Abortion vs. Death Penalty

Recent debate has exploded concerning the place of Catholicism in politics.  Senator John Kerry is the first Catholic presidential candidate sense the Roe vs Wade decision in 1973.  Historically, Rome has held abortion to be the single greatest moral & social issue in modern history (placing it in similar category as the Holocaust.)  Senator Kerry is a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade, supporting it through all 3 trimesters (including “partial-birth” abortions), and even supporting minors right to abortion without parental notification.  This position sits “badly” with many practicing Catholics who see Kerry’s duality as an affront to the very institution they hold dear.

There are, however, a number of Catholic voters, who disagree with Roe v. Wade, that consider Kerry’s position on abortion to be an unfortunate downside to an otherwise superior candidate.  A position that effectively must be pursued to even be considered as a candidate for nomination in the Democratic Party.  These Catholics often don’t see the abortion issue as a deal breaker; citing other Catholic issues of importance that are supported by Kerry; but not supported by President Bush (like the death penalty and the war in Iraq.)

At first the abortion vs. death penalty (or Iraq for that matter) comparison seems ridiculous. More abortions happen in 3 hours than all the death penalty punishments carried out in an entire year. How can the two position possibly be compared, let alone be used as justification for ignoring Senator Kerry’s abortion position? But the comparison is made and even defended. The argument goes something like this 1) murder is murder; 2) whether a state murders one person or 100 people, its still murder; 3) therefor, its not the number of murders thats important but the fact that both candidates support state sponsor murder.

Well, my wife has convinced me to stop telling people, who make this argument, what kind of moron they are and actually bring doctrine proof of their moronity. The best resource I have found (besides New Advent which I have mentioned previously) is The Holy See, the on line location of the Vatican Archives.  It contains links to just about every public statement any Pope has made in the last 30 years.  Anyone doing Catholic research on abortion should (at the very least) read Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae.  No doubt I will be writing more about this topic later.  Considering that one out of every five people in America consider them selfs Catholic, it will no doubt be a bigger and bigger issue in the upcoming election.

One thought on “Abortion vs. Death Penalty

  1. Jason Mical Post author

    Bob, you know that I consider myself pro-life (or at least anti-abortion), but I also consider that it is not my decision to make – it is a moral question left only to the individual making it. I am also more than familiar with the Church\’s teaching on the subject, and in most ways, I agree with the Church\’s teachings.

    But is life in the womb the same as life outside? What about a few hours, or a week, after conception, when the zygote – not yet a fetus – is merely a bundle of cells? I know the Church teaches that the bundle of cells is a life, but as great a case can be made that partial-birth abortion is murder as can that the bundle of cells is merely some organic matter with the DNA necessary to eventually become a life.

    The line of demarcation is so much in doubt, because when can we truly say that life begins? I personally do not hold to the belief that it begins at the moment of conception, and if it did, the Catholic Church should have long ago began counting its members ages from the date of conception, not their date of birth. For that matter, legally, it would appear – if we indeed count a person\’s age based on date of birth – that we traditionally have never considered a bundle of cells or an unborn baby, in any trimester, to have the same considerations and rights as a fully-born human being. In fact, there is precendent for that not only in Jesus\’ time, but thousands of years before – as far as people have recorded their ages.

    Anyway, something to think about, because this is an issue that once seemed very black and white to me – when I argued first for one side, then the other, and then the first again – that it has only become more and more gray as I grow and learn.

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