What the Holocaust & Abortion Have in Common

November 1995By William Brennan

William Brennan is Professor in the School of Social Services at St. Louis University and author of Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives.

On March 14, 1984, The New York Times stooped very low in its relentless campaign to discredit anyone who dares challenge the contemporary abortion juggernaut. The target of the Times's wrath was New York Archbishop John J. O'Connor because he liked abortion with the Nazi Holocaust. For this, O'Connor was subjected to a severe tongue-lashing and thrust into that time-worn caricature of a shadowy religious zealot bent on imposing his narrow sectarian morality on everyone else. An insidious inference was also made that O'Connor's remarks smacked of anti-Semitism.

O'Connor stood by his analogy, refused to be intimidated by the bullying tactics of the mega-press, and rightly responded with outrage at the blatantly false and offensive insinuations drawn. Letters to the Times reflected considerable support for the bishop (now cardinal). Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg wrote: "Any inference in your editorial that Bishop O'Connor in any way minimized the tragedy of the Holocaust is…entirely without foundation and constitutes an unwarranted aspersion on…[his record of] total abhorrence of anti-Semitism in any form."

O'Connor is not the only prominent individual to portray abortion as a modern-day Holocaust. Congressman Henry Hyde, former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, and Malcolm Muggeridge are among the notables who have publicly compared abortion to the Nazi war against the Jews. In his article, "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation," President Ronald Reagan quoted a passage from The Abortion Holocaust: Today's Final Solution which underscores a basic principle related to both abortion and the Nazi Holocaust: "The cultural environment for a human holocaust is present whenever any society can be misled into defining individuals as less than human and therefore devoid of value and respect."

It was in a television interview on WNBC's Newsforum (March 11, 1984) that O'Connor had highlighted a series of parallels between abortion and the Nazi Holocaust. He emphasized that "I always compare the killing of 4,000 babies a day in the United States, unborn babies, to the Holocaust."

You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.

Back to November 1995 Issue

Read our posting policy Add a comment
Be the first to comment on this story!