Is the mother's life more important than the unborn child's?

A pro-abortion advocate told me that even God valued the life of a mother over her baby in the womb by quoting Exodus 21:22-23. How do I respond to this one?

Here’s the text of the verse:

When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life.

If you read the verse carefully, you see that the focus of the passage is not the woman but the child. If a miscarriage follows an injury to a woman but no harm is done to the child (i.e., the child is premature but is otherwise unharmed), the assailant is fined for the assault upon the woman. But if harm *to the child *is done (i.e., the child is killed), then there shall be “life for life.” The only way that the “life for life” clause makes sense is if the passage refers to justice for the life of the one who is killed – the child. In other words, this law makes special provision for the lives of unborn children because justice for the woman’s life has already been provided for under the general provision of “life for life.”

Rather than teach that the woman’s life is more important than the child’s, this passage teaches that the unborn child’s life is so important that unborn babies must be protected by human and divine law.

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