Ignorant Pundits Say Alabama Is Hypocritical for Being a Pro-Life, Pro-Death Penalty State or Something

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R)
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R). Screen grab via CBS This Morning.

The latest talking points are out for those still enraged over Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s signing of her state’s fetal heartbeat bill last week.


You can’t call yourself a pro-life state if you’re also in the business of observing the death penalty for convicted murderers.

That’s what Middlebury College professor Jay Parini argued in a piece published at CNN. Parini wrote:

The anti-abortion movement raises a question about capital punishment that must be answered. If the 25 white men who voted in the Alabama senate for a near-total ban on abortion were really serious about the “right to life,” would they not have simultaneously banned capital punishment? The death penalty is a clear violation of this right, as Pope Francis himself has recently argued.


If it’s time to tighten the ban on abortions, it’s also time to get rid of capital punishment once and for all. It’s a genuine abomination that flies in the face of human dignity.

Is it not deeply ironic that the seven states that have passed tighter abortion laws are also actively open to killing live human beings by lethal injection or electrocution?


And Alabama’s Ivey? It’s safe to say that those on death row in Alabama (a very long row, with 177 seats at present) will not find compassion from this so-called “pro-life” governor.

In an opinion piece published by the LA Times, Scott Martelle wrote:

Apparently, Ivey’s not averse to returning some of God’s sacred gifts, since as governor she’s overseeing the planned execution tonight of Michael Brandon Samra, who was 19 years old when he took part in the quadruple murder of the family of a friend angered by the father’s refusal to let him borrow a pickup truck. The ringleader, who was 15 at the time of the crimes, is serving life in prison.


Although California has the nation’s largest death row with 735 condemned inmates, Alabama has the highest per capita rate of death sentences.

And six weeks after she was sworn into office, Ivey signed into law a measure shortening the appeals process for capital offense, a move that makes it more likely the state will execute the innocent.

So much for Ivey’s notion that the new abortion ban “stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God.”


Contrary to what these two write, there is nothing inconsistent about supporting the death penalty and being pro-life. The death penalty is for convicted murderers. Abortion kills innocent unborn children. The rationale really is that simple.

To the extent some worry that a state will put an innocent man in the electric chair, we can have that debate. But the primary justification for death penalty opponents has always been that the state should not be in the business of executing people at all, even if they are unquestionably guilty of the heinous crimes for which they were convicted, because to opponents it represents “cruel and unusual punishment.”

So even if there was no doubt whatsoever as to the guilt of every single convict on death row, opponents would still believe they didn’t deserve the death penalty.

And in Parini’s and Martelle’s cases, at the same time they’d still believe that states shouldn’t be in the position of protecting unborn children from being sentenced to the death penalty in the womb.

The pro-life movement really needs to do a better job at flipping the script on these arguments. How can death penalty opponents view executing a convicted murderer as inhumane, but look the other way when an unborn baby’s body is being torn apart during a dilation and evacuation abortion?

—Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–



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