The Death Penalty, Abortion, and Morality
Every person is a product of their environment. If they are fortunate enough to be brought up in an intact family, that family and their beliefs form the basis of one’s beliefs. This writer was raised a Catholic and I confess that as I grow older, I am relying more that faith. Thus, I would say that I am likely a product of my Catholic upbringing to some degree.
But my Catholicism has not totally shaped my views on the subjects of abortion or the death penalty. The one thing I have realized as I have examined the issues from all sides and all viewpoints is that the Catholic Church is certainly principled if nothing else. Their unwavering opposition to abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty all have at their root the innate sanctity of human life whether it is unborn in the uterus, on its death bed, or one that committed a heinous crime for which they were sentenced to death.
While I still waver on the issue of euthanasia in certain circumstances, my views on abortion and the death penalty are clear. With the latter the aggrieved- those sentenced to death- have exercised their free will to commit an act for which they received the death penalty. With the former, the unborn human life has no say in their state of affairs. In fact, one can safely say that over the years the criminal sentenced to death has accumulated greater constitutional protection than an unborn human.
Additionally, I have come to sometimes view many things in economic terms. If you have an admitted murderer/child rapist, why should the state feed, clothe and care for that person for an indeterminate amount of time? The costs associated with incarceration are staggering over a life time and grow the younger the date of conviction.
Conversely, look at the purported costs associated with every aborted human in lost productivity alone. They more than offset the supposed drains on society. Granted, in some instances that may not be the case, but in the overall sense the costs to society of abortion are greater than the benefits reaped from an abortion.
Naturally, many believe there should be exceptions for abortion in the case of rape, incest, and danger to maternal life. The reasons are obvious: the resulting pregnancy is the result of a criminal act against the will of the pregnant woman. In the case of maternal health, many on the Left have expanded the definition of “health” beyond recognition so that now “maternal health” is equated with “convenience.” And it really behooves this writer the still way-too-high incidence of abortion in America given the contraceptive choices available that were not available in by-gone days. Regardless, the latest statistics indicate that in a mere 1% of all abortions, rape was the reason. One can guess the incidence of abortions due to incest are even less. For the physical health of the mother, this accounts for 12% of abortions although the degree of risk to maternal health or life is not delineated. This means that nothing but inconvenience accounts for 87% of all abortions.
According to statistics compiled by the Guttmacher Institute and the CDC, the three biggest reasons given for having an abortion are: (1) having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities, (2) they cannot afford the child, and (3) they are having problems with their partner. Furthermore, in 36.7% of the cases it is not the woman’s first abortion. Greater than one-third of all abortions performed amount to nothing more than yet another form of birth control to these women.
The government likes to pat itself on the back regarding the declining rates of abortion. In 2008, 1.21 million abortions were performed in the United States. In 2011, that number dropped to 1.06 million. In my mind, that is about 1 million abortions too many (let’s give them the other 60,000 for maternal health/rape/incest exceptions). Now compare this to statistics on the death penalty. In 2008, there were 37 executions of guilty parties and in 2011 there were 43. From 2000 to 2010 there were 679 executions and 12.49 MILLION abortions performed.
I have often argued on these pages and others that if organizations like NARAL and Planned Parenthood spent more time stressing contraception and doing what they want the government to do rather than lobby for pro-choice laws and cry on television every time something does not go their way, then perhaps there would be less abortions in this country. Put in fewer words: put your money where your mouth is. But there is money to be made in those aborted humans.
Meanwhile, it is usually the families of victims of truly heinous crimes who are denied closure because of delays in the death penalty. Just recently there was a story on the local news of a person who broke into a home, raped a 12-year-old girl while two siblings sat helpless, and then had their throats slit along with the rape victim. So, this waste of a human life deserves to live in the minds of some, but an innocent unborn child is discarded with the rest of the medical waste? Something is incorrectly topsy-turvy here.
The moral difference is that that rapist/murderer had a choice in what they did. They made a conscious decision to break into a home, a conscious decision to rape a young 12-year-old child, a conscious decision to then kill that victim plus two more. The unborn child is afforded no such choice.
Perhaps it was my Catholic upbringing that has made me pro-life, but more likely it is a sober understanding and some basic research that has led me to this position in life. And I have morally resolved that Catholic conundrum regarding the sanctity of all life. Not all life is sacrosanct. You rape and kill a 12-year-old, you lose that protection of sanctity. But one thing I am sure of is that an unborn child is innocent, precious and more than worthy of protection.