That being said, I can understand how a person could work to end abortion without trying to end the death penalty. Yes, both practices kill a human being; that is their similarity. Now, can you think of any differences?
Capital punishment is far less frequent. Approximately 50 million abortions were performed in the United States from 1973-2008. In contrast, from 1977-2008, 1,234 inmates were executed. In other words, abortions occur (roughly) 36,000 times more often than death row executions. Even those who feel abortion and capital punishment are equally wrong may understandably devote more energy to the more pressing issue of abortion.
Capital punishment requires due process. Before being sentenced to death, the accused is given the opportunity to defend his or her case. We have a carefully established system meant to fairly determine whether a person is guilty of a crime and, if so, whether that guilt forfeits his or her life. Imagine the outrage if people could be sentenced to death without any accusations, any evidence, or any defense. The fetus has no defense before death; the fetus’s life is subject to the mother’s will alone.
Capital punishment is designed for the guilty. Many pro-lifers believe taking an innocent human life is wrong; capital punishment is meant to fall outside this realm. At least in theory, all those on death row have committed heinous crimes. In contrast, the fetus cannot be said to be guilty of anything, seeing as a fetus never has the opportunity to make a decision.
Over the past several decades in the US, abortion has taken tens of millions of defenseless and innocent human lives. Capital punishment has taken less than 2000 previously defended and presumably guilty human lives. People weighing diverging factors will often come to diverging conclusions. I see no hypocrisy in this.