The Nazis and Abortion

Originally found at www.angelfire.com/mo/baha/nazis.html
THE CLAIM

One major Pro-Abortion claim is that the Nazis were anti-abortion and anti-choice. Since the Nazis were evil, and they were anti-choice, then whoever is anti-choice is like or similar to a Nazi.

Pro-Abortion Feminist leader Gloria Steinem has written:

"Hitler himself, and the Nazi doctrine he created, were unequivocally opposed to any individual right to abortion." (Ms., Oct. 1980)

THE TRUTH

The Nazis certainly were not "pro-Choice", but they were not "anti-abortion" either. The Nazis believed that a woman's body belonged to the State, and the State would decide what to do with it. The Nazis did not allow abortion for healthy "Aryan" German women, but demanded and forced abortion upon women deemed "unAryan" (i.e. Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, etc.) and "Aryan" German women who were thought to be feeble-minded, or have hereditary diseases. (Abortion in the New Europe, p.114)

The Nazis wanted to do everything to increase the number of "Aryan" types; including:

1) Setting up stud-farms called Liebensborn ("Fountain of Life") in which Aryan-type SS men would impregnate young "Aryan" German girls (including very young girls) in order to increase the amount of "pure Aryans" among Germans. Abortion for these young single girls (who usually never knew the men who impregnated them) was absolutely forbidden.

2) Stealing blond-haired and blue-eyed "Aryan" type children from Poland, the Baltics, Russia, and other conquered countries and raising them in Nazi-controlled orphanages as Germans.

3) Forcing non-Aryan women in the conquered countries to have abortions and sterilizations in order to keep their population down (this eventually led to out-and-out mass-killing).

4) Forcing even "Aryan" German women who were "retarded" or suspected of having "inferior genes" to have abortions or become sterilized.

VIABILITY AND THE HEALTH OF THE MOTHER

The first court to rule that "viability" and the "woman's health" were determinate factors in abortion was the Nazi Heredity Court of 1934, when it ruled that "...Pregnancy may be terminated, with the consent of the woman concerned, unless the foetus is already capable of independent life, or unless the termination of the pregnancy entails a serious danger to either the life or health of the woman herself." (The Racial State, 1991, p.141).

In the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that abortion in the first two trimesters (up to 6 months) is permitted because the fetus is not "viable" (not capable of living outside of the womb "independently"). They ruled that abortion in the third trimester (after 6 months) was still illegal, unless the continued pregnancy posed a "serious threat" to the physical or mental health of the mother.

Who decides if the pregnancy poses such a threat?

The physician decides. Any physician; including a physician who works as an abortionist. If an abortionist decides that a pregnancy is a "threat" to the mental health of a woman, he can perform an abortion anytime in the third trimester. There is no "oversight" of these cases, and abortionists no longer even ask women who want third-trimester abortions if the pregnancy is "stressful" (what pregnancy is not stressful?). So, for all practical purposes, abortion in the U.S. is legal up until the moment of labor.

ABORTION FORBIDDEN FOR HEALTHY 'ARYAN' WOMEN

SS chief Heinrich Himmler wrote to Field-Marshal Willhilm Keitel the following in 1939:

"According to statistics there are 600,000 abortions a year in Germany. The fact that these happen among the best German racial types has been worrying me for years. The way I see it we cannot afford to lose these young people, hundreds and thousands of them. The aim of protecting this German blood is of the highest priority. If we manage to stop these abortions we will be able to have 200 more German regiments every year on the march. Another 500,000 or 600,000 people could produce millions of marks for the economy. The strength of these soldiers and workers will build the greater Germany. This is why I founded Lebensborn in 1936. It fights abortions in a positive way. Every woman can have her child in peace and quiet and devote her life to the betterment of the race." (Master Race: The Lebensborn Experiment in Nazi Germany, 1995, pp.66-7)

This is why abortion was forbidden for 'Aryan' women who were considered healthy and had no hereditary diseases. Abortion for young German women who were members of the Lebensborn ("Lifefountain" stud-farms) was absolutely forbidden; because the very purpose they were sent there was to have as many children as possible.

