The Death Penalty vs. Abortion: When Does the Choice of Life Begin and End?

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article by Keisha Douglas

Whenever I see a headline for someone whom had committed a heinous crime given the death penalty, a part of me can't help but rejoice in justice. This week, the prosecution against the U.S. soldier who murdered 16 innocent people in Afghanistan had asked for the death penalty. Not one, but two villages had its people murdered for no reason.

One little girl, seven years of age, had the displeasure of retelling the scene she witnessed as she hid behind her father as he was murdered.

I feel sadness in my heart for this child and the ones who lost their families. I can't fathom how someone could such a vicious act. Hooray for the death penalty, am I right? 

Yesterday morning I read a headline for an article about an internal investigation by a hospital in Ireland on an incident involving a refused abortion to a woman who later died. A woman and her husband endlessly pleaded with the doctor's to allow the woman to receive an abortion. It wasn't a random case since the woman had been in the hospital for approximately a week, even having been placed in ICU because of her condition. She was complaining of back pains due to the fact that she was miscarrying, an understandable cause to an emergency c-section right? Wrong. Though it is reported that neither a recommended c-section nor an abortion was performed, he ultimately died because nothing was done. Her autopsy report stated she died of Septicaemia, a type of condition where the body reacts to an infection in a way that leads to blood poisoning, a logical reaction to a miscarriage. 

A rather touchy subject even in the U.S., Ireland also disapproves and bans of abortion, going so far as creating anti-abortion laws the European Union deemed a violation of the women's rights nearly two years ago.

But, what I find strange is, even when her baby's heartbeat had reportedly ceased the Wednesday before she died on that Sunday, why wasn't she allowed an abortion?

Was the rights of the person blinded by the commandments of faith?

Let's, for a moment, throw out the word abortion. In the situation of the young woman, let's take away the use of the word abortion and replace it with any other medical term and procedure that could have been used to save her life. Pick one, if you must, to answer the following question.

Who is in control here? The facts are:

  1. Her life depends on someone else's decision.
  2. Here she was, still a living, breathing person in front of them.
  3. She is someone who had already lost her child in the midst of all this chaos., therefor the governmental term for abortion no longer is valid.

Then, could these doctors go forth and use the proper procedure to save this woman's life.

What if we did the same for the man who possibly faces death?

Who is in control there? The facts are:

  1. His life is also in someone else's hands.
  2. He too, is a living, breathing person in front of them.
  3. His sentence is decided by others even with a plea bargain. A criminal, yes, but he doesn't get to stand up, admit his mistakes, and then decide to walk free and think about it what he's done.

But should he be allowed to decide his own fate?

What are two very different situations, have one common factor: the choice of life.

When does a life begin and a life end? The typical question in any abortion case, however, doesn't seem regularly questioned when it comes to the death penalty. You're either for it or against it in most debates.

Is it maybe because a person who has had a chance to live his or her life who also, chose to commit a terrible crime, therefore death is seen as an acceptable punishment? And since, a fetus isn't born yet, he or she don't have the opportunity to choose his or her opinion on living or dying?

No matter how you look at it, there is a contradiction between the argumentive support behind the death penalty and the argumentive support against abortion? If it's a matter of choosing one's life, when do you think that choice begins and when does it end?

Is it possible for you be pro-life, but still be able to accept the fact that people are being put to death in our country for their crimes?

Is it possible for you to be pro-choice, but watch as a man doesn't get his choice in receiving a death sentence?



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About the author


An independent music video director and freelance writer. I like to classify myself as an accidental blogger. Sometime near the end of my college days, Boredom and I had become very close companions, and I started having fun again. As for how I joined the film industry, it was just…

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