Abortion as we know it today was not practiced in biblical times, and the Bible never specifically mentions the issue of abortion. It is clear from the Scriptures that an unborn baby is known by the Lord, even from the time of conception (Psalm 139:13-16). Although the Bible does not mention abortion or aborted babies, we do have two keys to help us unlock the answer to the question of whether the souls of aborted babies go to heaven.
The first key is from the only passage in the Bible where something specific is said about the death of infants. In 2 Samuel 12 we learn of David’s affair with Bathsheba, another man’s wife. David was informed by the prophet Nathan that the child produced by that union would die. David then began to fast and pray, asking the Lord to not carry out His judgment. When the child did die, David got up from praying and fasting and ate something.
When asked about this behavior, David uttered the words recorded in 2 Samuel 12:23, “Now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” David’s words reflect a clear understanding that the child could not come back to earth, but David would be with his child one day in heaven. This indicates not only David’s assurance of his own future in heaven (Psalm 23:6), but also the assurance that his child would share that future. From this account, we can conclude that infants who die are destined for heaven.
The second key to dealing with this issue is an understanding of the character and attributes of God. A God of justice must punish sin, for the Bible teaches us that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Neither an unborn child nor an aborted baby has had the opportunity to willfully sin; however, every child conceived bears the sin nature inherited from Adam (Psalm 51:5) and is therefore subject to judgment. At the same time, God reveals Himself as a God of goodness and mercy (Psalm 136:26). He is “gracious in all His works” (Psalm 145:17). It could very well be that God, in His grace, applies the sacrifice of Christ to the unborn victims of abortion. We know Christ’s blood is sufficient for such a thing. After all, Jesus died “for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
The Bible does not specifically say whether or not an unborn child who dies goes to heaven. Without a clear passage, we can only speculate. However, we know of God’s love, goodness, and compassion. We know of David’s confidence that he would be with his child again. And we know that Jesus invited the children to come to Him (Luke 18:16). Based on these sureties, we believe it is appropriate to conclude that the souls of children are immediately in the presence of God when their lives are cut short by abortion.