In discussions on abortion, I've seen this passage used to say that God doesn't care about abortion.
When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:22-25)
"In this passage," they say, "you can see that the only concern here is for harm to the woman. No harm to the woman? No penalty. Harm to the child? Irrelevant." I think this reasoning is 1) patently false and 2) the text actually supports the pro-life view.
Consider. The premise is a pregnant woman is hit by some men, intentionally or not, causing the child to be released. That's the subject. That's the prime condition. The rest of the text is about what should happen. Without any disagreement, the text says "if no harm" then the judge determines a penalty and "if harm" then the penalty is "life for life," etc. We're all clear on this. The question, then, is harm to whom?
Pro-abortionists say it's the woman. I think the text and evident reason makes that nonsense. The subject is not the woman. The subject is not even the "abortion" -- the termination of the pregnancy. The subject is the result of that termination. If the point was "don't harm a woman," there were already sufficient laws on the books to cover that. "Terminated pregnancy" would not be a factor. The only possible subject here is the baby that comes out as a result of the hit.
Look at it this way. If the text was saying, "If you hit a pregnant woman and her child comes out and the woman dies, it is the death penalty," it would be perfectly redundant. If you hit a pregnant woman and her child did not come out and she died, the penalty would be the same. If you hit a woman who was not pregnant and she died, the penalty would be the same. This cannot be the point of the text. There is no question on the laws of what to do to someone who harms another (especially a woman). The question being addressed here is "What about the unborn?"
In this scenario, then, if the baby presents prematurely from the action and is born healthy, there is a payment for the perpetrator. If the baby is harmed, there is the same rules applied to human life -- "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." If the baby dies, it is the death penalty. If the baby loses an eye, so shall the perpetrator. And so on. The "life for life" clause is the standard human ruling (Genesis 9:6) -- capital punishment for murder. That is the standard pro-life position; a child in the womb is a human life deserving of all the care and protection of any other human life. The Bible concurs. Modern society does not. You decide which is right -- God or the pro-abortion folks.
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"Point of Reference" from