Charlie Buttrey

May 31, 2019

There are those who oppose abortion on the grounds that “abortion is murder,” yet who favor legislation that bans abortion except in the case of rape or incest. Those two positions are, frankly, incompatible. If, in fact, abortion is murder, it doesn’t matter how the embryo or fetus was conceived; it’s still murder, isn’t it? After all, if you kill a grown-up who happened to have been conceived as a result of rape or incest, it’s still murder. Why do anti-abortion lawmakers allow for the rape and incest exception? In a word, it’s politics.

I mention this because, yesterday, the New Hampshire State Senate overrode Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of a measure outlawing the death penalty in New Hampshire. The Granite State is now the 21st state in the country to prohibit the death penalty. Peculiarly (or, perhaps, not peculiarly), the legislation is not retroactive. So it doesn’t apply to the only person on New Hampshire’s death row, Michael Briggs, an African-American convicted in 2006 of murdering a Manchester police officer. Why not make the statute retroactive? In a word, it’s politics.

I have a hard time distinguishing between the anti-abortion folks who call abortion murder but who allow exceptions, and the anti-death penalty folks who oppose the death penalty, but who allow exceptions. In both cases, the compromise of their principles suggests a lack of principles.

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