Is it a sin to vote for pro-abortion candidates?

Not since the Civil War crisis over slavery has a controversial moral issue so divided Americans and roiled society as has abortion. The deliberate killing of an unborn child through an abortion, though currently enjoying the “legitimacy” of legality in this country (just as slavery was once also legal), is, nonetheless, a grave evil that must be opposed. But how, exactly can one properly oppose something that is already permitted by law?

There are many peaceful, legal, and constructive ways to oppose abortion and work for the overturn and elimination of the existing laws that allow for this hideous crime against children, but the most direct and far-reaching method is to vote for pro-life candidates for political office. Or, at the very least, to not vote for candidates who are avowedly anti-life, (i.e. pro-abortion). Regardless of what your or my political affiliations and inclinations might be, we all should take a moment and reflect on what Scripture says about how our votes will promote or prevent the continued legalization of the crime of abortion.

The first passage to ponder is Exodus 20:13, where God commanded Moses, “Thou shalt not kill.” The literal meaning of this command is “thou shalt not murder” -- the intentional killing of an innocent life. (The term “murder” does not apply to those who are guilty of crimes [cf. CCC 2267]).

The unborn child is a human being made in God’s image and likeness:

Genesis 9:5-7 -- “For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it and of man; of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image. And you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it.”

It’s interesting to note here that in this passage, the truth that humans are made in God’s image is linked to the command to “be fruitful and multiply,” alluding to begetting offspring.

The unborn child is utterly innocent of any evil act, and therefore cannot under any circumstances be intentionally murdered through abortion or any other means. Those who, through their political actions and/or their voting, intentionally promote and perpetuate the crime of abortion, are complicit in the sin of murder. Look at what God says about those who don’t have the courage to stand up and speak out against this crime (and the way we vote is surely a way to “stand up and speak out” about this issue):

In Jeremiah 7:8-10, the Lord speaks words that apply well to Catholics today who countenance abortion, and even promote it: “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’ -- only to go on doing all these abominations?”

Wisdom of Solomon 12:1-6 -- “For thy immortal spirit is in all things. Therefore thou dost correct little by little those who trespass, and dost remind and warn them of the things wherein they sin, that they may be freed from wickedness and put their trust in thee, O Lord. Those who dwelt of old in thy holy land thou didst hate for their detestable practices, their works of sorcery and unholy rites, their merciless slaughter of children, and their sacrificial feasting on human flesh and blood. These initiates from the midst of a heathen cult, these parents who murder helpless lives, thou didst will to destroy by the hands of our fathers ...”

Ezekiel 3:18-21 -- “If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you will have saved your life. Again, if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning; and you will have saved your life.”

Isaiah 5:18-21 -- “Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes . . . Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!”

When you vote in elections that will decide whether pro-abortion versus pro-life candidates will be elected to office, consider carefully this passage from Scripture and what it means, both for those evildoers in public office who promote abortion and for those citizens who knowingly and intentionally assist them by voting for them:

Isaiah 10:1-3 -- “Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the storm which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth?”

Indeed, God is the one who creates each human soul and infuses it, at the moment of conception, in the unborn baby’s tiny body, just created by the physical act of his parents’ union. To intentionally destroy that unborn life is murder, no matter what it may be called in polite society. To be complicit in the continuation of the murder of unborn babies through abortion is to be complicit in that sin, no matter what it might be called in polite society.

The Catholic Church’s Declaration on Procured Abortion:

“It must in any case be clearly understood that whatever may be laid down by civil law in this matter, man can never obey a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity [legality] of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; November 18, 1974; No. 22.)

Patrick Madrid is an author, public speaker and the publisher of Envoy Magazine. Visit his web site at

Additional Bible Verses to Study: Hoseah 4:1-4; Isaiah 33:1; Romans 1:28-32; Isaiah 45:10-12.

Related passages from the Catechism: CCC 312, 1756, 2268-2272, 2322, 2260-2277, 2320-2321.