It’s often remarked that to be “pro-life” in the US context correlates quite strongly, among voters, with support for the death penalty. LIfe, it would appear, is sacred from conception until birth.
But there is also a curious symmetry between opponents of the death penalty, and opponents of euthanasia and living wills. For opponents of the death penalty, the danger that an innocent person might be killed far outweighs the benefits of killing the guilty — some of whom even the most determined opponent would agree are no great loss to the world. For opponents of euthanasia, the idea that one innocent granny might get bumped off by her greedy children far outweighs the suffering of all the grannies who might want to die, and whose children also — genuinely — wish them free of suffering.
What’s interesting is how natural it seems to apply consequentialist reasoning to the one case and not the other. Of course different people find different applications more natural. Myself, I am anti-death penalty and pro euthanasia — at least some sorts of euthanasia. Iain Duncan Smith is pro-death penalty, but implacably opposed to the idea of people dying when they want to. I expect the gene for this distinction will be along any moment.