Right to Life–Does It Really Belong to Everyone?

By Barbara Gay
Barbara Gay
Barbara Gay
April 8, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

I’ve always found it quite interesting–and somewhat puzzling–that certain issues are always linked politically, even though they may be completely unrelated. No other two issues illustrates this dynamic better, in my opinion, than abortion and capital punishment.

At first glance, these two issues appear to be related, both dealing with the issue of “right to life.” However, upon closer inspection, it becomes pretty obvious that they really aren’t. Only because we’ve been inundated with the idea that they are the same thing, do we passively and apathetically assume that that is the case.

Abortion is the deliberate destruction of a living organism that at some point in time–we won’t argue “when” here–will become a human being. For those of us who believe that killing (human beings) is wrong, abortion is generally considered wrong as well. 

Because of this belief that killing is wrong, many people have decided that capital punishment–the deliberate taking of a criminal’s life–is also wrong. 

This appears to be logical and reasonable, but is it really?

First of all, I think we can all agree that those folks who end up on death row are the most heinous of criminals, committing acts that we would have no problem characterizing as inhumane. Webster’s dictionary defines “inhumane” as: inhuman, lacking humanity.  

“Human” is defined as: having human form or attributes. “Humanity” is defined as: having the quality or state of being of humans.

So if killing human beings is wrong–inhumane–then those who do so are no longer conforming to the characteristics of being a human being, right?

If a person is no longer behaving as a human being should–which is not killing other human beings–then do they still deserve to be considered human beings themselves? 

Some people would then ask: When we execute a person, doesn’t that make us the same as them? Doesn’t that make us killers, too? Aren’t we playing God?

No, no, and absolutely not!

When a person makes the choice of taking another’s life, whether it is for their own pleasure, or to relieve some anger or frustration, or in order to escape punishment, etc., they are placing their own needs and wants above all others. 

When we execute such a person, we are placing the needs of society–all the people that share our world–above the desires of that one person, a being who no longer deserves to be called a human being, a being who no longer deserves the rights and protections of a human being. 

When we execute someone who has shown no regard for human life or the necessary rules of our society, we are safeguarding society, and our action is compassion for all of those who deserve to live in a human society because they live and behave as a human being should. 

As for the “playing God” question, don’t you think that God would have a greater problem with us if we allowed those “inhuman beings” to continue to live among us, possibly killing more human beings and disrupting the society that He has entrusted to us?

Some might then say, “Why not let them all just rot in prison?”

But aren’t our prisons becoming so crowded that many murderers and other violent offenders are being released ridiculously early so others can then be imprisoned? If we actually executed all those who murder or commit multiple violent offenses, wouldn’t our prisons be capable of holding the less serious offenders? And, if executions were more frequent and accepted, wouldn’t some offenders be less likely to do what would be sure to get them executed?

Not to mention the fact that these “inhuman beings” are being totally supported by the taxpayers–that’s us, folks!–and we are caring for their needs whether we want to or not.

At the very least, can we please agree to separate these two issues: abortion and capital punishment? They aren’t the same, not at all.



Barbara Gay