The Corner

Law & the Courts

President Trump: Please Commute the Death Sentence of Lisa Montgomery

Lisa Montgomery, a federal prison inmate at the Federal Medical Center Fort Worth in an undated photograph. (Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery via Reuters)

Some have said that Donald Trump is the most pro-life president ever. I worry about statements such as this. The law is crucial, of course. But the pro-life movement, which existed before Donald Trump showed up at the March for Life last January, has always been about winning hearts and minds. Abortion is an issue that is such an intimate violence on babies in their mother’s wombs, and such a scar on the tender hearts of women who often didn’t feel they had any other option. I have spent some time praying in front of an abortion clinic lately, and I haven’t seen callous young women walking in to keep their figures intact. I’ve seen misery in their eyes. It looks at times like the last place she wants to be. We have to make an effort in the new year to do more than engage in the politics of abortion. We all have our roles. (And thank you to the amazing women and men in the world who live their lives in loving service of mothers and families. I think of Cheryl Calire in Buffalo and the people of Women Care Centers, and the Sisters of Life, to name a few.)

That said: I think pro-lifers who have the ear of the president ought to impress upon him the importance of commuting the sentence of Lisa Montgomery. She’s one of the people subject to federal execution — the only woman. A court has delayed her scheduled execution, but she should never be executed. It may very well be that the delay puts her under Joe Biden’s administration. But Donald Trump shouldn’t let that happen — he should show some mercy here. This is a woman with mental illness who was severely abused and never had a chance in life. The federal government should recognize this.

Commuting her sentence would not only be the humane thing to do, but it would also shine a light on the plight of vulnerable children in America, who we always need to do more for. Because it is right and just and for a very practical reason, too: Abused and cast-aside children are the future criminals of America.

Her crime was from hell — and involved a baby and her mother, Bobbie Jo Stinnett. All the more reason we should make clear that we value every human life. Including the child who never had a chance to know love.