An article published in the semi-official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, has caused angry reactions after it argued that proponents of euthanasia and abortion use the same arguments as the Nazi used to justify their criminal eugenics program.
The article that appeared on the front page of the May 5 issue of L'Osservatoe Romano, written by Lucetta Scaraffia, an Italian historian who contributes frequently to the Vatican paper, repeated an argument that religious opponents of euthanasia and abortion have used very often in the past: that advocates of euthanasia and abortion base their views as did the Nazis on the Darwinian concept of survival of the fittest.
The Huffington Post reports that the article was written in response to a recent Italian translation of a 1920 book written by two German scholars, Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche, entitled "Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Living."
Scaraffia wrote that the controversial German book set the agenda for the Nazi Holocaust and the regime's infamous eugenics program. According to Scarafia, the ideology the writers advocated said that certain "inferior types" should not be considered as having the right to live and that it is in accordance with the Darwinian laws of nature based on "struggle for survival" and "survival of the fittest," to kill off such persons. Scaraffia said that the authors argued that people who have mental or physical disability, or are terminally or seriously ill, were unworthy of their lives and thus should be given "charitable death."
The Washington Post reports Scaraffia argued that the Nazi ideological leaning can still be seen in the “writings of many contemporary bioethicists, and of many politicians who support legislative proposals of a euthanasic type.”
Daily Mail reports that Scaraffia criticized pro-abortionists and pro-euthanasia activists, saying: "Contempt for imperfect human life, over estimation of the abilities of science are still firmly present in our time."
Scaraffia repeated the widely held claims of the global eugenics conspiracy theory, saying "eugenics is still alive and has not been wiped out together with the Nazi past."
Are there really genuine parallels between Nazi eugenics and the pro-choice movement?
Supporters of abortion and euthanasia have reacted to Scaraffia's claims, saying that the "parallels" she sees are conjured by her prejudice. Most supporters of the pro-choice movement argue that the motives and agenda of the Nazis were radically different from those of modern day supporters of abortion and euthanasia. But a reader on Huffington Post, "Veryradiant," attacks the pro-choice argument, saying: "Even though the Nazis and the pro-choice movement have different motivations, it is a little sobering that some parallels can be drawn between the results of the two groups."
Another reader "ChaCubed," countered "Veryradiant," saying: "The Nazis prohibited abortions, THAT'S a... 'sobering parallel.'"
A third reader, Paul Robertson, concluded: "Actually, if you sober up, you'll see that the parallels aren't really there at all."
Opponents of euthanasia and abortion often berate supporters with arguments to the effect that life is "sacred" from its inception. "RB88GOP" argued on Huffington Post:
We all understand abortion to be morally problematic and to write off a 'clump of cells' as not valuable misunderstands what life is. DNA replication is such an extraordinary event, that when life (cells w/ life) start to split there is no WAY that someone with half a brain can simply dismiss this phenomenon as something less than sacred. Here on Earth we have the most complex beings we know have ever existed.
But "Sstevens8" counters "RB88GOP" with an argument "Sstevens8" considers a straw man:
Bacteria can form a 'clump of cells' known as a biofilm. This clump of cells performs DNA replication in precisely the same manner as the clump of cells in the embryo. Does this mean that the biofilm is just as sacred? If so, then throw your antibacterial hand wash away. Not that I'm for abortion, but your argument is simply asinine.
The controversy over Scaraffia's assertion continues to rage on several online forums.