder’s observation: “‘What a big potlatch we are all members of!’ To acknowledge that each of us at the table will eventually be part of the meal is not just being ‘realistic.’ It is allowing the sacred to enter and accepting the sacramental aspect of our shaky temporal personal being.” (19)
Physical death is inescapably a part of life, not an assault on it. As such, if life is sacred, in its own way death is sacred. What lies beyond death is mystery, but those who love life have no reason to regard death as a sign something is amiss with the world, something that needs ‘fixing.’
This point sets the broader context for discussing abortion.
Of mice and aliens
Despite death’s ubiquity, we reasonably seek ways to improve and prolong human life. I agree with this priority. As such, we confront the question “Does abortion end human life?”
To answer this question, we need to be clear about what we mean by “human,” and this meaning is contextual. The anti-choice crowd combines the biological and the moral aspects of being human in an arbitrary and confused way.
If it survives to birth and after, the embryo will become a caring human being. The embryo is indisputably biologically human. So, the critical issue here is Does being biologically human provide the qualities that give people the moral standing appropriate to human beings?
No, it does not.
To see why, let’s start with mice.
Killing a mouse is not murder. When we prepare land for building a home we strive to make sure no human is injured in the process. We feel no equivalent duty to mice. But why does a mouse lack human moral standing? Is this difference in attitude simply an un-examined habit? I think not.
We cannot enter into human-style relationships with mice. So far as we know, mice do not know what it means to promise, they do not dream of their futures and the futures of their young, love others of no utility to them, or take personal responsibility for their actions. If we were to learn mice had any of these qualities, our relationships with them would change. It would become far more complex because we would recognize they were more like us than we have any current reason for thinking.
I am not saying mice have no moral standing, but they do not have the same kind of standing as human beings. A mouse is a sentient being, able to feel fear, pain, and doubtless many positive states as well. A good person will not go out of his or her way to injure a mouse, and indeed many will go out of their way not to do so.
In my view, we have a responsibility to treat other beings with respect. But this is not the same as treating them as moral equals. But what qualities, then, lead to regarding others as moral equals? I think the deeper a potential relationship becomes, the stronger ethical considerations become to modify what we might regard as our personal utility.
Now consider a hypothetical intelligent alien. Science fiction is filled with examples of such beings, and perhaps the universe is as well. Such an alien can make promises, dream of its future and the futures of its offspring, love others for themselves, and take responsibility for its actions. Such an alien will not have our biology. We are more related biologically to mice, or even to an earthworm or algae. So any moral obligations we have toward such a being are unconnected to a common biology, because we have none.
If such an alien entered into friendly relations with us, treated us as moral equals, and evidenced a capacity to put our shared mental qualities above biological ones in determining how it related to us, to my mind such an alien would have ethical standing equal to a human being. Killing a peaceful alien of this sort would be immoral. It would be committing murder.
If my distinction between aliens and mice is reasonable, it is the relative capacity to enter into ethical relationships that determines moral standing. The issue is the quality of possible relationships, real or potential, and not biology.
The moral standing of a fetus
A fetus gains in moral standing the more it possesses human capacities, not human biology. It seems obvious that a zygote or a early term fetus has these qualities only as distant potentials. A fertilized egg cannot promise, cannot make plans, and has no self-awareness. Future mothers care for their fetuses because of what they might become, not for what they are. If a fertilized egg fails to implant itself in the uterine lining, as is often the case, we do not bewail the death of a human being.
Most of us who love babies, and I am one, love them because of what they are as well as for what they might become. Babies can enter into relationships with us, relationships that deepen daily before our eyes, until they become relationships between equals. But from the very beginning, babies relate.
