Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Stephanie Gray: Does it Diminish the Holocaust to Compare It With Abortion

Lifted from the CCCB Facebook page:

The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform has an important concession to make: It is insensitive and problematic to compare abortion and the Holocaust and we will stop doing so--if. If what? If the unborn are not human.

But if they /are/ human, then comparing the slaughter of innocent human beings from one atrocity to the next is reasonable.

After all, it's what the US Holocaust Memorial Museum does. Amidst remembering the Jewish Holocaust, they have an exhibit that shows images of recent atrocities including pictures from Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. A quote in that section by Holocaust-survivor Elie Wiesel says the following: “A memorial unresponsive to the future would violate the memory of the past.”
The Holocaust Memorial Museum doesn't just educate about the Holocaust--they draw parallels between that and present-day genocides like the Rwandan genocide.

If it is legitimate to compare what happened during World War II to what happened in Rwanda, why not also to what happens in Canada? Are Rwandans humans like Jews? Then the comparison is legitimate. Are the unborn human like the born? Then the comparison is legitimate.

When I attended UBC, the Jewish club, Hillel, compared the Rwandan genocide to the Holocaust and hosted a speaker who said, “‘Never again’ doesn’t just mean ‘never my people.’ It means never again for all people, for all of humanity.”

That sentiment fits with a George Santayana quote I saw at Auschwitz: “The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again.”

So what about groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that compare killing animals for food with the Holocaust? Isn't that wrong? Well it comes down to this: are humans equal to animals? If they are, then PETA's comparison is legitimate. If they are not, then PETA's comparison is insensitive.

One final note. A couple years ago a former UBC student sought me out and e-mailed me this message:

"During my tenure at UBC and on [boards of campus groups], I lobbied against Lifeline UBC’s invitation of GAP [Genocide Awareness Project] because I felt, as a 1st generation Canadian, and child of a [Holocaust] survivor, that the concentration camp imagery juxtaposed with abortion imagery was insulting to the memory of my family members who both survived and perished during the genocide. I agreed with the idea behind it [GAP], as I have always been pro-life, save specific circumstances, but felt that the method was wrong.

"Since leaving UBC, getting married and having my own child, I have come to realize the error of my rationale; in fact, I now view my acts to prevent GAP... to be one of my big regrets from my time at UBC. I wish to apologize."

After expressing how deeply touched I was by his humility and after accepting his apology, he wrote this:

"As a final thought, The Torah teaches that in the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, one should ask their fellow person for forgiveness. Though this is early as Rosh Hashanah isn’t until the 12th of September and Yom Kippur the Friday night of the following week, I thank you for your forgiveness that I may go to the Day of Atonement with a lighter conscience."

See, for the poor choicer, they're upset because they make the distinction that the government policy of hunting down and exterminating six million Jews is not comparable to millions of women to making an individual and private decision to terminate a pregnancy.

To maintain their outrage, they MUST understand it that way, and cling to it with all their might.


And poor choice supporters do not want to understand what is being said.

Because if they understand the message as the CCBR intends it, then they would have to confront the substance of the controversy.

And they don't want to do that. Support for legal abortion has been built on two contradictory stances. 1) In public, the abortion rights movement has maintained an official philosophical ambiguity about the moral status of the fetus in order to accommodate all possible interpretations of potential supporters, and thereby secure political and social acceptance of abortion. 2) In private, or in practice, feminists treat the fetus as a non-person and often as a non-human.

See, abortion people will never come clean about what they REALLY think about the fetus. Because they know that once they start playing around with that issue, they will lose support; support from people who see the fetus as human but as a non-person; support from women who have had abortions and want to honour their children; and so forth.

They only way they seem to be make everyone happy is to simply not take on the issue of the fetus in public, and simply say that it's a woman's right to end pregnancy.

HOWEVER, (getting back to my original point) the message of the CCBR, that poor choicers do not want to understand is that 1) fetuses are human beings and 2) dehumanization of human beings ALWAYS occurs in order to exploit and eventually kill them.

The minute that poor-choicers have to ADMIT that that's the real message of the CCBR, that it's not about treating women like Nazis (as if two things being compared in an analogy must correspond on every point!) then they have to answer the charge being made: they are dehumanizing the fetus, and then they have to speak up about what they REALLY think about the fetus, and that could jeopardize the PUBLIC philosophical stance about the fetus, which is to take no stance.

Poor-choicers do not want to have arguments about the fetus. Because it eventually results in them looking like they don't care about defenseless human beings. Which they don't. And that makes them look bad.

See, pro-lifers can care for women. We can provide help to carry a pregnancy to term. We can connect and help them with issues they may have.

Poor-choicers cannot, in any way, care about fetuses. It's hard to say you care about a human being when you say that they can be killed for any reason whatsoever.