Abortion and the Death Penalty: Is There Any Consistency to a Pro-Life Position?


English: Total number of executions carried ou...

Number of death penalty executions in the USA since 1960 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The charge is often leveled that Pro-life Christians are inconsistent in their position on protecting the sanctity of human life. On the one hand, Pro-lifers are quick to pronounce a “fetus” a human life worthy of protection, while, on the other hand, they will pronounce a murderer worthy of death and say that the state should kill him. Is there any consistency to this Pro-life argument? How can one be opposed to killing and for killing at the same time? Is this not a contradiction?

 

Matters of human life (whether the human is in a womb or in a prison cell) are grave matters indeed. Those who are Pro-life should respect all human life. This respect for life, however, does not mean that there is never a time when another human being should be put to death. The Pro-life position is not a position that denies the right to kill. Rather, it denies the right to kill unjustly. Or, to put the matter another way, it denies the right to kill an innocent human being.

 

This statement is no cop out or contradiction. It reflects what used to be common sense wisdom applied to matters of utmost importance. No human being has the right to take an innocent life. Our legal system still reflects this common sense wisdom in two distinct ways. First, there is the presumption of innocence. One can be accused of a crime, but he is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. This is an important presumption because it protects us from hasty revenge. If, for instance, you believe that a person ran over your girlfriend, you are not free to go out on the basis of your belief and kill that person–that would be taking an innocent life. There must first be a trial in which the person is proved guilty of his crime. Then, justice may well demand the death penalty–carried out by appropriate, governing authorities.

 

The second reflection of common sense in our legal structure is the notion of punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent. We have crimes against kidnapping, for example. And we enforce codes in maternity wards and daycare facilities to protect babies from being kidnapped.  These measures reflect the common sense reality that laws and authorities ought to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.

 

With these common sense realities in place, we ought to be able to see that it is not the Pro-life position which lives in a make-believe world of gross contradiction. Rather, it is the Pro-choice position which turns common sense on its head and, literally, asks that we kill the innocent and protect the guilty. The death penalty is reserved for those who have killed and have been proven guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.  They are not innocent. They are guilty.

 

Abortion, on the other hand, targets the most innocent and most helpless form of human life.  What has the child in the womb done to deserve such an early death? How could one possibly argue against the death penalty and for abortion? Before the dreadful Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, courts had consistently held that babies in the womb had inheritance rights of their fathers (if, for instance, the father died before the child was born).  That makes sense.

 

In addition, courts ruled in Union Pacific Railway Co. v. Botsford that women must be examined for pregnancy before being executed  “in order to guard against the taking of the life of an unborn child for the crime of the mother.”  As this post from American Right to Life notes, this ruling makes perfectly good sense. A child should not be punished (by death) for the crimes committed by his mother.

 

Indeed, all of this common sense legal reality has foundation in Scripture.  Moses long ago established this form of justice for the people of Israel. As he wr0te in Deuteronomy 24:16,

 

Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.”

 

So, in my opinion, the Pro-life position is the consistent position. Whoever is proved to have shed man’s blood, then by man his blood shall be shed because he (or she) is no longer innocent, but guilty of murder. Punish the guilty. On the flip side, whoever has done nothing wrong is innocent. Protect the innocent. And who has a better claim to innocence than a baby in the womb?

 

 

Royal Babies, Abortion, and Birth Defects: Why Are We So Confused?


Royal Wedding of William and Catherine Duke & ...

Royal Wedding of William and Catherine Duke & Duchess of Cambridge (Photo credit: Defence Images)

 

My friend Denny Burk asked an incredibly insightful question: Why don’t we call it the royal fetus?  The remark, of course, was in reference to Prince William and his lovely bride Kate Middleton, who are—as we used to say—“with child.”  They are expecting. But what are they expecting?

