On October 11, Washington State's Supreme Court unanimously declared that the death penalty was unconstitutional. It cited the “arbitrary and racially based” manner in which the death penalty was invoked as grounds for its ruling.
Does this make Washington State pro-life? After all, its position on the death penalty is shared by the Catholic Church. But to qualify as truly pro-life, it would have to share the Church's opposition to abortion as well. It does not. Indeed, it is one of the most enthusiastic defenders of abortion in the nation.
Nationally, blacks account for 28 percent of abortions, even though they are slightly less than 13 percent of the population. That kind of racial disparity should matter to the elites in Washington state, but it doesn't—disproportionate racial representation only applies to the death penalty, not abortion.
The following restrictions on abortion are available in the states [source: Guttmacher Institute October 1, 2018]:
- Physician and Hospital Requirements. 42 states require an abortion to be performed by a licensed physician. Washington does not. Some states, 19 of them, require abortions to be performed in a hospital. Washington does not.
- Gestational Limits. 43 states prohibit abortions in almost all instances after a specified point in pregnancy. Washington does not.
- "Partial-birth" Abortion. 20 states ban it. Washington does not.
- Public Funding. 32 states prohibit public funding of abortion in most instances. Washington does not. In fact, it funds abortion under Medicaid.
- Waiting Periods. 27 states require a waiting period, usually 24 hours, before a woman can elect to have an abortion. Washington does not.
- Parental Involvement. 37 states have some kind of parental involvement in a minor's decision to have an abortion. Washington does not.
- "Choose Life" License Plates: 32 states allow "Choose Life" license plates. Washington does not.
Getting back to the question, “Does this make Washington State pro-life?” Only when it comes to saving the lives of serial rapists, serial killers, and genocidal terrorists. As for the most innocent among us—those who are alive but not yet born—it is one of the most pro-death states in the nation. That makes it a splendid example of liberalism.
Bill Donohue is President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of seven books and many articles.