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More Voices: Life and Death

Thursday, December 30, 2004; 4:18 PM

If abortion prevents life, it's consistent to favor abortion and not the death penalty; but not consistent to favor the death penalty rather than abortion. If abortion prevents life, no life is lost. The death penalty takes a life for a life. If abortion ends life, it isn't consistent to favor the death penalty and not abortion, for both actions end life. If abortion ends life, abortion is a death penalty. Two views are morally consistent: 1) abortion prevents life, one can favor abortion and not the death penalty; or 2) abortion ends life, one can favor neither.

--Izac Ossiander, Alexandria, Va.

_____On Faith_____
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“Thou shall not kill.” Period! In a perfect world, there would be no ifs, ands, or buts. But in our imperfect world, it's different. Circumstances complicate matters. Take killing a person in self defense or in battle, for example. Most people wouldn't consider these as willful murder, but they wouldn't see them as morally meritorious either. Likewise, most don't see abortion or the death penalty as meritorious. But as in the above instances, they may be considered necessary. This means that at any one time, you can be in favor of one or the other, neither, or both, depending on the circumstances.

--Joseph Snyder, Alexandria, Va.

Unborn babies are innocent human beings regardless of whether they are in or out of the womb. They are being murdered by the millions each year by having their heads crushed and brains sucked out. These innocent lives should be protected at all costs, as there are many people on waiting lists ready to adopt these young children. It is impossible to compare the just execution of convicted murderers to the immoral murdering of innocent babies. The death penalty provides closure for the victim's families and communicates a strong message to those who contemplate murder as on option.

--Chris Copeland, Ashburn, Va.

Yes it is morally consistent to be against abortion and in favor of the death penalty. A death penalty is awarded for committing a heinous crime, such as murder. This individual has chosen to disregard the law and should be punished. A murderer is given legal counsel. Who fights for the defenseless human fetus? A human fetus who has never had a chance to take one breathe of life is not in the same category.

--Mary DeVito, Sterling, Va.

While proponents of the death penalty and banning abortion see determination of guilt or innocence as the discrepancy between righteous and wrongful death, their moral relativism lies in the belief that a woman ending life in her body is wrong, but that jury members deciding to terminate another is fine. They are asserting that it is not right for one to act as God, yet acceptable as a group. These are the same people who derive their beliefs from the religious mandate that only God can cast judgment. Because a unanimous decision cannot be made about when life begins, neither should one about when life can be ended.

--Aziza V. Bayou, Annandale, Va.

Most religious people (whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or other) will say that both abortion and the death penalty result in the same thing: someone dies. How does a religious person, then, reconcile being against abortion and for the death penalty? The answer is an innocent child is excecuted for having done nothing against anyone--you can't even say "except being born," because he or she is destroyed before having that privilige. A person executed with the death penalty received his or her hopefully just punishment for having actively and purposely destroyed another life or lives for the various reasons we, as a society of law and order, find rises to the level of deserving of the ultimate payment in exchange for their willful and deliberate transaction of a deadly criminal act against another human being. Many people in history have illustrated the need to deal with the inhumanity of man against other humans: Adolf Hitler and his coterie of co-conspirators; Pol Pot; Idi Amin; Jeffrey Dahmer, et al. The real problem in this debate that society needs to solve is the possible happenstance of executing an innocent person. Every conceivable safeguard we can come up with must be taken to prevent such a regrettable and irreversible injustice. We also have seen that mitigating issues can come into play even in cases of undisputed guilt. Fair- and level-minded religious people will say that that should continue to be so. We haven't solved this problem (of executing innocent or falsely accused persons) and we need to continue working on it.

--Robert Flores, Pasadena, Md.

The death penalty is reserved for people who chose to commit a crime so heinous as to end the life of another. Convicts who are sentanced to the death penalty chose to commit that crime. The moment they committed that crime, which required premeditation, they chose to accept the consequences of their actions. Those consequences include the possibility of the death penalty. And given the convicts disregard for the sanctity of human life previously exhibited, they should not be able to argue against the death penalty on moral grounds. When a woman chooses to have consensual sex she also chooses to accept the consequences of her actions. She has created a life and is now morally obligated to bring it into the world. If she did not want the pregnancy, she should have taken the necessary precautions prior to the life-creating act. Many will argue that a woman has a right to choose what she does with her own body. She exercised that right when she created life. She chose to have sex. (This does imply that pregnancies created out of nonconsensual acts are not included in this reasoning.) She created life and now must accept the consequences of her actions. The death penalty is a consequence of a person's actions. It has been since the first recorded history of man in the Old Testament. "An eye for an eye." Abortion is a choice a person makes so that they do not have to accept the consequences of their actions. The two scenarios are completely different.

--Erin Ann McBride, Accokeek, Md.

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