Abortion and the Death Penalty

The March for Life takes place today. Every year since the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, thousands from across the country have gathered to voice their opposition to abortion and pro-abortion policies. The March for Life is the occasion for the above tweet, which implies that opposition to abortion and opposition to the death penalty should go hand in hand.

This view is wrong. It’s easy to be anti-abortion but pro-death penalty (at least in some cases), because the choice of an individual to kill an unborn child is obviously morally different from the choice of the state to kill someone who has been duly convicted of a heinous crime.

To be sure, this doesn’t mean that the death penalty is good policy. But reasonable people who affirm the sacredness of human life can still support it in some cases. Personally, I think the death penalty should almost never be imposed. The danger of executing an innocent person is great enough to warrant extreme restraint in imposing the death penalty.

Nevertheless, there are some crimes for which imposing the death penalty may be just. For example, what if someone kidnapped, raped, tortured, and killed several children? In such a case, I think it may even be an injustice to refrain from imposing the death penalty, provided that we are sure that the person being executed is guilty.


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