Letter: Thoughts on abortion
"State-sanctioned killing... (is) becoming more and more anachronistic." These are the powerfully progressive words of Justice John Paul Stevens as quoted in The New York Times on April 17, 2008.
Justice Stevens, who joined the 7-2 majority decision in Baze v. Rees, i.e., that lethal injections do not constitutionally construe "cruel and unusual punishment," indicates that the discussion on capital punishment is far from over.
With the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973, the United States gave a carte blanche approval of state-sanctioned killing.
As a result of the reinstatement of capital punishment, some convicts, no doubt, were wrongly executed. Not a single aborted child ever committed a crime.
These "holy innocents" do not ask to be conceived nor can they plead their case for birth. While it is true that an unborn child will never be sexually assaulted, neither can an unborn child know the warmth and joy of a spring day resurrecting out of a seemingly endless winter.
Only a hardened heart could not empathize with a sexually abused child.
The dilemma is how does society make a fallible judgment to protect the rights of the accused while protecting a vulnerable child.
The law weighs toward a presumption of a defendant's innocence. An allegation is not proof.
Demonstrative of the gravitas of an allegation is the suspected false report which initially led authorities to indiscriminately remove 463 children from the Texan Yearning for Zion Ranch (The New York Times, April 22, 2008).
Officials now concede that a pregnant "minor" is a 22-year-old woman, according to an AP article on May 17, 2008.
There are no easy black and white solutions, even in cases where an allegation has been confessed by the accused. The reversal of statutes of limitations for sexually assaulted minors, or SB356, is on the face of it unfair to the Catholic Church.
The psychological thought of an earlier time was that persons who acted on sexual desires for children could be cured. If church officials followed this advice, why should they bear the brunt of costly litigation?
As DNA vindicates "rapists," will society forget that history repeats and allow emotions to trump due process?