There are not a few professing Christians who would unhesitatingly answer "no" to the above question.
As a justification for their reasoning, the verse in Job 3:16 is usually brought up:
Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light. Job 3:16 KJV
Why was I not like a buried stillborn child, Like babes who have not seen light? Job 3:16 CLV
Or that, like an untimely birth hidden away, I had not come into being, like infants that never saw light.
Job 3:16 Rotherham
Many see this as proof that being a fetus is the same as not yet existing.
Quoting from one “Christian source,” this person says:
“The first point that all should consider is the question: Is an unborn fetus considered by God as a bone fide human being? The answer is clearly “no” in all aspects of the word and this is shown in the text of the Holy Scripture. When the patriarch Job was complaining about his affliction and pain, he made the statements to God that he wished he had never been born. He said:
“Let the day perish in which I was born. ... Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from my eyes. Why died I not from the womb? Why did I not give up the spirit when I came out of the belly? ... Or as an untimely birth I had NOT been; as infants which never saw light. Job 3:3, 10-11, 16.”
"That last verse, Job 13:16 tells us very much about how Job saw the matter of being a fetus. He saw it as “not having being,” or as we would say, “not having existence.” That is exactly what the text says and that is what any common sense person would accept as the teaching of Job."
How are we to respond to this?
As must be done in all biblical studies, let’s look at this more closely.
Remember Job’s situation. He just lost all of his children; all of his possessions; all in one day; and all by God’s decree. He is covered with boils from head to toe. His wife is instigating him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Renounce God, and die.”
“Then Satan left the LORD's presence and made sores break out all over Job's body.
Job went and sat by the garbage dump and took a piece of broken pottery to scrape his sores. His wife said to him, "You are still as faithful as ever, aren't you? Why don't you curse God and die?" Job 2:7-9
Job is just like all of us and he does what we all do at that point in our own situations where God is dealing with our unrighteousnesses. He longed that he had died in the womb, and had never have to face these sufferings. Those who have not experienced God’s dealings will not identify with Job's statement about wishing he had died in the womb. Those who have been there will know exactly what Job meant.
Yet, just using this one verse, some will say that this verse is teaching that God considers a fetus as "not having been."
But like Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:20, we must never make the mistake to use just one verse of scripture to establish a teaching: “..knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture at all is becoming its own explanation."
The Truth is established only upon “the sum of God’s Word.”
“The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of your righteous ordinances endures for ever.” Psalm 119:160
There is a lot more to be said on this matter. Job's words do not contradict the rest of scripture, but the rest of scripture gives a clearer view of what Job's words mean.
Does the Bible consider a fetus "as if it had never been?" Look at the incident in Exodus.
In Exodus 21:22 we read, “And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow; he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.”
Does this look like God considered the woman's child, "had not been?" If it "had not been" then why should "he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.”
One thing is certain. Neither Job nor Exodus have deliberate, premeditated abortion in view. There is no room for the letter of the law in the hearts of God's people and there is not one word in the Bible that deals with deliberate abortion simply because "thou shalt not kill" was understood as covering any such an act of deliberately killing a living fetus.
Look again in Exodus: Exodus 21:22 - “And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow; he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.”
This woman is "with child." God in His mercy, allows for the fact that this is not deliberate murder as is a deliberate abortion, and just as he treats an accidental death of an adult, and provides "cities of refuge," so too, He allows the woman's husband to determine what will be this man's fine. Deliberate death is not even under discussion or consideration, and for some professing Christian’s failure to see this and continue to say that “aborting a fetus in the womb of a mother is not murder because the fetus is not yet a human being...” is perplexing, to say the least.
Job wished he had never been born. He wanted to die and could not die, because he still had to learn that he, of himself, had no integrity.
Look as well at the incident with Isaac and Rebecca.
And not only so; but Rebecca also having conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
or the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calls,
it was said to her, The elder shall serve the younger. Even as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
God's sovereignty had already determined the birth of these twin brothers and the two nations they were to become. But one thing this tells us is that God does not consider fetuses which were to become nations as something that "had never been." He certainly did not wait until the children were born to decide what path their lives would take.
And Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebecca his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her. And she said, If it be so, wherefore do I live? And she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, Two nations are in your womb, And two peoples shall be separated from your bowels. And the one people shall be stronger than the other people. And the elder shall serve the younger. Genesis 25:21-23
Rebecca didn’t think of these fetuses as "not having been". They were so active she was led to inquire of God "why am I thus?"
God is completely capable of forgiving every abortion which has ever been committed. It will be no harder for Him to give every aborted child a much greater value than that "of many sparrows" and bring them forth as the nations they are, for they are in the millions upon millions. “Are not five sparrows sold for two pence; and not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7
It is all in His sovereign hands, and the one thing we know for sure is that God that never fails; "God is love."
"Who also makes us competent dispensers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the spirit, for the letter is killing, yet the spirit gives life." 2 Corinthians 3:6
How true is this scripture! What the issue of “medical abortions” boils down to for many Christians is the practice of legalism.
What we are seeing here is legalism at its core. It is the practice of legalism that focuses on the careful performance and avoidance of certain behaviors. We need to be on guard against the subtle use of “formulas” and teachings that are so often used to press you into conformity to your religious system. It is a snare and it’s all cloaked in the language of “following the Bible.”
It’s an opiate; a spiritual narcotic designed to compensate for a largely graceless belief and life.
Some of these professing Christians who imbibe legalism and cling to “the letter” will think differently from others because they have perverted their ideas by deviating from the directions God has commanded. This is the error of legalism. This is the morphine that numbs the pain of uncertainty. And in the end, this legalism will cause many to become monsters when they follow this philosophy.
It is this very spirit of legalism which will lead far too many doctors to deliver an entire baby except for that child's amazing head. Then, without any uneasiness or hesitation about the rightness of an action, (because they tell themselves that the child which they are holding in their hands and feeling its beating heart "has never been until it draws it first breath”) that doctor will then take a pair of long scissors and stick those scissors up through the child's lower jaw and into that living child's brain and feel the living child struggle in response to the pain which its nerves are sending to its little immature brain, as the doctor holds on to that child until all the convulsions and trembling stops.
Then he brings the head out of the birth canal, and with a straight face tells himself and everyone around him that the child "had never been."
This very murder of a child has been deliberately and legally performed thousands of times.
Every murder ever committed has served to make a very important point. That point being, that man has been given an evil and beastly experience "to humble him."
Ecclesiastes 1:13 I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens; It is an experience of evil God has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it.
That humbling experience is very seldom realized in this life. For most it will be realized in the lake of fire.
Yes, we should never hold a teaching based on one verse of scripture. Remember, it’s the letter that kills, but the spirit gives life and that the deliberate taking of the life of "a woman's fruit who is with child," is deliberated and premeditated murder for which God, the Husband, will cause us to give an accounting.