Abortion and The Holocaust
Letters to the Editor | Tuesday, April 15, 2008
In his April 15 letter to the editor (“Abortion not a Holocaust,” Apr. 15) Florian Plocek objected to the use of the term “holocaust” in reference to abortion in the United States. I am quite familiar with the phenomenon by which modern Germans, and as an odd vestige of the Anschluss, Austrians, of all ages feel compelled to express guilt over sins committed half a century ago by other people. But this does not make Mr. Plocek’s specific protestations any less absurd.
In all fairness, several of Mr. Plocek’s statements are correct: Legal abortion is not the result of centuries-old animosity towards Jews that resulted in the industrialized extermination of Jews throughout Europe. Rather, it is the result of centuries-old Enlightenment animosities that have resulted in the lucrative industrialized extermination of 48 million people in the last thirty-five years (the nation’s leading abortion provider grossed over $1 billion in 2007).
Again, Mr. Plocek is correct in saying abortion (an act) is not comparable to the gas chambers (a place), if for no other reason than by virtue of the old “apples and oranges” maxim. But when you compare the end result of the two (dead people), that difficulty resolves itself. Mr. Plocek’s further statement, “the Holocaust is not comparable to any other event in human history,” almost defies categorization. Perhaps it simply reflects an ignorance of the fact that mass murder is neither a unique nor a new event in human history (e.g. Stalin killing over 20 million people). The Nazis have no monopoly on evil and the Germans no monopoly on responsibility. So the Nazi murder of 12 million Jews and other people, while horrible, hardly rises to the level of being beyond comparison.
American law enshrines the right to kill unborn children as a fundamental liberty and an intrinsic element of the American dream. Mr. Plocek objects to our referring to referring to abortion as a holocaust because he knows the scars Europe still bears from Nazism. He should thus at least be sensitive to the similar wounds, not yet closed over, that abortion has left in American society. The Nazis killed millions who thought they were safe in their homes and communities. We continue to kill millions who ought to be safe in a place far more sacrosanct: the womb. So people will continue to refer to abortion as the holocaust of our time because we know all too well that John Paul II was correct: “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.”