ABORTION PROMOTED FOR NON-ARYAN WOMEN

When the Nazis entered Poland (a Roman Catholic country) in 1939 abortion for any reason was illegal. The use of contraceptives was also illegal in Poland (because the Roman Catholic Church was opposed to abortion and to contraception as well). The Nazis conquered half the country (the other half went to the Russians), and they immediately did away with the anti-abortion laws. Hitler wanted to limit and reduce all non-Aryan populations. In late 1939 a decree was issued encouraging Polish women to seek abortions. The campaign was called "Auswahlfeiheit" ("Freedom of Choice").

Martin Bormann, the Head of the Nazi Party and personal secretary to Adolf Hitler, wrote the following letter to Alfred Rosenberg; the Nazi Party ideologist:

"The Slavs are to work for us. Insofar as we don't need them they may die. Therefore compulsory vaccination and education are superfluous. The fertility of Slavs is undesirable." (NCA II. Office of the United States Chief of Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality. Nazi Conspiracy and Agression, Volume II. 1946)

Hitler himself said:

They may use contraceptives or practice abortion--the more the better. In view of the large families of the native population, it could only suit us if girls and women there had as many abortions as possible. Active trade in contraceptives ought to be actually encouraged in the Eastern territories, as we could not possibly have the slightest interest in increasing the non-Germanic population." (Harvest of Hate, 1954, pp. 273-4 emphasis added)

Bormann personally wrote:

"When girls and women in the Occupied Territories of the East have abortions, we can only be in favor of it; in any case we should not oppose it. The Fuhrer believes that we should authorize the development in a thriving trade in contraceptives. We are not interested in seeing the non-German population multiply." (ibid, p.274)

On November 25 1939, the Reich Commission for the Strengthening of Germandom (RKFDV), an SS organization, issued this following decree in Poland:

"All measures which have the tendency to limit the births are to be tolerated or to be supported. Abortion in the remaining area of Poland must be declared free from punishment. The means for abortion and contraceptive means may be offered publicly without police restriction. Homosexuality [which was illegal under Polish law] is to be declared legal. The institutions and persons involved professionally in abortion practices are not to be interfered with by police." (Secret Nazi Plans for Eastern Europe, 1961, p.171)

The same pro-abortion order was established in all the territories that the Nazis occupied except where the population was considered "Aryan" (Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Flemish Belgium). On 27 April 1943 Prof. Erhard Wetzel, Racial Administrator for the Reich's Eastern Territories Ministry, wrote this memorandum:

"Every propaganda means, especially the press, radio, and movies, as well as pamphlets, booklets, and lectures, must be used to instill in the Russian population the idea that it is harmful to have several children. We must emphazise the expenses that children cause, the good things that people could have had with the money spent on them. We could also hint at the dangerous effect of child-bearing on a woman's health. Paralleling such propaganda, a large-scale campaign would be launched in favor of contraceptive devices. A contraceptive industry must be established. Neither the circulation and sale of contraceptives nor abortions must be prosecuted. It will even be necessary to open special institutions for abortion, and to train midwives and nurses for this purpose. The population will practice abortion all the more willingly if these institutions are competently operated." (Harvest of Hate, pp.272-3)

The diary of a Polish Jew living in the Shavli Ghetto named E. Yerushalmi has this entry for 13 July 1942:

"In accordance with the Order of the Security Police, births are permitted in the ghetto upon up to August 15, 1942. After this date it is forbidden to give birth to Jewish children either in the hospitals or in the homes of the pregnant women. It is pointed out, at the same time, that it is permitted to interrupt pregnancies by means of abortions. A great responsibility rests on the pregnant women. If they do not comply with this order, there is a danger that they will be executed, together with their families." (Pinkas Shavli, 1958, p.88)

During the Nuremberg Trials, almost all the Nazi defendants were accused of "crimes against humanity", and part of those 'crimes' were promotion of abortion.


MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS

One wonders how German physicians during WWII could have justified their use of human subjects in horrible experiments that killed or permanently maimed thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Before the Nazis came to power all German physicians had to take the Hippocratic Oath, which swore they would "do no harm" and not "give a pessary to a woman to cause abortion". Dr. Georg August Weltz, the Nazi physician who conducted the notorious "cold experiments" (Jews, Gypsies, criminals, and even children were thrown into pools of ice-water to see how fast they would die, or they were taken out in comas to see if they could be revived...all in the name of helping downed German fighter pilots who were saved from the cold sea), wrote:

"The Hippocratic Oath ... is an honorable historical document, which, however, does not altogether fit present times. *** Medicine based upon the principle of nil nocere ("do no harm") is a very impoverished medicine, and we are unfortunately not in a position to carry on medicine on that simple principle today." (Trials of the War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, Washington D.C., 1946-1954, IV:1,081-4)

The term "Freedom of Choice" in regards to abortion was invented by a Nazi SS propagandist as a means to entice Polish women to have abortions and use contraceptions.

DR. ERNST RUDIN

The most outspoken spokesman for "abortion rights" in pre-Nazi Germany was the psychiatrist and head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute: Dr. Ernst Rudin. After the Nazis came to power, they made Dr. Rudin the head of the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene In April 1933, Dr. Rudin wrote an article for The American Birth Control Review; the official publication of Margaret Sanger's American Birth Control League (which changed its name to Planned Parenthood in 1942). Dr. Rudin's article was called "Eugenics Sterilization: An Urgent Need" (American Birth Control Review, April 1933).

One of Dr. Rudin's associates at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute was Dr. Otmar Freiherr Von Versscheur, whose assistant at the Institute was Dr. Josef Mengele;who later became the director of medical experiments at Auschwitz death camp in Poland. He performed horrendous experiments; mostly on children. Many died or were scarred (emotionally and physically) for life.


A few of Mengele's 'experiments'

Dr. Mengele later became a Nazi fugitive, and was sought by many governments and the Israeli Mosad until his death was confirmed. Mengele was aided by Odessa (an organization of former Nazi SS officers) and others. Mengele made extra money in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil by performing illegal abortions.

On his 65th birthday Dr. Frick, the Nazi Reichminister of the Interior wrote to Dr. Rudin:

"To the idefatigable champion of racial hygiene and meritorious pioneer of the racial hygienic measures of the Third Reich, I send my sincerest congradulations on his 65th birthday." (The Men Behind Hitler, pp.18-19)

Researcher Don Feder writes:

"With the outset of the war, the Nazis were no longer content simply to stop 'useless eaters' from procreating. Beginning in 1939, an estimated 275,000 Germans (insane, incurably ill, handicapped) were put to death under the Third Reich's euthanasia program. Killing their own people, Nazi doctors acquired the mortal skills later employed in the Final Solution." (Nazism and Abortion, p.2 online)

During the Nuremburg Trails (in which Nazi leaders were indicted for "crimes against humanity", 10 Nazi leaders were indicted for, among other crimes, "encouraging and compelling abortions" (ibid.). In his 1961 trial in Israel, the former Nazi SS major (in charge of transportation of Jews to concentration camps) Adolf Eichmann was charged, among other things, with "directing that pregnancies [be] interrupted [aborted] among Jewish women" in the Therseinstadt concentration camp. (ibid.)

Dr. Rudin's 'measures' led to mass forced sterilizations, mass forced abortions (on non-'Aryan' women as well as 'feebilminded' or 'inferior' German women), and euthanasia ("mercy killing") of tens of thousands of German men, women, and children deemed "life unworthy of life" by the Nazis.

DIETRICH BONHOEFFER

Perhaps the most outspoken German critic of the Nazis was Dietrich Bonhoeffer; a German Luthern pastor and theologian.

