Sunday, May 17, 2009

Abortion vs. Death Penalty as Justifiable Murder. Who is Right?

How many times has this been debated? Isn't it enough? Apparently not. This issue is a hot topic, once again, as pro-choice and pro-life communities find themselves in swapped positions. With our president on the pro-choice bandwagon, pro-choicers can breathe a sigh of relief and gloat for the first time in 8 years.

Let me first say about this blog's title that I do not consider abortion murder. It just fit the title.

As I watched the news report of Obama's speech at Notre Dame University and the pro-lifers protesting outside I began to yell at the TV  that these "protect all life" people probably didn't attend anti-death penalty rallies while Bush was in office. This is a contradiction that has rattled my mind for years. How can you oppose abortion and be pro-death penalty? Why is it not okay to "kill" a fetus and okay to kill a grown human being? I have yet to hear an intelligent justification. Of course I think these people are completely backwards because I support abortion and am against the dealth penalty. Now granted, there are people who oppose both abortion and the death penalty and those who support both. I am purposely omitting them from this discussion.

So as I continued to debate with no one in particular about how right I am and how wrong they are, I sudddenly saw an opportunity for a blog. This was not so black and white. What made me so right? They are against one type of "murder" and for another type, and so am I.  Well, this is impossible. I am not like THEM, I thought.  There is a justification to my beliefs and I intended to prove it to myself. Fast. I spent nearly an hour examining all of the beliefs I have about these two issues. Some are moral, some are spiritual, and some just seem logical.

Let's start with abortion. Morally, this can be argued indefinitely. I don't feel the need to argue with a pro-lifer whether or not life begins at fertilization.  Although I could probably rattle a few brains by taking it a step further and arguing that life begins at swimming sperm, more than 99 percent of which are killed by the woman's protective body. For every one pregnancy, 40 million sperm must die in the race. That's like a sperm holocaust.  But we don't mourn after every intercourse. Not to mention sex with condoms and spermicide. To sperm, that is biochemical warfare.  It is pointless to argue over spiritual beliefs as well because, let's face it, none of us has any personal experiences with "the other side" to back up our claims. And if you do, good luck using that as a debate clencher.

So what's left? The logical argument. I have grown to accept differing views. However, what we do know from history is that just like alcohol and marijuana, whether it is legal or not, women will find ways to have abortions. By limiting access to safe and sterile abortion facilities, women will turn to other, harmful, measures. Tragically, prior to Roe v. Wade in 1973 as many as 5,000 women died annually from unsafe abortions (http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/book/companion.asp?id=20&compID=100). If the pro-life argument is about treasuring life, let's treasure the lives of women by not having them resort to life-threatening conditions.

The death penalty. Where to begin? Perhaps this would be more of a black and white subject if we lived in an absolute world where everything was as it seemed. Where McDonalds' salads were actually healthy, burgers looked the way they do in commercials, celebrities really did have flawless skin and radiant hair (I was shocked and relieved to recently learn that J-Lo wears wigs), and our cell phone bills were actually the advertised monthly price. Unfortunately, illusions fill our day-to-day experiences and yet, everyday we continue to believe them. We believe our government tells us the truth (though we may be breaking through on this one), tabloids don't manipulate photos, and we believe that every person charged with a crime is guilty. You may be disagreeing with me on this right now, but put aside the legally correct jargon "innocent until proven guilty" and what's left is headline news that we all believe at first and maybe question later.  Then people just like us are called in to decide the suspect's fate. Would I like to know that the Hannibal Lecters of the world would cease to exist? Of course. But in this judicial system how do we really know we are only killing those people? According to the Death Penalty Information Center (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-and-death-penalty) since 1973, 132 innocent people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence.  Various sources cite that between 15-24 people in the United States were found to be innocent after their execution this century. These are only the proven cases. There are hundreds of other executed people who, based on death row statistics and mounting evidence, were possibly innocent. How can this be acceptable? I wouldn't want one of my loved ones to be considered collateral damage for any system, as I am sure most of you would agree, so it is shameful that we would allow this to happen to someone else. Even further, killing innocent people in the name of justice is not only unjust, it is morally, socially, and politically repugnant.  I mean, if someone bumps into me on the train and I'm not sure who did it, I wouldn't just punch the closest person to me in the face.  Most people today laugh and shake their heads about how ridiculous the Salem Witch Trials were. But is what we are doing so much different? It's human roulette at it's worst.

I assume that the same moral and spiritual codes that have people advocate for the rights of fetuses would also need to apply to innocent people sentenced to death. After all, it is when we exit the birth canal that we actually get a social security number and all of the so-called rights that come with it. I can agree to disagree on the reasons for which we are for or against abortion and the death penalty. But there are some absolutes in this smoke screen of a society and two of them are that women will get abortions by any means necessary and innocent people are sentenced to death.

In closing, I am of the opinion that legal abortion needs to be supported and the death penalty needs to "get the boot." Pro-lifers often say those who support abortion are pro-death.  Well, I support women's rights to make choices about their bodies that will not result in their own deaths and I support innocent people not being executed. I would say that makes ME pro-life. 

2 comments:

  1. You raise some interesting points. However, where is the social responsibility for any of this? As you said why is it ok to kill some and not others? Whatever happened to people taking responsibility for their actions and actually taking care of the children they spent the time making rather than just discarding them like last year's fashion? Why not just remove both abortion AND the death penalty and see how many people start acting differently? Did you know some people actually use the death penalty as a form of suicide? Or when caught red-handed purposely act in a manner that will lead to death by a bullet? How about we all stop trying to play God and let nature take its course.

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  2. Sperm Holocaust! LOL! This was great!

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