Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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In the midst of a broadly permissive Roman Empire (Rome), the early Christians consistently condemned abortion in no uncertain terms. Rooted in the theological values of Judaism, which saw the fetus as an object of God’s care, ancient church writers viewed abortion as homicide and proscribed it along with infanticide. Abortion was chiefly seen as an issue of violence and was condemned as part of an overall ethic that opposed Christian participation in human bloodshed of any form.


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Arner, Robert, “Abortion”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 27 September 2020 <>
First published online: 2018

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