As pro-life Democrats, we believe that every person has worth and dignity and that every life has value. This is true not just of the innocent child in the womb, but even of those who have committed unspeakable crimes. The value of human life is something that cannot be forfeited.
Ending the culture of violence, building a culture of life
Democrats for Life of America is shaped by this consistent commitment to life—an approach we like to call Whole Life—and we believe that this consistency is vital to ending the culture of violence that permeates our society and to building a culture of life.
Of course, there is no consensus among pro-life Democrats when it comes to the death penalty and how we, as a society, should respond to brutal crimes and assaults on human dignity and life. For those who are pro-life, defending the life of an unborn child is quite obviously necessary, as the child is innocent and defenseless. But what about those who are not innocent and whose acts of violence have violated the sanctity of life?
Most of us who are Whole Life have come to believe that the death penalty is not the right response. Taking a human life to show the value of human life seems unlikely to work, and the reality is that we know that it does not work: The death penalty is no more effective as a deterrent than life in prison without the possibility of parole. To take a life needlessly cannot be reconciled with our consistent commitment to life.
In the context of the US, the death penalty has an additional disturbing dimension in that it is primarily used on people of color. We deplore the recent reintroduction of federal executions under the Trump administration.
We support the Democratic Party Platform’s position on the death penalty.