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Sorry, You Can't Compare Abortion To The Holocaust

Nika Shahery |
October 9, 2014 | 5:20 p.m. PDT


The use of the Holocaust, and by extension its victims and survivors, as an object to further a political agenda is dehumanization. (Jessa Duggar/Instagram)
The use of the Holocaust, and by extension its victims and survivors, as an object to further a political agenda is dehumanization. (Jessa Duggar/Instagram)

The apple does not fall far from the tree. You would think after 19 kids these parents would be able to teach their kids not to make their same mistakes.

Jessa Duggar, of TLC’s “19th Kids and Counting,” decided about 2 weeks ago to pay a visit to the Holocaust Museum. She brought an agenda.

Following her visit, Duggar made a post on Instagram in which she reflected on her experience, condemned the mass murder of millions and... reminded us all that abortion is basically genocide. The post itself read:

I walked through the Holocaust Museum again today... very sobering. Millions of innocents denied the most basic and fundamental of all rights--their right to life. One human destroying the life of another deemed "less than human." Racism, stemming from the evolutionary idea that man came from something less than human; that some people groups are "more evolved" and others "less evolved." A denying that our Creator--GOD--made us human from the beginning, all of ONE BLOOD and ONE RACE, descendants of Adam. The belief that some human beings are "not fit to live." So they're murdered. Slaughtered. Kids with Down syndrome or other disabilities. The sickly. The elderly. The sanctity of human life varies not in sickness or health, poverty or wealth, elderly or pre-born, little or lots of melanin [making you darker or lighter skinned], or any other factor. "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works?" (Proverbs 24:10-12) May we never sit idly by and allow such an atrocity to happen again. Not this generation. We must be a voice for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Because EVERY LIFE IS PRECIOUS. #ProLife

There are several reasons why this post is abhorrent. 

Duggar begins her Instagram by sympathizing with the victims of the Holocaust, in that millions were denied their right to live. She then maneuvers her argument toward evolution. She claims that racism comes from the idea that some groups of people are more evolved than others. Duggar says this justification, despite the fact that humanity is “of one blood and one race,” gave reason to murder.

Indeed, these concepts were driving factors in the Nazi campaign to exterminate Jews, homosexuals, Roma, disabled persons, prisoners of war and Catholic priests, among the millions taken by the Holocaust. The Nazi party used Scientific Racism, an idea that science can determine differences between races to justify racism, to fuel their beliefs in one group being “less human,” or a degeneration of the pure, the so-called Aryans.

I am sure the majority of us can agree with Duggar on the fact that no human should be murdered based on “sickness or health, poverty or wealth, elderly or pre-born, little or lots of melanin [making you darker or lighter skinned], or any other factor.” And I thank Duggar for taking the time to define “melanin” as a word like that is not commonly used on an Instragram post.

But then she takes a turn for the worse. Right after she drops some largely unrelated Proverbs. From the Holocaust, to evolution and finally, to her own personal abortion politics.

It does not matter who you are, which religion you practice or what you believe. There is virtually no justification to use the Holocaust, or any other genocide, as a political ploy. And that’s exactly what Duggar has done in this frivolous post.

While the death toll of the Holocaust is unarguably massive, the event is much more than just an arbitrary number. And mere comparisons of phenomena with high death tolls, for example disease outbreaks, delegitimize the human impact of genocide.

The Holocaust, like other genocides, demonstrates how groups are overtly isolated and annihilated based on their way of life, and uncontrollable factors like the way they were born. Nazis dehumanized such perceived inferior groups and viewed them as insects that were necessary to exterminate.

If this is what women who undergo abortions have done, I need an explanation. Please explain how suddenly a 16-year-old pregnant girl finishing high school who is potentially not ready to start a family has become comparable to a Nazi. Or better yet, a young girl who was impregnated after being raped by her father.  

Regardless of whether or not life begins at conception or at birth is beside the point. In fact, I am making no argument for or against choice. However I, and I am sure a sizable group of others, are offended by this misguided and fundamentally disrespectful defacement of such a sensitive event. The use of the Holocaust, and by extension its victims and survivors, as an object to further a political agenda is dehumanization. The same type of tactic the Nazis used just a little over half a century ago.

This Instagram post, which was liked by over 26,000 people, is unfortunately representative of the misguided and insensitive tactics frequently undertaken by the pro-life movement.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane. Remember that billboard in New York City that said “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American Is in the Womb.” (The group responsible for the billboard also claims abortion is genocide.) Not only does this billboard target a single race as primarily responsible for abortions, but it makes a mockery of the actual risks that black people face due to racism every day.

Or let’s look at what students who are pro-life are displaying on college campuses. Pro Life student groups, like this one at the University of Alabama exploit images of fetuses that are surgically removed and women who died undergoing abortion. (World Health Organization data shows that unsafe abortion rates, and abortion fatalities, are consistently higher in countries with more restrictive abortion laws.) If you needed to get your appendix removed and someone showed you an explicit film of the surgical procedure, how likely would you be to be mentally deterred from undergoing the procedure? Groups use these images to create a disgust factor. A disgust factor that ends up offending students as opposed to changing their perception of when life starts.

If there was a line, a large proportion of pro-life supporters have crossed it. History has proven that there are ways to express your beliefs, though controversial, without offending humanity. The Civil Rights Movement in the sixties was inherently controversial and fueled by fervent believers on both sides. However, Martin Luther King Jr. was still able to lead a respectful campaign for equal rights on the basis of civil disobedience.

While the United Stsates affords each citizen free speech under the law, that does not mean an individual shouldn’t censor his or herself. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but if their beliefs are expressed in an inherently disrespectful way, it’s no surprise that they will be met with negative public reception.

So to Jessa Duggar, and others who have been running their mouths, seemingly unaware of the societal repercussions, I give the same prescription that should have been taught by her parents: Think before you speak.


Contact Contributor Nika Shahery here; or follow her on Twitter here.



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