From the fertilized egg to a baby we observe a developing capacity to move from potential human characteristics with moral weight to actual ones. New-born babies still cannot enter into as many complex mutual relationships as can adults, but they interact in ways a fertilized egg never can. We are observing a continuum. There are legitimate grounds for arguing over how and when the moral standing of a fetus changes as it develops. But, at least at most stages, there is no reasonable argument that it enjoys anything approaching equality with a human being and most people, myself included, favor erring on the side of caution regarding protecting a fetus. But during the first two trimesters what is potential is dwarfed by what is actual. We become fully human only through our relation with the world and with other human beings. Even the most advanced fetuses have taken only the first steps along this path.
Given this simple fact, it seems to me throughout most of the process leading towards giving birth it should be entirely the woman’s choice whether or not to carry a fetus to term. A woman who gives birth should be honored for doing so, and not considered simply a container whose life must be subordinated to another’s. Rather than being a fetus’s slave, that is, a slave of something not morally human, a mother should be free to make and receive credit for choosing one of the most powerful actions a human being is capable: bringing another into the world and taking responsibility for seeing that it is raised to adulthood, either by herself and her family, or by giving it up for adoption. A mother who abandons her baby to die is not analogous to a pregnant woman who has an abortion.
If we elevate biology above the moral qualities that give ethical standing on this issue we turn the mother into a means to others’ ends, and in so doing destroy the only powerful case for ethics: that at a minimum, beings such as humans are never properly simply means to others’ ends. The logic of women being forced against their will to give birth even in cases of rape is identical to the logic of forcing some people to be the slaves of others. People possess intrinsic qualities that forever separate them from objects and anti-choice arguments based on biology reject this foundation of human morality.
I hope this argument of mine shows there is no tension between honoring life and regarding it as sacred and fervently supporting a woman’s decision as to whether or not to participate in bringing another life into the world. I believe it establishes a powerful case for women being able to choose for themselves whether to carry a fetus to term or not, at least until very late in the pregnancy.
II: The spiritual dimension: Christianity
But abortion is opposed by some not just because of a category error confusing the biological with the moral. In addition, for many there are religious reasons to oppose it. As such, there are two dimensions to the issue. First, what, in my own heart and judgement, is it right for me to do? Second, when is it right for me to expect others to adhere to my moral standards? The more arbitrary these standards are, the weaker any case I might have that they should apply to others as well as myself.
Let me give an uncontroversial example. Many Americans are vegetarians. Some are vegans. Many of these positions are buttressed by rational arguments with respect to health, environmental sustainability, or our moral relations with the other-than-human world. Some religions enjoin vegetarianism for their adherents. Lives are lived in accordance with these principles, and complex economic activities serve their adherents. And yet, hardly anyone thinks vegetarianism or veganism should be enforced by law. It is a personal ethical decision, often of great importance to the adherent, and nearly everyone is OK with that.
The reason, I suggest, is that everyone recognizes there is an irreducible element of personal judgment in the decision to refrain from eating meat or using animal products of any sort. No widely recognized universal argument enjoys enough support to lead to more demanding claims.
I will argue here that abortion is on the same plane: it is and should always remain a matter of personal judgement, at least until the final phases of pregnancy where the fetus is far enough advanced in development that for most purposes it is arguably reasonable to error on the side of caution.
Taken as a whole, Christianity supports me, and not the anti-choice position. There are very reasonable interpretations of the Old and New Testaments that do not lead one to think of a fetus as a morally considerable human being.
Let’s start with the Old Testament. We are not at the mercy of rival modern scholars debating what Hebraic words may have meant more than 2000 years ago. A community exists with an unbroken record of studying these texts since they were written. Many are quite conversant with ancient Hebrew. Of course, I am talking about the Jews. The Old Testament is not regarded by Jews as condemning abortion. And Jews should know their own literature better than others- they have had thousands of years to study it. The Torah and, indeed the entire Hebrew Bible, says nothing about abortion. A passage in the Torah, however, does discuss the implications of killing a fetus.
And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. (Ex. 21:22-25.)
This passage treats the fetus as more like personal property than a human being. Penalties for a woman’s physical injuries are harsher than for causing the death of a fetus.
