* * * Watchtower, August 1, 1960, Questions From Readers, pp.479-480 * * *
● How can Deuteronomy 24:16, which says, “Children should not be put to death on account of fathers,” be harmonized with the fact that the offspring of the adulterous relation between David and Bath-sheba died due to their sin, as shown in 2 Samuel 12:14?—J. B., U.S.A.
The law, as stated at Deuteronomy 24:16, shows that fathers were not to be put to death for their sons nor were sons to be put to death for their fathers. In man’s administration of justice each was to die for his own sin, and not drag innocent relatives down with him. In this particular case of David and Bath-sheba neither of them had a right to the child and so there was no injustice in their being deprived of it. Besides, as an uncircumcised, unnamed infant it had not as yet developed any personality pattern or consciousness so as to appreciate life. Then again, Bath-sheba could have been stoned to death for her adultery, in which case the unborn child would also have perished. However, as previously noted in The Watchtower, David was shown mercy because of the Kingdom covenant, which Jehovah had made with him. Nevertheless, to drive home the fact of Jehovah’s displeasure he let the child die, which was a very severe blow to King David. Two similar instances are recorded in David’s life: One was in connection with the death of Uzzah, who tried to steady the ark of the covenant; the other was the destruction of tens of thousands of Israelites because King David presumptuously and proudly determined to number the hosts of Israel. (1 Chron. 15:13; 21:1-27) Such records as these magnify the supremacy of Jehovah God and underscore the words: “He [God] doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”—Dan. 4:35, AS.
With this kind of reasoning a woman who's been raped could justify ending the pregnancy.