How Can You Be Pro-Life but not Pro-War or Pro-Death Penalty?

Or any mismatched combination of the three.

I’m sure this question has been asked before, and I’ve brought it up a couple of times in various debates.

If life is sacred, shouldn’t all life be treated as such?

How can people reconcile these differences? Prisioners don’t belong to society, therefore they aren’t real people? The ability to dehumanize prisioners can go a long way to helping this question out.

As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s all about malice. People are “pro-life”, pro-war and pro-death penalty all at the same time because all of those things are about hurting and killing, and that’s what many people want out of life more than anything else.

Devil’s advocate here.

People who are executed have theoretically shown themselves not fit to be part of society and are a danger to it, whereas a fetus hasn’t had that chance.

Ideally, when we go to war it is with a group who has threatened us and therefore it is necessary for us to defeat (kill) them before they get the chance to do it to us. IOW, they are also a danger to our society.

Der Trihs, how is being pro-life about hurting and killing people?

With respect to the death penalty, people on both sides use the “sacredness of human life” in their arguments. On the pro-death penalty side, the argument goes that, because human life is so sacred, those who destroy it (i.e. murderers, or at least some of them) deserve to pay the ultimate penalty.

More generally, whether we’re willing to kill anyone—prisoners convicted of capital crimes, fetuses, the enemy in war, etc.—has to do with whether we think of them as human. When we hear of particularly brutal, heinous crimes, we characterize them as “inhuman” and are tempted to think and/or feel that anyone who could commit such crimes is somehow subhuman—no one who was fully human could do such things. When you dehumanize someone, then it’s easier to think about killing them.


Say i’m pro-life. I can be all for war, if I believe that the war itself will mean less death; if i’m certain lives will be lost anyway, then war is the lesser of two evils. I can be pro-death penalty if I believe that keeping a murderer alive will result in more deaths than just one, his own.

If i’m pro-war, I can be pro-life because I may see many humans are corrupted and therefore acceptable to kill, to an extent; a foetus or baby has not yet been corrupted, and must be allowed to make it’s own choices before it can be killed. I can be pro-death penalty because those criminals have made choices to get where they are.

If i’m pro-death penalty, I can be pro-life for the same reason as before; a foetus/baby has not yet made decision, and is innocent, whereas a criminal has chosen to get where they are, and have committed a crime. I can be pro-war because again I may feel that soldiers and adult humans in general have made their choices to be where and who they are, and so killing them is acceptable.

A thread was started on this same topic a few days ago…here

It had some interesting comments, so I thought you might like to see it.

A convicted felon is no less a person than anyone else. Sure, they’ve got their problems, but they’re still peoples. Dehumanizing them or saying that they’ve somehow opted out doesn’t change that fact.

What about WWII? The US supposedly dropped the atomic bomb(s) to save lives, because more American lives* would have been saved this way as opposed to armed conflict.

With regards to abortion, a fetus, per the first trimester, is a bunch of rapidly dividing cells. One would say that I’m dehumanizing babies or fetuses, but that’s not the case, seeing as how people are nothing but larger clumps of similar cells.
*not Japanese lives, per se. To the powers that be, at the time, Japanese people didn’t matter.

It’s about forcing women to bear children, which humiliates them and harms them physically. Then, anti-abortion types tend to wash their hands of anyone already born, especially women and children; if the birth doesn’t kill them, they or the resulting children would suffer deprivation or starve to death if the “pro-life” people had their way. As well, they tend to cheerfully dismiss any and all threats to the life and health of the mother. For example, you have the old Mexico City policy, which forced many Third World hospitals to refuse lifesaving treatment of any kind to pregnant women, because if they miscarried we’d accuse them abortion and elimante their funding. You have guys like Randall Terry gloating over the death of women; I think it was in an interview with Time where he said “Every woman who dies is a victory for morality”; back in the 80’s IIRC. Hell, you can go back to Martin Luthor, who when asked about women who died from being forced to have too many children replied “That’s what they’re for.”

Ahem. “eliminate”.

Maybe I’m missing your point, but: I see nothing wrong with punishing a kidnapper by locking him in a small room, and I’m likewise in favor of forcing armed robbers to pay fines.

Do folks who claim it’s inconsistent to execute murderers also find fault with the above conclusions?

I’m one. I don’t know quite what’s meant by “pro-war”, but I certainly see war as a failure and last resort.

There’s a huge subgroup of people who, at least officially, are supposed to feel this way too: Roman Catholics.

But do they, really ? They sure seem to push the anti-abortion agenda far harder than any anti-war or anti-captial punishment one. Not to mention you have such things as their anti-condom campaign, which is an excellent means of killing people.

And what of the innocent bystanders that get killed in war?

Der Trihs:

Catholic clergy were very prominent amongst the opposition to the Vietnam War. They were a very staunch ally of the peacenik left (and I mean that in a non-pejorative way), but the left’s demonizing the Catholic church over abortion and other sexual-revolution issues cost them that support for future common cause campaigns.

No, it’s the fact that the church is intolerant, right wing and infested with pedophiles and their apologists. Vietnam was a looong time ago.

I hope is a appropiate place to say this, but would you say if you thought someone was going to kill you one day,could you then kill that person right away? To me that is what the war in Iraq is, and why I believe it was immoral to go there. We were not really threatened. Many fetus’s,innocent people were killed and being killed. Little is said about Aphganistan; there is little reported about that.

Also did you consider the woman’s right to self defense, if her pregnency was against her will or would cause her physical ,emotional or suffer financial hardships that could make it hard to support ,feed and take care of her health(and other children she may have)?


You cannot get away with this. You cannot make a claim like the ‘Catholic church being infested with pedophiles’, without some evidence.

Are you talking about the clergy or the 1.1 billon catholics around the world?
According to this piece

“Less than 1.5 percent of the estimated 60,000 or more men who have served in the Catholic clergy have been accused of child sexual abuse.”

The Catholic church says that (what they call) artificial birth control is wrong,but if is far more artificial to expect a husband and wife to have a good marriage and only express their love on certian days of the month to avoid an unwanted pregnency. Yet they approve of other things that are unnatural such as trying to keep people breathing on a machine even though the brain is dead. The church as I see it doesn’t support avoiding having many children they can’t support and many in third world countries die of starvation. Nor does it seem that they are too concerned if a couple have children they cannot support, and countries such as Mexico have a population explosion and breeds a lot of poverty where people live in huts made of what ever they can find. I call that pro-birth.


My, but you’re an a<checks forum>dvocate of a viewpoint with which I disagree.

One may believe there are causes worth fighting, dying and if necessary killing for. One can believe that there are crimes deserving of death. One can also believe that merely being conceived at an inconvenient time is not something anyone should be killed for.

I think my viewpoint is less nihilistic, cynical and hate-spewing than yours, and I prefer it.

But being conceived (and born and raised) in the wrong *place * is?

All (human) life is sacred, or none is. Anyone who maintains that life is sacred in some situations but not others is essentially saying that they are qualified to judge who is and isn’t fit to live. Must be nice to be omniscient.