Those verses seem straightforward enough, don't they? So I thought until I started digging a little deeper. Imagine my surprise to find out that several conservative Bible scholars, meaning they believe that the Bible is actually God's Word, say that the Hebrew here is in the genitive case and can be translated "midwives of the Hebrew women," meaning [Egyptian] midwives who served Hebrew women. Logic also comes to play in that how could Pharaoh have expected Hebrew women to kill the infants of their own people, and that the Hebrew women themselves, were probably toiling as slaves for Pharaoh rather than working in service roles to others. However, Keil and Delitzch, two of the most notable conservative scholars of their time, come right out and say, "The midwives were Hebrews."
So why does any of that matter? Just this: if these women were Hebrews, they as a nation understood the sanctity of life as far back as 3000+ years ago. If they were Egyptians, we can be even more amazed that pagans believed in the sanctity of life. Some things were just understood—you don't slaughter babies.
Fast forward a couple thousand years and you will find Cicero, the Roman statesman, lawyer, and scholar, stating in his On the Laws 3.8, "Deformed infants shall be killed." That "deformity" included an unwanted child, a sickly child, a deformed child, or simply a child of the "wrong" gender. Seneca, the Roman philosopher said, "…mad dogs we knock on the head…unnatural progeny we destroy; we drown even children at birth who are weakly and abnormal."
After reading that, it is surprising to find that a few centuries before, killing infants was not looked on favorably. The Etruscans were notable in that they raised all the children borne to them. These people influenced the Roman Empire until about 400 BC, and things seemed to take a downhill turn from there. By the time of Caesar Augustus, the one who taxed the Roman world in the first century, the institution of the family had become so endangered that he enacted laws against adultery and "unchastity." Epictetus, a stoic philosopher of the same era, stated that even a sheep or a wolf does not abandon its own offspring. Thus the "progress" of the Roman Empire was actually seen as their downfall by some of their own. Not every Roman believed babies could be killed just to suit their parents' lifestyles.
And what has happened to us? Have we "progressed" like the Roman Empire? Are you aware that some infants are born alive after abortions and then left to die? If this is progress, I want no part of it. And neither did a lot of pagans.
For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them (Rom 2:14-15).