Parallels between abortion and the Holocaust, Part 2
Note: To get the context of this post it is necessary to read through the Introduction in Part 1 of this series. The basis for these two posts is the book Rachel Weeping: The Case Against Abortion, by James T. Burtchaell.
3. Discharge of responsibility and brutality from average people
According to Burtchaell,
A third theme that rises repeatedly from the Holocaust record is the denial of responsibility…The first way of putting it is for each person to account for his killing work by pointing out that he acted under law, having submitted his judgment to those empowered to make decisions of state. (pg. 157)
Or, as it has come to be known, “I was just following orders.”
As one defense attorney explained at Nuremberg:
If the experiment is ordered by the state, this moral responsibility of experimenter towards the experimental subject relates to the way in which the experiment is performed, not to the experiment itself. (pgs. 157, 158)
Even the commandant of Auschwitz who oversaw the most efficient extermination method of the Holocaust and one of history’s most gruesome, shrugged it off on Himmler:
I did not reflect on it at the time: I had been given an order, and I had to carry it out. Whether this mass extermination of the Jews was necessary of not was something on which I could not allow myself to form an opinion, for I lacked the necessary breadth of view. (pg. 158)
More recently at least one supporter of abortion has moved beyond being concerned about the responsibility for the act. She forthrightly states: “Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal.” Emphasis mine. Sounds like “Life unworthy of life” to me.
Though some promoters of abortion rights now accept moral responsibility, this is not universally acknowledged nor was it always the case. The former president of the National Abortion Rights Action League, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, wrote in 1974:
Certainly the medical profession itself cannot shoulder the burden of this matter. The phrase, ‘between a woman and her physician’ is an empty one since the physician is only the instrument of her decision, and has not special knowledge of the moral dilemma or the ethical agony involved in the decision. (pg. 211)
The doctor does not shoulder the burden? Is he or she not the one who inserts the vacuum, dismembers the child and evacuates the womb? Nathanson eventually did shoulder the blame and left the abortion industry.
Medical doctors were not the only ones who disavowed responsibility. Psychiatrists did as well.
Kenneth R. Niswander, professor and chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at ht eUniversity of California, Davis, insisted that there were virtually no psychiatric grounds for abortion…’If society wants abortion to be easier, it should have the courage to campaign for it honestly and not exploit the psychiatrist who, I contend, has no factual basis for being associated with the problem.’ (pgs. 213, 214)
Shifting of blame is not the only issue. How far can it be removed when so many people have become links in the chain of death?
Daniel Goldhagen’s 1997 international bestseller Hitler’s Willing Executioners (though perhaps too broad in assessing motivation) showed overwhelming evidence that the extermination of European Jews involved the energies and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of ordinary Germans. Noted scholar Hannah Arendt concluded “heinous evil generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths. Instead, these were the actions ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.” She coined the now famous phrase: “the banality of evil.”
How evil can banality become? From Rachel Weeping:
There was Ilse Koch who had lampshades made of prisoner’s tattooed skin and Irma Grese of Auschwitz and Belsen, who was said to have bound together the legs of prisoners in labor so that mother and child would perish together….And there was Dr. Sigmund Rascher [who] was also detailed to Dachau, where he conducted aviator clothing tests by freezing prisoners to death, and trials of parachute function by suffocating others in high-altitude chambers, and experiments on blood coagulants by shooting prisoners and noting how long it required for them to bleed to death.” (pgs. 165, 166)
The perversity of the demonic Third Reich is an interwoven tale of family men who were doting parents, lovers of their wives, and kind to children. These, who were the very devil of Hell to six-million Jews and as many as 7 million others, could be angels when dealing with their own.
Perhaps one reason (besides overuse) comparisons to the Nazis tend to be rejected is the ash of the crematory covers so much of our memory. We tend to forget these “willing executioners,” to use Goldhagen’s term, could be our neighbors and co-workers. Indeed, in Nazi Germany neighbors and co-workers were exactly that.
But, if there is a better word to describe the diabolical efficiency of the mass slaughter of babies than “brutality” I would lean toward “savagery.” More than 55M children killed in the U.S. alone in the last 40 years while we simultaneously herald and ignore the documentary assertion that “life” is an “inalienable right”?
It is well known that a certain number of attempted abortions result in live births each year. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, no friend to the pro-life movement, estimates the number around 400. This is not a new phenomenon; it has been happening since Roe.
As Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York moved into high-volume abortion work (“pregnancy interruption service”), the director of nurses reported: ‘Most nurses find the destruction of life the very antithesis of what they believe…Nurses in delivery rooms had been accustomed to every conceivable effort to save babies, even those of one to three pounds, and they found that sometimes they were ‘salting out’ bigger babies than those they had worked to save. (pg. 215)
In case you do not recognized it, “salting out” is a euphemism for “kill.”
4. Once killing was initiated, killed continued indiscriminately
Burtchaell notes the expanding circle of victims the Reich was willing to include.
The killers do not, in fact, appear to have been discriminating. What characterized them is not so much a defensive readiness to destroy all major enemies of the state as it is a tempered willingness, once they had blood on their hands, to eliminate any person or group that constituted even a relatively mild frustration. (pg. 172)
What kind of progression do we see? “Mercy death” for chronic mental and medical patients, those with encephalitis, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, epileptics, polio, senility and more. What was initially wrought to those hospitalized was later expanded. In northwestern Poland the SS sent out mobile units for X-ray procedures. Anyone with TB was cured at an extermination center. Early Jewish victims, even before the Final Solution had been formulated, included the crippled, chronic bed-wetters or some with “badly modeled ears” (pgs. 172, 173).
The inability of some to see the parallels between this and gendercide or abortion of Down’s Syndrome babies is beyond comprehension. (Gendercide has come to refer to the killing of children of a certain gender, usually female. In one a championship demonstration of mental gymnastics, a significant portion of abortion-rights proponents defend the right to exterminate a child because said child is female. Such a right is the very definition of abortion on demand. Any reason is sufficient. The killing is indiscriminate.)
It has only been two years since Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic was called a “baby charnel house”. He was charged with murder. His wife and seven others have pled guilty and Gosnell’s trial is set to begin this year. The Boston Globe reports:
“[Gosnell] regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy — and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels — and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.’’
The report goes on to describe a squalid operation in which hygiene was ignored, equipment was broken, and late-term abortions were routine. Pregnant women were treated with callous disdain, often left for hours, semi-conscious and in pain, on dirty recliners covered with bloodstained blankets. Untrained employees administered powerful drugs to induce labor, and heavy sedatives to keep women from screaming.
Time and again, the grand jury says, late-term babies were delivered alive — fully intact and breathing — and then killed. Gosnell “called it ‘ensuring fetal demise.’ The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that ’snipping.’ Over the years, there were hundreds of ‘snippings.’’’
5. Found the violence an occasion to acquire wealth
Skin for lamps, exploitation by non-German companies like IBM, Ford and Standard Oil, and large profits for German companies including IG Farben (maker of the poisonous Zyklon B gas used at Auschwitz and parent company of Bayer), Porsche/Volkswagon, and Hugo Boss, the Holocaust boosted many a financial bottom line. Riches made via the commission of genocide; blood money.
Planned Parenthood has made millions from the abortion services it provides. Riches at the expense of children’s lives. Riches made via the commission of genocide; blood money.
Abortion providers made enormous sums of money immediately following Roe. Often far more than doctors who practiced medicine the way it was intended…you know, to save lives rather than take them. Abortion, which, only years before, was reprehensible, came to the fore. The mythical “coat hanger in the back-alley” transformed into a highly lucrative cog in the wheel of capitalism.
Even in the early 70s the amount of money made from the abortion industry was staggering. Nathanson reported doctors in his clinic could clear more than $1,000 in each eight hour shift. Some worked double shifts as a result. In 1974 one Chicago doctor–by himself–billed Medicaid $792,266 for abortions for his welfare customers. One job recruitment effort promised $80,000 per year for 10 hours of work per week, while a single woman made up to $5,000 per week running a “counseling” facility. She was paid commissions from abortionists. (pg. 227)
Abort73 figures annual revenue from aborting babies at upward of $831 million. The Planned Parenthood Federation of American, the nation’s largest abortion provider made more than $148.6m from abortion in 2010. After an all time high of around 334,000 abortions performed in 2011-2012, the total number of abortions committed by PPFA affiliates in the past three years reached nearly 1M.
It thus remains that honest, thoughtful people can disagree on the subject of abortion. But defenders of abortion-on-demand should admit that they share vivid, historical parallels with one of the most ruthless and efficient killing organizations in history. The parallels are real and demonstrable.
The comparison I have put forth is not emotionalism, nor a thoughtless invoking of Godwin. It is studied, factual evaluation. If the pro-choice camp insists on defending abortion, members should also be honest enough to acknowledge their philosophical kinships where ever the bloodlines lead.
- 07 April 2013 at 9:04pm
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