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Abortion not a Holocaust

Letter to the Editor | Monday, April 14, 2008

First of all, I don’t want to discuss pro-life vs. pro-choice in this letter but rather the usage of the Holocaust in connection with abortion. Coming from a country which was engaged in the mass-killing of Jewish people under Hitler, Austria, I was surprised to what extent the Holocaust is used for pro-life propaganda here in the United States. I was even more surprised when I read the sentence “Though educating everyone about the holocaust of our time is essential […]” on the homepage of Notre Dame Right to Life (http://www.nd.edu/~prolife/legislation/). The Notre Dame pro-life group should consider a few facts before using the term: Abortion is not the result of a centuries old Anti-Semitism which cumulated in the industrialized extermination of Jewish women, men and children throughout Europe. Abortion is not comparable to the total war launched by the Nazis. Abortion is not comparable to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. The singularity of the Holocaust is not comparable to any other event in human history. Hence it is disrespectful to the dead and to Jewish people today to consider abortion as a Holocaust. It is morally wrong and in my eyes disgusting to trivialize the suffering and death of millions of people who died during the Nazi terror regime in order to use it for certain propaganda purposes. I don’t know if it is either a lack of historical knowledge or simply an intellectual shortcoming to connect the Holocaust with abortion, but I know that it is absolutely inappropriate for a group at a high profile academic institution like Notre Dame.

Florian Plocekgraduate studentoff-campusApril 10

  • Ray Dubuque

    Good points, Florian. IMHO an even greater reason for “pro-lifers” to compare those who support the idea of women having the right to decide how to manage their own pregnancies with the Nazis is that, although the Nazis were all for killing Jews both before and after birth, they were “pro-lifers” for the 98% of Germans who were Aryan and Christian, like themselves, as anyone who Googles “abortionundernazis” (one word) can see.
    Then as now, obsessing over matters that is none of your business has little to do with loving man and woman kind!

  • Janine Ferris Hosseini

    Etymologically, a holocaust is a ‘complete burning,’ and the word was originally used in English for a ‘burnt offering,’ a ‘sacrifice completely consumed by fire’ (Mark 12, 33, ‘more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices’ in the Authorized Version was translated by William Tindale in 1526 as ‘a greater thing than all holocausts and sacrifices’). … John Milton was the first English writer to use the word in the wider sense ‘complete destruction by fire,’ in the late 17th century, and in the succeeding centuries several precedents were set for the modern application to ‘nuclear destruction’ and ‘mass murder’ — Bishop Ken, for instance, wrote in 1711 ‘Should general Flame this World consume … An Holocaust for Fontal Sin,’ and Leitch Rithie in Wanderings by the Loire 1833 refers to Louis VII making ‘a holocaust of thirteen hundred persons in a church.’

    You don’t own the term. Get over yourself.