Between Two Holocausts
By Bonnie Chernin Rogoff
September 26, 2000
Last June, five Supreme Court Justices reached the chilling conclusion that no law can be established to preserve and protect a viable child's life, at any stage of pregnancy, up to birth. Forget about any actual viewer or voter outrage that the highest court in the land affirmed a woman's legal right to commit infanticide. Aside from outcries by anguished pro-life activists and journalists, the potential for public outrage doesn't even seem to be there. Life goes on, with a yawn, and an apathetic shrug.
As it stands today, the Court has nullified the possibility for states to restrict partial birth abortions. Using the Constitution in their defense while avoiding direct references to Roe v. Wade, five Justices have ruled that infanticide under a different name (i.e., "choice") can be made palatable enough to be consistent with Roe. While pro-aborts have reproached us our use of the phrase partial birth abortion, calling it a "nebulous" term to "dupe the public" (i.e., to tell the truth) the Court majority opinion employs many nebulous terms, including "health," "fetal evacuation" and "demise," (as opposed to "infant death") "fetal tissue," (as opposed to "arms," "legs," "baby,") and the dubious term "content." All these words are carefully crafted to defend the indefensible. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor assures us that if the law is amended to include the word "health," she'd change her opinion. She knows that "health," would render any restrictions meaningless, and partial birth abortions would continue for all nine months of pregnancy for elective reasons. Most Americans don't know that. It's permissible to muddy the waters, so long as the light remaining on the surface reflects the will of the pro-abortion extremists.
For pro-lifers like myself, the same questions have been asked for much too long, with unsettling answers. Let's forget the words and semantic games, and get down to reality. How can people not see that there have to be reasonable limits on what opponents euphemistically call "choice?" How can a woman's right to "control her body," be so sacrosanct to the pro-aborts that it's perfectly fine with them to kill a living, breathing human being? How can thinking, rational and intelligent people with consciences and souls, not see that partial birth abortion is tantamount to infanticide, cold, calculated and cruel? Why would people who are in the power and position to stop this horror continue, knowing exactly what they are doing, to legislate evil?
A number of years ago, I took a college course in contemporary Jewish history, and the course content obviously included a Holocaust retrospective. The two questions every person in that class asked at the end of the term are the same two questions that all distraught Jews have been asking since the end of World War II: 1) How can a civilized, intellectual and educated society of people, made up of individuals presumably with consciences and souls just like everyone else, choose to systematically target and eliminate another group of individuals in cold blood, without mercy or a second thought? 2) Where was God during all that time? Was He simply out to lunch for fifteen years while innocent people were being tortured to death?
Such questions only led to confusing arguments, interpretations and explanations that led to more pressing questions and inadequate answers. "Why did the Germans do this horrible thing?" Answer: "They are the most evil society ever to exist in the history of mankind." "Why the Jews?" Answer: "The Germans needed a scapegoat for their economic deprivations, the Jews were a despised minority, and they were there." "How could God allow this to happen?" Answer: "We can never really know why God intends for things to happen, we simply have to accept that they occur."
We, as mortals, will never really know the answer as to why the Nazis committed such horrific acts of genocide against the Jews. Nor will we know why God apparently did not intervene before six million deaths. However, we can surmise why people continue to ask so many questions about the Holocaust, why there are courses, films, books, CD's and lectures. People need to feel comfortable with evil. They need to ease their conflicting brain waves and quiet their troubled consciences against - what? The alternative, to admit that human beings are inherently evil for no reason and to no purpose other than self-gratification, is too much for us to bear. Our Dr. Jekyll requires us to correct the imperious Mr. Hyde, and not permit us to look evil straight in the eye and examine its contents. What solace can we possibly obtain from the political consequences of evil? Is it comforting to know that innocent Jewish blood was spilled by the notorious Dr. Mengele, after which he evaded capture by Nazi hunters and lived his life in obscurity and comfort in South America, until he died from natural causes? Are we satisfied knowing that our own government financed their space program with the help of former Nazi war criminals? Is that fair? Is that just? Isn't it simply easier to establish Israel as a "gift" to the Jews to appease them for all their suffering? Doesn't that make it all better?
