Question from a reader about abortion vs. capital punishment and my answer
A reader from Spain asks the following question:
I have noticed that you are clearly anti-abortion. So do I. I agree with you completely that abortion is an assasination. You devoted your catholic blog to fight against that, and I admire your constance and perseverance in fighting with your opinion against abortion.
You turned your catholic blog also in an anti-Obama political campagne, also because of abortion. But let me tell you, that, after seeing a lot of your posts showing your anti-Obama and other opinions against abortion, that you never, never talked about the other form of assassination which is reigning in USA: the death penalty. Are you against death penalty? Because you never talk about this, only of abortion. And death penalty it’s also a terrible and cynical form of assassination, as abortion is.
Why do you think about death penalty in USA? Because in my country -Spain- we do not kill people. We have not death penalty.
I hope you understand that I do not pretend nor want to make any offense about you. It’s only my humble opinion and I’m just curious to know what do you think about that.
My Answer: You seem to be sincere in asking your question and I am not offended by it.
First of all, let me respond by saying that there’s a big difference between a convicted criminal and a perfectly innocent baby.
In abortion, the unborn child is not even given his/her fundamental right — the right to life, while a person who has committed a serious offense has been given that fundamental right that is guaranteed to all of us under the United States Constitution. The criminal has been given the opportunity to be born and as such has enjoyed all of the other rights we are guaranteed in this country — the right to speak freely, the right to bear arms, to worship the religion of our choice, etc. However, the infant who has been slaughtered before birth has not been given any of these rights because he/ she has not been even given the fundamental right — the right to be born and experience life. This child is totally innocent and his/her blood is being shed without cause, whereas the convicted criminal who has been been tried by a jury of his peers has been found guilty of a committing an extremely serious crime. In one case, you are executing a convicted criminal who has committed an extremely atrocious crime; in the other case you are executing a totally innocent human being. While there are times when it is acceptable to kill: in self-defense, in protecting our loved ones, and in times of war, it is never acceptable to intentionally kill an innocent human being.
Let’s look at this from a statistical perspective.
Official statistics on executions in the United States have been recorded only since 1930 by the US Dept of Justice. The figures show there have been 4,381 executions from 1930 until February of this year. There were none in the 1968-1976 period. A historian named Watt Espy, director of the Capital Punishment Research Project in Headland, Alabama, has traced the history of the death penalty. In a work published in 1994, he estimated that 18,645 executions had taken place since the early 1600s in what is now the United States. If you add the 265 that have occurred from 1995 until now, you come up with a figure of 18,910.
Turning to abortion, the website of the Alan Guttmacher Institute (which is strongly pro-abortion) reports that in 1996 alone there were 1.37 million abortions just in the United States. That’s 3753 per day, one every 23 seconds. In other words, the total number of deaths by capital punishment, for our entire history, is less than the number of deaths by abortion every five days.
Let’s look at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about this.
While abortion (the destruction of innocent life) is an intrinsic evil, the death penalty (the killing of those who kill innocents to prevent them from killing innocents again) is not an intrinsically evil act. It is permissible if there is no other solution to the problem.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2321: “The prohibition of murder does not abrogate the right to render an unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. Legitimate defense is a grave duty for whoever is responsible for the lives of others or the common good.”
The Catechism also states”… the traditional teaching of the Church has acknowledged as well-founded the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with gravity, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty.”(2266)
My personal opinion on this is of little significance — what is important is what the Church teaches and that, as Catholics, we are obedient to her teachings.
I focus most of my energy on posts involving abortion because I see that as the biggest threat to our country right now and also because that is my “area of expertise”, as I have training and experience working as a sidewalk counselor, a crisis pregnancy counselor, and a prayer warrior for the unborn, their families, and for the conversion of abortionists.
Another huge threat to human life in this country is the “health care reform” bill which the Obama administration has proposed and which is forcing the American people to accept and pay for abortions. It also threatens the lives of the elderly and the handicapped in this country. I have been expending much of my energy on this lately as it is a tremendous threat to human life in this country.
Thank you for your question! God bless you!