A Harmful Comparison
Today I was reading an editorial in my local paper about abortion and the contributor was asking how someone could be "pro-life" and "pro-death penalty." If this was the only time I'd seen this comparison, I would just laugh and turn the page. But I've lost count at how many forums and editorials have contained this poor comparison.
Most normal people (you know, people who don't enjoy killing things or being moral dictators), don't have a problem being both pro-life AND pro-choice. Those words obfuscate the real crux of the argument (though most people will eventually admit to what the argument really is). But when someone takes the actual verbiage and uses them to make a point, they show that either they don't know ANYTHING about the other side's argument OR they just did not put any thought toward the things they write.
First, the difference between pro-life and pro-choice is most often the argument of when life begins NOT whether it is right to kill a small child. People labeled as pro-choice generally do not believe they are killing babies (except for a few winners that think killing mentally ill kids is cool). They believe they are killing a growth that does not have humans rights as given under the Constitution ("life" would be a key one there). I'm not going to argue that point here. However, labeling them pro-death only has relevance from the side of those who are pro-choice and make their case that life begins at conception or at least earlier enough that abortions are wrong. The other way applies as well. Pro-life people are labeled "anti-choice" which only works from their side and not both ways - for those who believe that killing a fetus is murder, abortion is not a lawful choice (since life is protected by the Constitution).
Second, there are those for and against the death penalty. Those for the death penalty are NOT pro-death from their perspective. They believe that Government has the right to take a life in certain circumstances (whether or not you agree with this is not the point of this article). Those who are against the death penalty are not necessarily against justice either. The death penalty is a matter of a) Is there a crime for which death is proper, and b) Does the Government have the authority to take a human life when that human has committed a particular crime? It has NOTHING to do with whether or not the person arguing likes to kill people (*sigh* yes I know there are a few that fit that bill but I'm sure we mostly agree on those).
This particular contributor is talking about people that are for the death-penalty but against abortion. How can you even begin to compare the time at which a fetus becomes a human to the punishment of a crime? Has the fetus committed 1st-degree murder? Is the criminal not a human? I'm sure some will cry hyperbole. In some cases this may be true but as I've said, I've heard this argument MANY times from many different people. If it was supposed to just be a joke then apparently some have picked it up as their rhetoric.
Whatever side you're on - please know where the crux of the argument is when you make your point. The only argument that should happen (under the Constitution) for abortion is whether or not the person is a human and a citizen of the US. If they are, the argument is over. If you favor killing already born babies because of defect, that's your prerogative, but you'll need to get an amendment passed (good luck with that - I would vote against you in a heartbeat). Capital punishment and abortion are not related in any way and saying that it is inconsistent to be both pro-life and pro death penalty is ridiculous.