If you are like me, you may have often wondered how those who call themselves “pro-life” can claim to care deeply about unborn life on the one hand, yet approve of the death penalty on the other. It’s nice to know that we are not alone, especially after what the Texas legislature has done in the past week. One member of the Texas House has taken this to his Republican colleagues in the form of a new bill. State Rep. Harold Dutton, Jr. has introduced HB 45, which is a very simple bill:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Chapter 170, Health and Safety Code, is amended by adding Section 170.003 to read as follows: Sec. 170.003. LIMITATION ON ADDITIONAL ABORTION RESTRICTIONS. Notwithstanding any other law, a law enacted on or after June 1, 2013, that restricts access to abortion or the availability of abortion does not take effect until 60 days after publication in the Texas Register of a finding of fact made by the attorney general that the state has abolished the use of the death penalty as a punishment available on final conviction of a criminal offense. SECTION 2. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect on the 91st day after the last day of the legislative session.
Now, that’s what I call walking the talk. Well done, Mr. Dutton. Here is a man who understands what “pro-life” really means as opposed to the forced birthers who claim that they are “pro-life” yet they support a death penalty that has been proven to be unfair. Not only is it applied unfairly, the costs associated with executions are staggering: pursuing a death penalty case costs up to 20 times more than a life sentence. The death penalty is racist and there is no evidence that it acts as a deterrent. The most damning fact, especially as applied to the pro-birth crowd, is that nearly every religion in America considers executions as being against their tenets. Oh sure, there are some passages in the Old Testament that are often used to justify the death penalty but most religious and interfaith organizations regard it as immoral. Don’t take my word for it, read for yourself. I know my faith holds that executions are not in keeping with our belief system.
Texas accounts for 40% of all executions carried out in the United States. The state executed its 500th prisoner last month. Governor Rick Perry doesn’t seem to be bothered by this benchmark – he considers it a badge of honor that it occurred under his watch. To him, the Texas capital punishment system works “just fine” despite executing the mentally disabled, juveniles and even possibly innocent people. But Perry doesn’t worry his pretty little head about that sort of thing, you see. He sleeps just fine knowing that his state is number one in executions because in Texas they are “going to support protecting life.” Folks, as they say down South, the boy just ain’t right.
As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Perry, if you don’t support caring for the poor, the sick, the elderly, if you don’t support contraception, childcare and education, if you don’t support health care for all then you are NOT pro-life. Pro-life means cherishing all life, not just giving lip service to it by holding a cluster of cells as having more rights than the woman who carries it. If you can’t commit to including all life in your heart, then please STFU. Because you are not pro-life when you continue to murder human beings in your death chambers. Here’s hoping that enough Texas legislators realize what pro-life really means and that Representative Dutton’s bill passes.