The United States Holocaust Museum, defines the holocaust as “the state-sponsored systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945”. The Nazis’ unspeakable horrors were inflicted on six million Jews. Millions more were targeted for destruction including Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), people with mental and physical disabilities, Poles, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, and political dissidents.
So when the culturally insensitive, U.S. anti abortion cartel compares the Nazi holocaust to the legalization of abortion, I would suggest that they are being intellectually dishonest. Abortion in the United States is not a state-sponsored, systematic mandate to require women to abort. In fact, the only thing that is systematic about abortion is the anti abortion cartel’s relentless persecution of abortion clinics and their clients and staff and their ruthless legislative and prosecutorial activities making access to abortion difficult, if not impossible, and increasingly more expensive. And on a local level across the nation, though not systematic, there remains the ever-present anti abortion protesters’ dogged efforts at shaming, disrespecting and terrorizing women at abortion clinics. So, let’s face the facts. These rancorous protesters, in claiming that abortion is like the holocaust, are claiming that the United States deserves the same fate as Nazi Germany–namely, to be overthrown, to be shamed, and to acknowledge a very dark past.
More to the point, if the comparison was taken to a logical conclusion, to the equivalent of the Nuremberg trials, we could say that just as Adolf Eichmann was found guilty, so too would Bernard Nathanson be found guilty. Instead of the typical hero-worshipping at prolife dinner parties where Nathanson gets paid to tell his abortion stories (and where gushing admirers would open their wallets), he would be found guilty of engineering the American version of the final solution. Clearly, the anti-abortion movement is far too quick to forgive and forget. Linking abortion (and not Dr. Nathanson) to the abortion-holocaust can only mean that its comparison is nothing more than a propaganda campaign.
Further, the abortion-holocaust comparison conveniently overlooks the fact that the Nazis desired births to serve as proverbial “fodder” for the rearming of the military. The desired births concept was frightening then as it is now. I’ve read that Bob Pawson, NJ coordinator for prolife educators and students wrote, “Abortion is the primary factor causing America’s economic recession. America is suffering the consequences for killing fifty-million people who are supposed to be among us today as teachers, producers, consumers, taxpayers, leaders, inventors, and problem-solvers. It’s no surprise that a nation which slaughters nearly twenty percent of its future customers, investors, and entrepreneurs also kills its own economy. Wrong moral choices have negative consequences. Evil acts generate their own punishment.” This type of thinking is akin the the Nazi mindset that believed that desired births would serve as proverbial “fodder” for the rearming of the military. What can I say? We’re still dealing with a tiny minority whose vestigial thinking and financial support make them either dangerous or annoying or both. So sad.
On a more personal note, the holocaust-abortion comparison is genuinely offensive to the relatives and descendants of those families who died at the hands of Nazi German troops. Critics like Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said those who compare the Holocaust to abortion prove that they do not understand the Holocaust. This offense reminds me of the many graphic, grotesque and, frankly, incongruous tactics used by the anti abortion cartel. Their tactics capitalize on the monstrous by creating a macabre circus but fail miserably to compassionately respect and understand the women who must wrestle with an unplanned pregnancy.
For those who have flunked the logic test when using this glib and immoral comparison, they should recall that the Nazis cracked down on anyone who agitated on behalf of the Jews or took steps to help them. In contrast, the anti abortion cartel in the United States has a strong political voice. Ongoing efforts to convince women to carry their pregnancies to term, and to give those women assistance in doing so, are entirely legal and legitimate, and often effective. Let’s not forget that crisis pregnancy centers are not analogous to the “secret annex” in The Diary of Anne Frank. They should also recall that the Nazis believed once a Jew, always a Jew. The unborn are not like the Jews. They don’t stay unborn for long. It seems to me that those in the anti abortion movement have a morally relevant reason for distinguishing between Nazi Germany’s treatment of the Jews and the treatment of the unborn under U.S. law. But we will likely wait quite some time before some find their way to their logic textbooks.
Another flaw in the abortion-holocaust comparison is the shaky premise that fetuses are full human beings with the same status and rights thereof. This fails to recognize that fetuses are completely dependent on a woman’s body to survive and that the fetal mode of growth and survival fits the technical definition of parasite.
This shaky premise also fails to recognize that pregnant women would be forced to forfeit their own human rights in exchange for fetal rights. In the view of many in the anti abortion movement, fetuses are vulnerable persons being exterminated because they’ve gotten in the way of selfish women. What these folks conveniently forget is making abortion illegal would be a serious infringement on women’s human rights. Abortion is a universal practice, occurring in every society and throughout history, regardless of laws. Therefore, the anti-abortion movement’s naive opposition to it may be a far stronger indication of misogyny than of a concern for unborn babies. And outlawing abortion doesn’t just kill women, it also negates their moral autonomy, cripples their economic independence, criminalizes them for their biology, and generally turns them into all-around second-class citizens.
But perhaps these sentiments reflect the ugly truth within the anti abortion cartel–that the unborn are more valuable than the women who house them. Viewing women as animals with an obligation to reproduce for the state sounds eerily like the Third Reich and the anti abortion cartel.