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Respect all life

Respect all life

This week is recognized as "Life Week." It's a time for special recognition of issues pertaining to the respecting of life. When we speak of being pro-life, it is automatically associated with being against abortion. While the terminology does encompass this issue (and rightfully so), the meaning of being truly pro-life is so much more. This means we respect and show dignity of all life from conception to natural death.

On Tuesday at the University of Kansas, I had the chance to listen to Kirk Bloodsworth, who was convicted in 1985 of sexual assault, rape and first-degree premeditated murder of a 9-year-old girl in Rosedale, Md. While pleading his innocence the entire time, he was found guilty and his punishment was death. After spending nearly nine years in prison (two years on death row), Bloodsworth was released and exonerated by DNA. He was innocent.

Kansas still has the death penalty on its books. An innocent person still has the possibility of being put to death. Kansas alone has had three felony exonerations due to mistakes during trials that led innocent men to be convicted of crimes they never committed. A quarter of death sentences in Kansas have been overturned due to these kinds of errors made during trials. (Source: Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty)

Fellow Kansans, I can assure you we all believe in justice. However, we must respect all life. Listen to the story of Kirk Bloodsworth and those, who like him, were innocent people that were sentenced to death, and believe that every human life has value. There is no good in an evil deed. We have to ensure not one innocent person risks being put to death, and the only way this can be done is by ending the death penalty. This is not an issue of being Democrat or Republican; it has to do with respecting and showing dignity to everyone.

At 7 p.m. today, Bloodsworth will be at Fort Hays State University. For more information on this event, visit the KCADP website at ksabolition.org.

Jordan Schmeidler Lawrence