Soon after the Nazis came to power in 1934 they tried to introduce "Aryan" philosophy into the Protestant churches. Pastor Martin Niemoller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and others formed the "Pastors Emergency League" in order to oppose these Nazi influences. The League later became known as "The Confessing Church". Members of the Confessing Church were Evangelical Christians (i.e. "Fundamentalist" Christians") who objected to the mainline Lutheran church; its silence on Nazi atrosities, and its degradation of the Bible and Christian truth. One article on the Confessing Church reads:

"Members of the Confessing Church eventually helped approxiamately 2000 Jews escape to freedom, in addition they actively assisted political dissedents as well as fellow persecuted Christians. Bonhoeffer himself liasoned with members of the military resistance, some of whose members were involved in the famous bombing of the Wolf's Lair [the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler]. He helped draft memoranda on a future democratic government should the regime be toppled. Bonhoeffer also compiled information on SS crimes and coordinated contacts with foreigners abroad to gain support for various resistance cells.***Members of the Confessing Church actively protested the Nazi regime and its deadly anti-Semitic policies, in doing so, many lost their lives." (The Confessing Church, p.2 online)

Bonhoeffer was not only an Evangelical Christian pastor and theologian, but he was a pro-Life advocate as well. Bonhoeffer wrote:

"Destruction of the embryo in the mother's womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder." (Ethics, pp.175-6)

Bonhoeffer wrote this poem:

"They came from the Jews,
and I [Germany--Bonhoeffer did object] did not object, as I am not a Jew.
They came for the Catholics,
and I did not object,
as I was not a Catholic.
Finally, they came for me,
and there was no one left to object."

An expanded version of this poem was produced by Pastor Martin Niemoller; a fellow anti-Nazi and pro-Life advocate. He wrote the following prose that is now quoted by Feminists, civil-rights activists, gay-rights activists, and others worldwide:

"First they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out-
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out-
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out-
because I was not a trade unionist.
then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak for me.

On Sunday, April 9th, 1945, Bonhoeffer was taken from his concentration camp cell and hanged by Nazi guards.

WHITE-SUPREMACISTS

Another common Pro-Choice myth is that white racists and white-supremacits are behind the Pro-Life Movement, and that the leaders of the Pro-Life Movement are either white-racists or working 'behind the scenes' with white-racists.

In truth, white-supremacists have a view toward abortion equal to that of the Nazis:

1) No abortion or little abortion among white Nordic (Aryan) women; unless they have genetic defects.

2) Free abortion and forced abortion among all other women.

Tom Metzger, the founder of W.A.R. (White Aryan Resistance) has written:

"Very little abortion should be tolerated, among our White race, while at the same time, abortion and birth control should be promoted as a powerful weapon, in the limitation of non-White birth. Over support of both non-White population and non-support of abortion for Whites, has the same desired effect.***

Covertly [secretly] invest into non-White areas, invest in ghetto abortion clincs. Help to raise money for free abortions, in primarily non-White areas. Perhaps abortion clinic syndicates thoughout North America, that primarily operate in non-White areas and receive tax support, should be promoted." (What We Believe As White Racists, p.2 online)

MARGARET SANGER AND THE NAZIS

Few people today know that Margaret Sanger, the founder of the Pro-Choice Movement, and the founder of Planned Parenthood, was an admirer of Dr. Rudin, and published several of his articles. Sanger had a white-racist, Lothrop Stoddard, on her Board of Directors. Stoddard was the author of several anti-Semitic and white-supremacist books. He was a well-known admirer of Adolf Hitler, and an open supporter of the Nazis. Sanger herself was a eugenicist and neo-Malthusian.

It is very possible that Sanger got the phrase "Freedom of Choice" from Dr. Ernst Rudin; the Nazi physician who was a contributor to her publications. (see Margaret Sanger and the Pro-Choice Movement online).

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the Nazis were not anti-abortion. They converted entire hospitals to abortuaries. They were just selective on who should get an abortion and who should not.

The pro-Choice/Abortion claim that the Nazis were anti-abortion is just one of hundreds of myths and lies they perpetuate on a daily basis.


Also related:
The Abortion and Eugenics Policies of Nazi Germany from lifeissues.net