How does abortion relate to capital punishment? In both cases, the state sanctions the killing of defenseless human beings under the law. Of course, there is a distinct difference between these two populations. One group, the preborn, are completely innocent. The other group, criminals convicted of heinous crimes, are not innocent. So why the comparison? To point out something critical in the fight to end abortion — our trajectory toward a culture of life and the work left to be done.
In 1981, there were 1,577,340 prenatal children legally killed by abortion and one adult legally killed by execution in the United States. Abortions peaked at 1,608,600 in 1990 and executions peaked at 98 in 1999. Since these peaks, the state sanctioned killing of both prenatal children and adults have steadily declined.
Many Americans are torn over the death penalty. They claim an ‘eye for an eye’ — that those who kill others should be killed themselves. So why is ending the death penalty so important to ending the killing of innocent children in the womb? Because our culture is defined by what our state sanctions. When the state, we the people, support the killing of caged human beings, it becomes impossible to move toward a culture of life. How can we claim that all life is precious and worthy of protection while tolerating capital punishment? What message are we sending to those who feel that killing will solve their problems?
Imagine a parent who tells a child that bullying other children is wrong, but then goes on to verbally abuse that same child. What will that child learn about bullying? Actions always speak louder than words. The same problem plagues the adoption of a culture of life. How can we get a majority of the electorate behind banning the killing of the preborn while simultaneously supporting the killing of adults? The state functions as the parent in this analogy and the electorate as the child. Laws only change through the will of the people to elect representatives who will change those laws and laws are a reflection of the culture writ large. A culture willing to kill defenseless members of its society will never adopt a culture of life.
As difficult as it may be, we must reject capital punishment to remove one of the key arguments used by abortion advocates to continue the killing of the preborn. We must free ourselves of any hypocrisy that prevents the adoption of a culture founded on the beauty and dignity of all human life.
“We know that it’s killing, but the state permits killing under certain circumstances.”
— Neville Sender, abortionist
Our actions must always speak louder than our words. Are millions of dead children worth clinging to the idea that the state should kill their prisoners?
Abortion statistics source: Johnston’s Archive
Execution statistics source: Death Penalty Information Center