Why are Republicans pro-life yet they support the death penalty?

Republicans don't believe in abortions. Yet they are the first to call for the death penalty even where the evidence is shoddy. I reside in Harris County (Houston Texas). The crime lab has come into investigation repeatedly for screwing up the forensics evidence leading to the execution of someone that was actually innocent.

Why do Republicans claim to be pro-life, but are the biggest advocates for the death penalty?


Should humans play God? If you are pro-life then you should believe in life for everyone.

Update 2:

The Ten Commandments said "Thou shall not kill". Why does that NOT apply to people on death row?

30 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You make some good points, but I think tying abortion together with the death penalty is oversimplifying both issues.

    There is no inherent contradiction in being pro-life and pro-capital punishment, OR vice-versa. The abortion issue generally comes down to where you believe that life begins. Pro-lifers think life begins at conception (and therefore, logically, abortion is murder), whereas pro-choicers believe life begins at birth. Both sides will dazzle you with scientific studies and supposed evidence to support their case, but there simply is no way to prove either side - it boils down to what you believe.

    The death penalty is a completely unrelated issue. I also live in Texas (the DFW area), and I supported capital punishment for a long time, but the more I learned about it, the more I came to oppose it. In the end, several factors changed my mind:

    1. By far the most compelling is this: As you mention, sometimes the legal system gets it wrong. In the last 30 years in the U.S., over 100 people have been released from death row because they were exonerated by DNA evidence. These are ALL people who were found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Unfortunately, DNA evidence is not available in most cases. No matter how rare it is, the government should not risk executing one single innocent person.

    [To those who say that the death penalty kills only those who “deserve it” – please read the above paragraph again.]

    Really, that should be reason enough for most people to oppose it. If you need more, read on:

    2. Because of higher pre-trial expenses, longer trials, jury sequestration, extra expenses associated with prosecuting a DP case, and the appeals process (which is necessary - see reason #1), it costs taxpayers MUCH more to execute prisoners than to imprison them for life.

    3. The deterrent effect is questionable at best. Violent crime rates are actually higher in death penalty jurisdictions. This may seem counterintuitive, and there are many theories about why this is (Ted Bundy saw it as a challenge, so he chose Florida – the most active execution state at the time – to carry out his final murder spree). Personally, I think it has to do with the hypocrisy of taking a stand against murder…by killing people. The government fosters a culture of violence by saying, ‘do as I say, not as I do.’

    4. There’s also an argument to be made that death is too good for the worst criminals. Let them wake up and go to bed every day of their lives in a prison cell, and think about the freedom they DON’T have, until they rot of old age. When Ted Bundy was finally arrested in 1978, he told the police officer, “I wish you had killed me.” Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (the architect of the 9/11 attacks) would love nothing better than to be put to death. In his words, "I have been looking to be a martyr [for a] long time."

    5. Most governments are supposed to be secular, but for those who invoke Christian law in this debate, you can find arguments both for AND against the death penalty in the Bible. For example, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus praises mercy (Matthew 5:7) and rejects “an eye for an eye” (Matthew 5:38-39). James 4:12 says that God is the only one who can take a life in the name of justice. Leviticus 19:18 warns against vengeance (which, really, is what the death penalty amounts to). In John 8:7, Jesus himself says, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Quite simply put, abortion is the murder of an innocent baby. A baby that never committed a crime, done harm to another individual or violated any law.

    A person eligible for the death penalty doesn't have such a clean slate. The death penalty is reserved for those accused of the most heinous crimes against society.

    Republicans don't want innocent people put to death for any reason, although those that have been accused of crimes have had an opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law. An unborn baby hasn't been given that option.

    Though you claim that an innocent person has been executed, I don't believe that that has been proven. Although I will grant you that there have been several people exonerated after DNA testing has proven their innocence. Fortunately it was caught before it was too late.

    I don't have a problem, as I would suspect that most pro-lifers, with ensuring, via DNA evidence, that those accused are indeed the guilty party. However, DNA evidence is not always available at a crime scene. In these instances, we have to trust that those trained to investigate these crimes, the people who try the cases, and the people that pass judgement are all taking their duties seriously.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • jordan
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    They go by the Old Testament.

    In the New Testament Jesus would have turned the other cheek. The Old Testament depicts a very vindictive and war like God.

    Note the "eye for an eye" comment above me. That is Old Testament.

    I am just commenting on why they may be pro-death penalty.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Wow, so many people missed the point here. We should not have a bureaucracy in charge of determining who lives and who dies. Ideally, the Death Penalty is for getting rid of criminals who still pose a severe threat to society. But inevitably, as you pointed out, the system fails and an innocent person was executed.

    For this reason, even hard-core conservative talk show host Glenn Beck opposes the Death Penalty.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Ken B
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Well gee moosebreath, uh...maybe it has something to do with the fact that someone with the death penalty hanging over them actually committed a grizzly horrendous murder or worse and the innocent fetus is trying to merely survive. I know, I'm an idiot for thinking people should be held accountable for their crimes.

    "The crime lab has come into investigation repeatedly for screwing up the forensics evidence leading to the execution of someone that was actually innocent." If that's true, maybe y'all should get rid of the democratic administration in Houston and quit blaming republicans for your mistakes.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Because they are ignorant of the Bible, yet proclaim to be Christian, so they just assemble their beliefs based on political alliances. Also, they are hypocrites.

    I'm a huge advocate of abortion, it's never a bad idea to have one.

    I prefer the death penalty to life imprisonment, but I don't have much faith in our ability to determine whether a man is innocent or not.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Go Texan GO!

    I wonder the same thing- they say abortion is murder- so death penalty is murder too then. They say all life is sacred- then so is all the murder on death row. They say it is God's Plan- so does death penalty fall under that?

    If you are pro-life- in my opinion- you should value everyone's life.

    As a fellow Texan- I hear you girl. Just moved from Houston and I do recall all the controversy from the crime lab.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    The answer is obvious. So many have stated that convicted murderers are a little different than innocent babies. Liberals have a distorted morality. How could you kill a little baby that has done nothing wrong and yet defend a murderer who has taken the life of others?

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    YES !!! you get it, hooray, another intelligent being in the universe !! Murder is Murder - how can Repubs be pro-life and pro-war ? how can they support the death penalty ? how can Palin be pro-life yet just spent a million dollars in Alaska to support a disgusting policy to gun down wolves by helicopter ?? Life is Life and Murder is Murder. Just another example of the incredible hypocrisy of the Repubs. They say they are pro-life to suck up to the right wingnuts, hoping to get votes from the rabid.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Jay
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I'm not a pro-lifer, but I believe it's because unborn children are helpless, whereas people who are up for the death sentence are there because of their own poor choices.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.