While Jewish law explicitly recognizes a fetus’ potential for becoming human, it is not considered a complete human being. Rabbis Raymon Zwerin and Richard Shapiro write “Rashi, the great 12th century commentator on the Bible and Talmud, states clearly of the fetus ’av nefesh hu – it is not a person.’ The Talmud contains the expression ‘ubar yerech imo – the fetus is as the thigh of its mother,’ i.e., the fetus is deemed to be part and parcel of the pregnant woman’s body.” Rashi (1040-1105) used the passage above to justify his interpretation of the scriptures. Maimonides (1135-1204) took a different view. When considering a threat to the mother’s life, he compared the fetus to a rodef, or pursuer, for whom one was not to have pity. Abortion was justified because the fetus actively endangered the mother.
In 2012 the Public Religion Research Institute published a survey of Jewish values. As one might expect, Jews varied widely in their political, economic, and religious opinions, with one exception. Fully 93% of all American Jews support making abortion legal in at least some cases, and 49% argued it should be legal in all cases. 77% of Jewish Republicans supported making abortion legal for at least some cases. Jews are the only religious group surveyed where a plurality supported abortion in all cases. Only 1% of American Jews supported completely outlawing abortion. Jews, who have studied their scripture since long before there were Christians, have not considered the fetus human in the moral sense.
Delving further, many Jews and some Christians believe the Bible indicates we become human upon drawing our first breath after birth. Many Biblical passages support this interpretation. For example, in Genesis 2:7, after God formed Adam, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and it was then that the man became a living being”. Man was not a living being until he took his first breath. Job 33:4, it states: “The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Ezekiel 37:5&6, states “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
Numbers 5:22 even reports that God ordered an abortion: “May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”
Abortion was well-known in Biblical times and the Old Testament is filled with detailed descriptions as to what behavior was acceptable, and what was not. Clothes of different materials were not to be worn, hair was to be cut in certain ways, and shellfish were abominations. The absence of discussions of abortion as wrong, when tattoos were identified as wrong, is powerful evidence it was not rejected as wrong at the time. The large bulk of passages relevant to the abortion issue indicate full humanness arrives only with the first breath, a position with long roots in Judaism as well as Christianity.
If souls came into being instantaneously with fertilization, consider the millions upon millions of miscarriages that have occurred, and continue to do so. All destroy a life. For anti-choice Christians with this view, their own God is the greatest murderer of all, putting Moloch at Carthage to shame (if the stories about Moloch are actually true).
That condemning abortion is given greater emphasis than condemning behavior explicitly denounced in scripture, such as selfishness with wealth or not turning the other cheek, is a sign of something deeply pathological about much American Christianity. But that’s another article.
III: Abortion and the issue of pre-existing spirits seeking birth
Selective use of the Bible does not constitute the only, or even the most powerful, criticisms of abortion from within a broadly spiritual perspective. Another is worthy of serious examination.
Does abortion murder spirits?
Recently I received an email from a woman who wrote me: “. . . you don’t have to be Christian to have found out that abortion does in fact feel like murder – those fetuses’ spirits were already talking to me and yes I feel duped by the feminists and like a murderess.”
She is not alone.
I have spoken with many women convinced they had communication with the spirits that intended to become their babies. One woman I know tells me the spirit told her the name she wanted to be known as when born, a rather unusual name. Her daughter lives up to her name. It’s perfect.
For those of us who believe this happens, and I am one, this reality raises a further dimension to the abortion issue: the fate of the spirits of future babies.
I have no trouble believing that some, maybe all, births have a reincarnational dimension. I think there is considerable evidence this is so. (Wikipedia has an excellent overview of research on the issue. ) Having an abortion would most definitely deprive a spirit of incarnation in that particular instance. But what is the moral weight of this fact?
Would an abortion “murder” that spirit? It would not.