Going back to the Holocaust questions, the last answer, that is, that we must accept horrible outcomes as we don't totally understand acts of God, is the only possible explanation we can conjure up. The study of "root causes" and "environmental factors" is an inaccurate non-science that has resulted in band-aid approaches such as rehabilitation programs for handling crime. For unacceptable speech and "bias" crimes, we have the hate crime legislation and sensitivity training. These methods may stop individual immoral actions, but not evil inclinations.
If something appears to be very, very wrong, it probably is. What we should be doing is recognizing the wrong, admitting the wrong, naming it by its real name, and punishing those responsible for perpetuating the wrong. That's easy enough when you have errant individuals, or even small groups of bad people doing bad things. What do you do when one huge organized system of government is responsible for doing bad things? How do you stop that? Moreover—and here's the key point—what does one do when "the system" routinely injects propaganda to slowly and carefully transform something horrible into something tolerable, necessary or even into an image of goodness? How can an individual understand the truth of an issue if, by the time they are familiar with it, it has been revised beyond recognition?
The Third Reich leaders were experts in distortion, and indoctrination techniques. To dehumanize Jews, Nazi leaders had to suppress facts and propagandize with a barrage of lies about the Jewish people. Any sane person reading Nazi Julius Streicher's story, "How To Tell A Jew," in his anti-Semitic children's book "Der Giftpilz," can not possibly believe such filth would receive wide acclaim and acceptance. But it did. Newspapers produced cartoon editorials, some depicting Jews as thieves, others portraying rich Jews supporting the Bolsheviks' rise to power on the backs of starving Germans. Hitler knew that with time, persistence, and the right circumstances of a horrendous economy, absurdities could be twisted into reason. After a few years of early indoctrination in Hitler's Youth, it would be difficult to find a German teen who didn't fall under the spell of "Aryan superiority." There was a consensus of public support for a Jewish evacuation program. When the "cleansing process," the real objective of Hitler's Final Solution was underway, plans were altered from emigration to extermination. By then, Germans were only too happy to oblige, because the economy was strong and their army the most powerful in Europe. Of course, a little coercion doesn't hurt; resisting Hitler would have grave consequences for even the most "flawless" Aryan.
There is no argument that the Nazis used a variety of methods to thwart resistance to their goal, the annihilation of every Jew in Europe. However, even with our democratic government, we do not really have freedom to choose freely. System-regulated propaganda is so pervasive that individuals who initially support certain causes can eventually fall victim to the lies built within, with devastating consequences (Norma McCorvey is one example; she was deceived by the feminist pro-abortion propaganda machine. Let's not forget the many women who, seduced by "choice," opt for abortion and suffer from post abortion syndrome later on). Indeed, in a democracy, good people who mean well and want the best for everyone are not always prepared to acknowledge their own errors in judgment, until it is too late. That's the downside of freedom, which if left unguarded, can lead to government abuse that will destroy the foundation of our Constitution along with the moral principles upon which our country was founded.
The dehumanization of unborn children did not occur in a vacuum. Following the introduction of birth control pills, feminist organizers became preoccupied with reforming abortion laws as the sexual revolution unfolded during the 1960's. Gradually, through judicial activism, abortion laws were liberalized in a number of states prior to Roe. Feminist literature from that time seems almost quaint, articles longingly spoke of a day when coat hangers would be back in the closets; when back-alleys would be no more sinister than backyards, and the word "quack" would refer to nothing more than the petulant phonations of an aquatic bird.
Women not initially receptive to the idea of legalizing abortion became involved in the feminist movement for other reasons. Had early efforts been confined to getting women entry into the professional workforce and assuring equal pay for equal work, that would have been understandable. However, marriage and childbirth were scorned and single women were encouraged to experiment sexually with a variety of partners. Female sexual response, and the attainment of pleasure without consequences, became a guidepost within the feminist movement. Many of the "pop-psych" books reflected the growing "if it feels good, do it" trend, and women's magazines became almost obsessed with the quantity and quality of orgasms. Demands for equal sexual rights with men, including "reproductive rights," resulted in a rise in promiscuity, and the divorce rate began to climb as married women became self-absorbed and dissatisfied.
