Some people argue that if someone is pro-life with respect to the unborn, by the same logic they should also be opposed to capital punishment.  If a pro-life supporter opposes abortion but not capital punishment, these detractors claim they are being hypocritical, or worse yet, that such inconsistency serves to undermine the pro-life ethic.  This is often called the seamless garment argument.  It is advanced by both abortion-choice and pro-life advocates alike (pro-life advocates who are opposed to both abortion and capital punishment).

A couple of things could be said in response.  First, even if the pro-life ethic demanded that one be opposed to both abortion and capital punishment, the pro-life ethic would not be undermined merely because someone inconsistently applies that ethic.  An individual’s logical inconsistencies do not dictate truth.  Even if the pro-lifer is logically inconsistent, it could still be the case that the pro-life ethic is true, and thus abortion is wrong.  The abortion-choice advocate would be committing a logical blunder himself if he thinks that the pro-lifer’s logical inconsistency in applying the pro-life ethic is itself evidence that the pro-life ethic is false.  His conclusion is non-sequitur.

(more…)

Advertisements