The spirits involved in the accounts women have described to me are already centers of awareness, relationship, and future plans. They did not just come into being, to be snuffed out for all time in an abortion. They existed prior to her pregnancy.
If spirits can communicate with potential future mothers, it makes sense only if they pre-exist the fertilization of the egg. Given that they do not have a body, and they continue afterwards as they had previously, there is no reason to think what happened was murder.
Murder is of a human being, or as my alien example argued, of the moral equivalent of a human being. Whatever else it might be, a zygote is not a human being in that sense, any more than a seed with its first inkling of root is a walnut tree. I am not a logger when I break open a walnut.
The difference between that discussion and this one is I then focused on the biological entity, here I focus on the spirit. Because something has the same genome as a human being does not make it a human being. In this present case the spirit exists separately from the body and preceded it.
Do such spirits have a right to being birthed by the woman of their choice?
An Illuminating analogy
A woman is approached by a man who tells her he cannot live without her. She simply must enter into a relationship with him. She is that important to him. She does not know this man.
Perhaps he tells her in a previous life they agreed to become lovers. She cannot remember this previous life.
Does she have an ethical duty to heed his desires?
I can’t imagine anyone saying she does.
If, in despair over he rejection, the man then killed himself, it would be a misfortune, but few if any of us would hold the woman responsible. She might feel badly for him, but we would regard her as foolish if she then told herself she should have acceded to his wishes.
In my opinion arguing a woman must give birth to a pre-existing spirit because it has chosen her to be its mother is yet one more example of turning women into being primarily servants of others out of a sense of duty or fear. Among other things this prevents them from choosing to enter into relationships with other people out of affection and love.
In my view nothing is more important than the relationship between a child and its parents, and loved children are vastly better off than those who do not experience love, or experience it intermittently. For there to be solid love the relationship between a mother and child must be consensual. Of course, love could develop even when it is initially absent. This was the case in some arranged marriages of the past and I am confident remains true for some today. Fortunate couples developed loving and satisfying relationships. However, I cannot imagine this happy outcome constitutes a justification for forcing marriages on couples who otherwise would not have gotten married.
Given that the spirit that would have entered the fetus continues to exist, and hopefully will find a willing mom, or may even have done so already, I do not think the woman who wrote me committed murder in any sense. The child who embodied that spirit after being born to a future and more willing woman would never have come into existence if the first woman had been forced to give birth. One possible human being came into existence, and another did not, no matter which choice was made. But one outcome also enabled a woman to exercise control over her life whereas the other would have demeaned her to a womb with legs and a brain.
Not giving birth to a child with that spirit constituted a road not traveled and perhaps it would have been a good one. Or perhaps not. Or perhaps the one the woman ultimately traveled was better for her, either in terms of this life, or spiritual lessons, or both. In this life we will never know.
Our lives are filled to the brim with such forks in the road, with paths not taken quickly disappearing over a hill or around a bend. Giving birth or not is one of the larger forks, but it is not uniquely large. Life is filled with many “What ifs….”
We could easily argue a spirit needs to make sure it is welcome before choosing a potential body. Why should its desire for being born be more important than the woman’s? The desire should be mutual.
Someone might argue I am ignoring possible karmic relationships between a spirit and its potential mother. However, if they exist, neither I nor anyone else has the slightest idea what they are. We do know the woman has a life to live. The choice should therefore be hers, and no one else has more than an advisory status. Including the spirit.
To conclude this discussion of the spiritual issues raised by abortion, I want to examine what I think gives maximum weight to the spirit’s side of things.
It MIGHT be true…
Perhaps spirits are on a kind of other-dimensional conveyer belt, each getting one chance at birth before going to the end of the line again, to start a long wait over. This might be.
But if so we return to the issue of miscarriages. In such a case it is a misfortune to be aborted, but no more a misfortune than to be expelled in a miscarriage. I have a difficult time thinking the universe is as messed up as such a possibility suggests, but if it is, spirits seeking birth play the odds. Further, in such a case there is no karmic connection between them and a prospective parent. One will do as well as another.