The Pill was only an intermediate step to the Final Solution that would end sexual repression, and establish liberation for sexually active women (a deception filled with repercussions). It was not enough to control pregnancy by easy evacuation of an unfertilized egg (i.e., prevent a baby from being conceived), the product of conception had to be stopped (i.e., the baby had to be exterminated). The activists' objective was to convince the public that choice (abortion) was preferable to the alternative of forced slavery (motherhood). If the tactics failed, they'd resort to the courts (i.e., force the public to accept legalization whether they agreed with it or not).
For those abortion activists whose motives were clear but who were not comfortable enough to venture into this brave new world where unborn babies fell victim to sordid linguistic misrepresentations, there were alternatives. It was possible to hide behind the crisis of overpopulation, and unwanted children. Many of these pioneer activists were sincere in their beliefs. If abortions were legal, we could eliminate world hunger, poverty, and the growing epidemic of welfare mothers and drifting fathers. So, from the vantage point of crimes against living children, abortion was being morphed even then into a necessary good.
In 1973, Americans were extremely troubled with the prospect of first trimester abortions being performed for convenience, as a method of birth control. Had anyone suggested that a law be passed allowing babies to be aborted up to the moment of birth, suctioning their brains out as part of a "medical procedure," people would have been aghast at the thought. After twenty seven years, we've already learned to co-exist painfully and passively, with routine vacuum-aspiration abortion, saline abortion, assisted suicide, abortion as "choice," a dead baby as a "product of conception," baby harvesting, and so on. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of legal infanticide up to birth, it is only a matter of time before we adjust to that new definition of choice. In some ways, I fear we already have adjusted. People I speak to about partial birth abortion used to recoil in horror at the description and leave the room; now they are able to discuss it over a sandwich and coffee.
In an article reprint entitled, "One Woman's Abortion," by "Mrs. X," the author describes her own illegal abortion and longs for a time when "therapeutic abortions" will "lead the way." She opines: "Social grounds for abortion could follow, under the surveillance of abortion boards composed of M.D.'s and psychiatrists" (italics mine). Mrs. X's article originally appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in August, 1965. We are a far cry from those naive beginnings. That's why it's so important not to mince words. I'm not afraid to call partial birth abortion infanticide, for that's what it is. I'm not ashamed to say that abortion degrades women, for that's what it does. As a Jew, I'm not wrong to refer to what supporters call "choice" as an American Holocaust, for that's what it has become.
In summation, the solution to reversing our cultural decline requires not simply correction, but an examination of history, an access to and understanding of facts. We pro-lifers know the facts because we're involved, and we examine the abortion issue up close. If we want the general public to know the truth behind the issue, it is up to us to inform them to examine the laws firsthand, before policymakers and pro-abortion organizations give them their version. Then, everyone will have the knowledge to make wise decisions, and hopefully vote those responsible for bad laws out of office.
When the Supreme Court declares open season on babies, nullifying state rights they themselves set forth in the former Casey decision, it's time for all Americans to take notice. Unless there is political intervention now, soon, to stop our progression into complacency, we will one day seriously regret our error. We'll be killing living children with resignation and acceptance, perhaps even glee, along with other members of our society deemed unfit or inconvenient. By then, deformed thinking will be the norm and people will have so acclimated themselves that they will no longer be able to distinguish the difference in value between a living human being and a dead one.
We haven't reached that point where we are immune to films, lectures and images of genocide; we are still capable of being horrified and desiring change. My prayer is that our current level of discomfort becomes unbearable and tortures us so, that we shudder and tremble at the prospect of such a dreadful future for our children. Maybe then the fear will urge us to do what is right, and vote only for candidates who will end infanticide forever. Please, I beseech you to remember the Holocausts. Both of them.
Copyright 2000 by Bonnie Chernin Rogoff. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.