We have frequently argued that one of the main reasons why we want to redefine the pro-life movement as the pro-human personhood movement is that it is a positive, upbeat way for us—in this age of iPhones, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter—to bring the humanity of the child, from his first instant of existence, right into your telephone, so to speak. We realize that there are literally millions of young people who have either never thought about the fact that a child dies during an abortion, or who have grown up accepting as fact that abortion is part of healthcare. Anyone younger than 50 could be oblivious to the importance of protecting the rights of all persons—including the preborn.
By the same token, we are obliged to teach history because many are still unaware that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This is why we frequently refer to the American holocaust of direct abortion as far worse than the Holocaust perpetrated on millions of Jews, Christians, and others by the Nazi regime in the 1940s.
Some take offense at this comparison, but perhaps if one considers the words of Leo Alexander, M.D., offended feelings might fade into a better understanding of why such a comparison is not only valid, but urgently needed. “Medical Science under Dictatorship” is a seminal paper written by Dr. Alexander. The article first appeared in the July 14, 1949, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. While it is much too long to put into a commentary, a few excerpts should assist the reader in understanding that America is repeating a history that devastated the human race once before and is doing so today:
Science under dictatorship becomes subordinated to the guiding philosophy of the dictatorship. Irrespective of other ideologic trappings, the guiding philosophic principle of recent dictatorships, including that of the Nazis, has been Hegelian in that what has been considered “rational utility” and corresponding doctrine and planning has replaced moral, ethical, and religious values. Nazi propaganda was highly effective in perverting public opinion and public conscience, in a remarkably short time. In the medical profession this expressed itself in a rapid decline in standards of professional ethics. Medical science in Nazi Germany collaborated with this Hegelian trend particularly in the following enterprises: the mass extermination of the chronically sick in the interest of saving “useless” expenses to the community as a whole; the mass extermination of those considered socially disturbing or racially and ideologically unwanted; the individual, inconspicuous extermination of those considered disloyal within the ruling group; and the ruthless use of “human experimental material” for medico-military research.
Note the use of the word “unwanted” and compare his reference to “expenses” with the current argument that abortion actually saves not only money, but also future healthcare expenses, particularly when prenatal diagnosis or preimplantation diagnosis uncovers a child suspected of carrying a genetic disease of some sort.
Propaganda campaigns sold the unsuspecting German population on what turned out to be heinous crimes against the human person. As Dr. Alexander explains,
Lay opinion was not neglected in this campaign. Adults were propagandized by motion pictures, one of which, entitled I Accuse, deals entirely with euthanasia. This film depicts the life history of a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis; in it her husband, a doctor, finally kills her to the accompaniment of soft piano music rendered by a sympathetic colleague in an adjoining room. Acceptance of this ideology was implanted even in the children. A widely used high school mathematics text, Mathematics in the Service of National Political Education . . . includes problems stated in distorted terms of the cost of caring for and rehabilitating the chronically sick and crippled, the criminal and the insane.
And he points out that, during the Nazi regime, “The original program developed by Nazi hotheads included also the genocide of the English, with the provision that the English males were to be used as laborers in the vacated territories in the East, there to be worked to death, whereas the English females were to be brought into Germany to improve the qualities of the German race. (This was indeed a peculiar admission of the part of the German eugenicists.)”
The above example of eugenic practice is not unlike the practices of today. In our age, scientists developed pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and prenatal genetic diagnosis for the express purpose of improving the human race. Such practices allegedly weed out the unfit because, as proponents suggest, their quality of life would be severely impacted for the worse.
In addition, we recognize in abortion statistics the blatant eugenics practiced on African American preborn children. It is a sad fact that although less than 14 percent of Americans are black, more than 33 percent of African American preborn children are murdered by abortion. Eugenics, it would seem, has played a deadly role in man’s history in more than a few frightening ways.
Survivors, a Christian pro-life activist organization dedicated to educating and activating young people, tells its website visitors, “If you were born after the legalization of abortion in the U.S., we challenge you to consider yourself a survivor of the abortion holocaust. One-third of your generation has been killed by abortion.”
Professor William Brennan, Ph.D., an expert on the manipulation of language by the culture of death’s proponents, writes,
Those today who relegate the unborn to only potential life and the handicapped to lives not worth living, need to be informed that down through the ages women were consigned to the status of a defective and inferior sex. Jews and others in the Third Reich were portrayed as defective inferior lives, not worth living. Peasants in the Soviet Union were depicted as backward, stupid individuals who were doomed to extinction. Black people in the pre-Civil War American South were regarded as a subordinate and inferior class of beings incapable of self-government. Native Americans were viewed as an inferior breed destined to disappear with the coming of white civilization.
When today’s purveyors of degrading language define the unborn as fetal material and female property, and nursing home patients as work objects, they should be made aware that for centuries, women were considered to be merely property. Rape was defined in the law not as violence against the woman, but as trespass against another man’s property. The victims of Nazi genocide were handled as merchandise and material for shipment to death camps. Prisoners in the Soviet Gulag were processed as expendable raw material for death-inducing work projects. Slave owners regarded blacks as articles of property and merchandise for slave labor and public auction. Native Americans have often been defined as anthropological specimens whose way of life belongs with that of other museum pieces.
The degrading terminology of today ranks with the most extreme forms of name-calling in the annals of inhumanity. These linguistic parallels are so alarming and so devastating to the contemporary anti-life mindset that they are likely to be met with silence, disbelief, or dismissed as the gross fabrications of so-called anti-choice fanatics. Extensive documentation demonstrates that such degrading expressions are not manufactured by pro-life proponents, but comprise mainstays in the lexicon of anti-life advocates.
Recalling that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, we believe strongly that now is the time to turn back this horrific disregard for the integrity of the human person. We will not stand by as the dark, gruesome history of the past rears its ugly head again. We will do as Pope John Paul II invited us to do and call things by their proper names: “Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception.”
We will do this as we move forward in the pro-human personhood movement, so that the phrase “Never again!” applies, first and foremost, to the undoing of the culture of death and its evil agenda.
We will expose the truth and march forward toward human personhood for one and all—for every human individual from the first instant of his or her beginning.