In addition, if this grim possibility is true, the mother’s life is her equally rare chance to live in a body, and as such, as much as any man, she deserves a chance to live her life as fully as she is capable. No other being should be able to overrule her concerning decisions such as whether or not to risk her life to bring a child into the world, and perhaps devote much of her life to raising it.
Women who choose to give birth should be honored for doing so rather than regarded as fulfilling their earthly function as defined by some men, some women, or some spirit. In a very real sense those who oppose a woman’s right to choose dishonor motherhood, turning it into a fate to endure rather than a choice from the heart to give birth to and raise a child.
Summing up so far
I believe I have examined every argument against abortion, and have found them failures. First, those who equate the biologically human and the morally human confuse two different categories, one of which clearly lacks the moral weight to override a pregnant woman’s choice and the other of which is not linked to biological humanness. Those arguing a fetus is morally a human being because it is biologically human are arguing nonsense.
Second, there is no strong Biblical case against abortion. At the most, the Bible is ambiguous on the subject. For most of history the so-called ‘pro-life’ position has been a minority one and remains a tiny minority among Jews to this day.
Third, other common spiritually based arguments against abortion do not support banning it either. There is no reason to privilege the desires of a spirit that once incarnated will be a human being over an existing human being.
Fourth, women who become mothers are not obedient vessels doing their biological or spiritual duty, they are choosing to make on one of the most important responsibilities a human being can manage: bringing another person into the world. For this they risk their lives, undergo months of suffering, and limit their future lifetime possibilities by subordinating them to that of serving the needs of another. Euripides caught the seriousness of this choice when he wrote “I had rather stand my ground three times with a shield in battle than face a childbirth once.” Perhaps most impressively, few see it in those terms, but have great fulfillment in motherhood. They should be honored when they make such a choice rather than condemned when they do not.
So far I have argued as a man for whom abortion is an issue that affects other people. But for me this is not the full story. It has a very personal dimension, and describing it is how I will close this essay.
IV. A very personal note on abortion
Abortion is anything but abstract and theoretical. A potential human being is expelled from the world. A woman’s life is profoundly affected as she makes one of the weightiest decisions a woman can make. How we approach instances where abortion is a possibility is not just a matter for theoretical arguments. Each case is profoundly personal and profoundly concrete. And so I think I should end my discussion with a very personal instance from my own life. For me, although I am a man, this issue is not just theoretical.
About 17 years ago a dear friend of mine got pregnant. She was unmarried and felt her biological clock ticking. She had long wanted a child, but her partner of many years did not. They had ultimately broken up over the issue. She had moved away, and was supporting herself in a large city. After she became pregnant by another, the father told her he would provide no aid in rearing a child and would have nothing to do with it.
She asked me, among others, what she should do.
I counseled her to get an abortion.
After a while she told me she had decided to keep the fetus and eventually begin her life as a single mom. I and other friends of hers supported her in her decision and hoped everything would turn out OK for them both. We helped as we could.
She moved to the east coast to be close to her parents and have near-by family support, In time she gave birth to a healthy son.
Shortly thereafter she asked me to be his Godfather.
I happily accepted. I was and remain utterly delighted to have him as my Godson, and do all I can to support him. In a way he is the son I will never have as, at 69, I am childless. He is growing up to be a wonderful human being and his mother is doing a wonderful job aiding him along that path. Her life has been hard at times, but I have never heard her question her decision. And she deeply loves her son.
Knowing what I know now, if asked, would I counsel another woman in a similar situation to have an abortion?
Yes, I would.
Equally important, I would be supportive of her no matter what her decision.
Am I contradicting myself or am I in denial?
I do not think so.
