Death penalty vs abortion

Place for comments, discussions, and debate on topics raised during Bernie's TV segments.

Death penalty vs abortion

Unread postby ndwormanm » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:12 pm

Bernie,

I think your analysis of Brian Williams' death penalty question missed a subtle point. In the death penalty situation, we know that there is always a certain statistical number of innocent people that will be executed - execute enough people, and sooner or later an innocent person is put to death. Since Texas has by far the highest number of executions, a governor might very well be kept "up at night" thinking about whether or not the odds had ever come out badly. Even a strong death penalty supporter would still have to acknowledge that sooner or later an innocent person will be executed. It's an inherent trade off in the death penalty. Hopefully in the end, it saves many more innocent lives than it takes.

Abortion on the other hand is an unknowable matter of religious/ethical belief. Although it's still true that a pro choice advocate could be haunted by doubts as to whether he is on the right side of morality, someone who is comfortable being pro choice would have no reason to be kept "up at night". In the death penalty case, I think it's pretty clear that even a staunch advocate, if he thinks it through, would have to have moments of worry.

It's a small point, but I think it matters. I didn't find anything wrong with Williams' question.

And - I didn't see anything wrong with getting the candidates to argue - it's a debate. When the argue, we see their differences.
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Death penalty vs abortion

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Re: Death penalty vs abortion

Unread postby Jeffreydan » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:51 pm

ndwormanm wrote:Although it's still true that a pro choice advocate could be haunted by doubts as to whether he is on the right side of morality, someone who is comfortable being pro choice would have no reason to be kept "up at night". In the death penalty case, I think it's pretty clear that even a staunch advocate, if he thinks it through, would have to have moments of worry.

You're half right. The reason DP advocates might be kept up at night is because of their value system. The stronger your sense of ethics, the more capable you are of experiencing a crisis of conscience.
Likewise, it wouldn't be logical to expect a staunch supporter of killing unborn babies to lose sleep over anything.
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Re: Death penalty vs abortion

Unread postby robin in fl » Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:31 pm

well since I'm a person that is both pro choice AND believes in the death penalty (when the case is proved with 100% of the evidence and a horrific crime)...i have problems sleeping at times for all kinds of reasons,(usually because of something i ate though)...neither being because of a personal choice someone made with their own body,or a person being put to death for a horrible crime.

and yea i can look in the mirror at myself just fine and also fall to sleep and know i have more ethics, conscience and compassion in my little toe, then MANY people have through out their entire body...but see..i know what's inside me,as do they people that REALLy know me,so I guess i am just lucky like that.
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Re: Death penalty vs abortion

Unread postby michael5771 » Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:43 pm

Like robin in Fl I too am both pro choice and pro death penalty. Pro choice to me is giving the potential mother the right to choose to have the baby put up for adoption, keeping the baby, or having an abortion. There are crimes so heinous that the death penalty is called for. The reason the appeal process is so lengthy
is to reduce the chances of an innocent person being executed. I would have asked the candidates their positions on both topics not if they lose any sleep.
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Re: Death penalty vs abortion

Unread postby WeaponOfMassInstruction » Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:12 pm

I am pro life and pro death penalty and see no inconsistency in holding these positions.

Constitutionally speaking, it is legal to "deprive" someone of "life, liberty or property" via "due process of law". Once the Federal government and/or the states have decided which laws are so heinous as to warrant the imposition of the death penalty and, so long as someone is not denied due process of law, then they can be executed, lose their property, or lose their livelihood. Can anyone argue that the Unborn has received their due process rights when a decision is made to kill them?
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Re: Death penalty vs abortion

Unread postby Topher » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:00 pm

I'm a bit more nuanced on both issues. I'm mostly anti-death penalty, but if a criminal would rather die than rot in prison, I have no problem fulfilling his wishes. Otherwise, unless the current system is significantly reformed to both eliminate the possibility of executing an innocent and to reduce the outrageous legal expenses, I'd rather see life without parole.

For abortion, I'm inclined to support unrestricted abortion up to X weeks, where X is somewhere around the time of viability outside the womb. Alternatively, go with the old legal (and Christian) definition that life begins at the quickening (the point where the mother first feels the fetus moving). Having helped a rape victim get an abortion, I wouldn't want to put women through legal proceedings to terminate unwanted pregnancies, provided they make the decision quickly. I'm not happy with abortion as contraception, but I'm not happy with forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term either. Any way you look at it, someone's rights get violated, whether it's the mother, father, or, if you so believe, the embryo/zygote/fetus.

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