By Maria Oswalt
Dear Governor Ivey,
As a pro-life woman who was born and raised in Alabama I have a deep and complicated love for my home state. This month in particular has invigorated those feelings; on May 15, the world watched on as you signed into law a near total ban on abortion, and I was so proud. I am grateful for everything that you've done to protect some of the most vulnerable humans among us — the unborn — from the violence of abortion. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for that.
Nevertheless, I can't help but feel that your statements about all life being precious ring hollow when you allow the death penalty to continue in Alabama. On May 16, barely a day after signing pro-life legislation, you allowed the state to execute Michael Brandon Samra by lethal injection. This very evening you are going to allow the execution of another man, Christopher Lee Price.
Governor, if the right to life is truly inalienable, how can we allow the state to wield death as a punishment?
It is obvious that you recognize the value of innocent human life. From actions you’ve taken in the past, I can glean that you value accused lives as well (e.g. I appreciated when you ended the judicial override situation in regards to the death penalty in 2017). However, you’ve said in regards to the death penalty that you view "rightfully administering justice" as a "necessary duty as governor of Alabama." The death penalty is not true justice, and it is not enough to just reduce its use. It is expensive, ineffective at deterring crime, and above all, it aims for nothing more than a balance of harms — an eye for an eye. As we can see from today's news about New Hampshire abolishing the death penalty, which was a bipartisan effort, people from all over the political spectrum are now realizing how unnecessary and unjust this approach really is.
Alabama deserves better than retribution. Alabama desperately needs a justice system that aims for a restoration of community, in order to prevent recidivism and bring healing to both victims and offenders. That will bring us so much closer to an authentic culture of life.
Call Governor Kay Ivey and respectfully ask her to protect all life and halt all executions at 1-334-242-7100. Follow Project Hope to End the Death Penalty, an organization run by prisoners on Alabama’s death row, for frequent news and updates about the death penalty in Alabama.
For more information about the death penalty visit rehumanizeintl.org/capital-punishment.