The young man I love did not exist in any sense when she asked me that question so many years ago. He was an unknown potential. Had she had an abortion, in time she would almost certainly have gotten pregnant again and given birth to a different child, a child who because of her decision to come to term this time, never existed. I would also have loved that child as hers and, if asked to be his or her Godfather, I would have happily accepted.
Every pregnancy not only creates a potential human being, it also prevents other potential human beings from coming into existence that might have existed had that pregnancy not taken place. And, on balance, those beings would also have developed into (different) lovable children and hopefully (different) loving adults.
There are countless millions of potential children who never came into being because their prospective mothers were already pregnant or their prospective parents met other mates, or an egg accepted one sperm and not another, or for many other reasons. Had they come into being they would be as worthy of love and care as any of those who did. But they did not and they never will. They will never exist, but had things been different they would have.
Throughout life we are surrounded by roads forking into mutually exclusive directions, some probably fulfilling and wonderful, others likely leading to disaster. To have or not have a child, and when to do so, are choices available only to women. But women and men are both often confronted by choices of similarly great importance. What will I choose to do to support myself? Who, if anyone, will be my life partner? Where will I live? Where will I go to college, if I go at all? Even choices that seemed minor at the time can ultimately have major effects, such that our lives would be profoundly different had we made them differently. Many a marriage had its roots when two young people who otherwise never would have met attended a wedding. Had one or the other caught a cold and stayed home, there would have been different weddings – and different children.
All of these options left unexplored would have shaped human lives. But we owe nothing to choices not made, roads not taken, potentials we chose not to pursue. Responsibility exists and potential obligations arise only when we are called upon to make a choice, and then only for the consequences of that choice.
Were a similar woman to ask me a similar question today I would give her a similar answer because I am aware the path a single mom walks is almost always a tough and demanding one. If she is to do a good job as a mother another person’s needs will often take precedence over her personal hopes and dreams. Her health might suffer as well, and she could even die during childbirth, as nearly happened to a woman I know.
By contrast should she keep the fetus and all turn out OK, the child who will exist is an unknown, a hypothetical, one possible fork in the road of her life. It could be a girl or a boy, healthy or with serious birth defects, live a short life or a long one, and so on. If she keeps the fetus, doing so almost certainly will make her life more difficult as well as possibly more fulfilling. She will choose to keep it, if she does, for a still hypothetical human being.
It is appropriate for us to answer her question in terms of what we believe is best for her, a person we know and for whom we care. For the same reason, it is important for us to respect and support her decision, whatever it is. I am not her and I do not walk in her shoes. If we care for her, we respect and honor her decision.
To my mind it is vitally important that a woman make this choice from her heart as well as her mind, so that if she chooses motherhood she does so motivated only by a desire to have a child and raise him or her to adulthood. This heart dimension of her choice is hers and hers alone. Love cannot be commanded, but a child must be loved if it is to be raised well.
Of course, her choice affected many other lives. Because she did not do as I suggested, her decision ultimately changed mine, very much for the better. All my life I will be grateful she chose otherwise. But, no matter what how her choice affected me, that impact was of no ethical weight to override her decision. It was entirely her choice.
 Rabbis Raymond A. Zwerin and Richard J. Shapiro, Abortion: Perspectives from Jewish Traditions, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, http://abortion.procon.org/sourcefiles/abortion-perspectives-from-jewish-traditions.pdf
 Robert P. Jones and Daniel Cox, Chosen For What? Jewish Values in 2012, Public Religion Research Institute, Washington, DC, April 3, 2012. https://www.prri.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Jewish-Values-Report.compressed.pdf
 See for example The Bible Tells Us When A Fetus Becomes A Human Being, The Christian Left, October 31,2012. http://www.thechristianleftblog.org/blog-home/the-bible-tells-us-when-a-fetus-becomes-a-living-being; Abortion and Jude-Christian Religion, Emerald, May 22, 2012. https://emerald7tfb.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/abortion-and-judeo-christian-religion/
 Euripides, Medea line 214.