- The text of Alabama’s newly-passed abortion ban, HB 314, compares abortion to a number of genocide and historical ethnic cleansing events, including the Holocaust.
- Over the past several decades, opponents of abortion have frequently invoked emotionally charged comparisons between abortion and mass-genocidal events like the Holocaust.
- Rabbis and Jewish advocacy organisations, however, slammed the comparison as offensive, exploitive, and ignorant of historical context.
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The text of Alabama’s newly-passed abortion ban, HB 314, compares abortion to a number of genocide and historical ethnic cleansing events including the Holocaust, Stalin’s gulags, the Chinese “Great Leap Forward,” the Rwandan genocide, and the Cambodian genocide under the Khmer Rouge.
The bill, which makes it a class A felony with a maximum punishment of 99 years in prison for a doctor to perform an abortion on a pregnant person with no exceptions for rape or incest, also designates fetuses in the womb as people with the full rights of personhood under the law.
“All of these are widely acknowledged to have been crimes against humanity. By comparison, more than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and 2 the Rwandan genocide combined.” the text of the bill reads.
Over the past several decades, opponents of abortion have frequently invoked emotionally-charged comparisons between abortion and mass-genocidal events like the Holocaust.
Jewish leaders and rabbis, however, have slammed that comparison as both highly offensive and historically inaccurate. Reform Rabbi Hara Person argued in Rewire News earlier this month that Alabama legislators conflating abortion with genocide was not only “outrageous and abhorrent,” but ignorant of basic historical context.
“Regardless of the reason a woman chooses an abortion, it’s a personal, individual choice made by a woman in consultation with her health-care provider, not a state-sanctioned and enforced policy,” Person wrote, adding that “the ‘forced-birth’ mentality of those determined to eliminate abortion access is far closer to the Nazi philosophy of dehumanization and oppression.”
Anti-Defamation League spokesman Jake Hyman told CBS News that the bill’s comparison of abortion to genocide “belittles the memory of the six million Jews and millions of others who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis and misappropriates a profoundly tragic historical event for political purposes.”
Person further argued that while the right to legal abortion is centered around establishing choice and a person’s freedom to determine their own reproductive path and journey, near-total bans on abortion like the one passed in Alabama “push us closer to the kind of totalitarian regime that enabled the Holocaust in the first place.”
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