 

Well, they are not expecting a fetus. They are not expecting a pony, a kitten, an alligator, or a gorilla.  They aren’t expecting a collective mass of biological matter.  They are expecting a baby, and everyone knows it. No one wonders about their fetus.  Folks wonder about the child. They wonder about a prince or a princess, but not a fetus.  Denny supposes the only difference between the baby developing in the womb of the Duchess of Cambridge and a baby abiding in the womb of a mother seeking an abortion is that one baby is wanted, and the other is not:

 

What is the difference between this “royal baby” and the unborn child in the womb of a mother in the waiting room of an abortion clinic? There’s no intrinsic difference in terms of their humanity. The only difference is that one is wanted and the other is not. Thus, the one gets the status of “baby” and the other is euphemized as a fetus, blastocyst, or blob of cells.

 

Denny is so helpful in this observation. He helps us to see again that there is an impalpable hypocrisy in our social psyche when it comes to abortion.  We all know it’s a baby, but we allow euphemisms like “fetus” to persist so we don’t have to admit the obvious (to ourselves).  By and large, Americans still are not at ease with abortions. Thus, we live in a contradictory world of human hypocrisy.

 

We say that women should have access to a “full range of reproductive services,” but we also say abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare.”  Just to be clear, abortions are never safe for the baby. But still we say things like this to mask the “yuck” factor of facing what abortion really is.

 

Alcohol abortion hypocrisy pregnancyIf you were to imbibe tonight in your favorite bottle of Belgian ale, you would be subjected to the government’s warning label, cautioning pregnant women to think twice before partaking of a potentially toxic cocktail. Alcohol may cause birth defects—meaning, alcohol affects your baby. It’s probably best not to drink this product while your baby is developing in your womb.  The glaring hypocrisy of such a warning is this: The same women who are warned not to drink this beer because it could damage their developing child are also told by the same laws that it is fine to dismember the child and remove it altogether through abortion. Why care about a baby’s defect if we’re not supposed to worry about its death by abortion?

 

O, that God would finally rid us of this demonic curse we are under that diminishes the value of human beings created in His image!  We are hypocrites. We protect the eaglet so it develops in its nest, and we protect babies from mothers who drink beer, but we will not protect babies from abortions. How twisted and confused we have become!

 

 

Pro Choice Advocate Agrees with Tebow


This article highlights the commentary from Sally Jenkins, a pro-choice sportswriter from the Washington Post.  Her comments are certainly fair and demonstrate that there can still be civil disagreement in America.  Though she does not agree completely with Tebow’s pro-life advocacy (she is pro-choice), she does understand how critical it is for him to have a voice.  Even more, she seems to get the point that feminists miss:  Tim Tebow has a very high regard for women and is not serially abusing them like many athletes tend to do.  The outrage from groups such as NOW only betrays the lack of concern these groups actually have for women.  Their goal is not to support women but to encourage abortion.  Hats off to Sally Jenkins for her insight and courage in pointing out their duplicity.

Globs of Tissue Remember


You may click here to read a fascinating story concerning research which shows that fetuses have memories.  The researchers were able to test at 30 weeks gestation and demonstrate that the child in the womb was able to recall and respond and even learn to respond more quickly over the course of the experiment.  The article points out that the pro-abortion group NARAL has not responded to the news.  You know, when Roe v. Wade was decided, we were still ignorant of so much of the development of a child.  At the time it seemed reasonable to think of the child in the womb as a glob of tissue.  But there is no excuse.  Even without this memory study, evidence abounds which tells us that the fetus in the womb is actually a child.  If it is a human life form (which it is) we must not kill.

Pro Choice?


One of the unintended consequences of the pro-choice movement may turn out to be the oppression of women.  Ironic, isn’t it?  The liberation movement championed free choice for all women.  The right to abortion became the right for the women to choose whether or not they would have the child.  Now, however, a trend appears to be developing from this mindset.  According to this article from Richard Stith (subscription required), the pro-choice movement has left men empowered to use women for sex without assuming responsibility for pregnancy.  After all, it’s the woman’s place to choose.  The man gets to decide whether to have sex; she gets to decide whether to keep the baby.  Who’s free to choose here? The child loses because of abortion (either his life or his father’s influence).  The woman loses (either her baby or her lover or both).  The man loses (his child, his lover, or both).  And society loses a family.  The price we pay for the illusion of “free choice.”