Monday, October 20, 2003

Ominous Parallels to the Third Reich’s “Mercy Killing” Program

"...[T]he bioethics departments in most universities are akin to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. The doctors and "scientists" at the Institute gave scientific legitimacy to one of the most grisly, evil barbaric rampages in the history of mankind. That rampage is happening in America without the Gestapo and SS. We have the courts and our institutions willing to couch the horror in legalism and euphemisms." --Diane Alden (10/17/03;

On October 8, 1933 --exactly 70 years and one week before a Florida court ordered the starvation death of Terri Schindler-Schiavo-- The New York Times published an Oct. 7 Associated Press wire service story on the then-new Nazi government's announced plans to deal with the infirmed.

Following is that report, in full, as it appeared in the Times (emphases added):

Nazi Plan to Kill Incurables to End Pain; German Religious Groups Oppose Move.

BERLIN, Oct. 7 --The Ministry of Justice in a detailed memorandum explaining the Nazi aims regarding the German penal code today announced its intention to ,b>authorize physicians to end the sufferings of incurable patients. The memorandum, still lacking the force of law, proposed that "it shall be made possible for physicians to end the tortures of incurable patients, upon request, in the interests of true humanity." This proposed legal recognition of euthanasia --the act of providing a painless and peaceful death --raised a number of fundamental problems of a religious, scientific and legal nature.

The Catholic newspaper Germania hastened to observe: "The Catholic faith binds the conscience of its followers not to accept this method of shortening the sufferings of incurables who are tormented by pain." In Lutheran circles, too, life is regarded as something that God alone can take. A large section of the German people, it was expected in some interested circles, might ignore the provisions for euthanasia, which overnight has become a widely-discussed word in the Reich.

In medical circles the question was raised as to just when a man is incurable and when his life should be ended. According to the present plans of the Ministry of Justice, incurability would be determined not only by the attending physician, but also by two official doctors who would carefully trace the history of the case and personally examine the patient.

In insisting that euthanasia shall be permissible only if the accredited attending physician is backed by two experts who so advise, the Ministry believes a guarantee is given that no life still valuable to the State will be wantonly destroyed.

The legal question of who may request the application of euthanasia has not been definitely solved. The Ministry merely has proposed that either the patient himself shall "expressly and earnestly" ask it, or "in case the patient no longer is able to express his desire, his nearer relatives, acting from motives that do not contravene morals so request."

Of course, the Nazi policy was implemented and “incurable patients” were routinely put to death or “allowed” to die (via starvation and withdrawal of medical treatment) as an act of Nazi “mercy,” "dignity," and “liberation” from suffering –the very same arguments presented by Terri’s “husband” Michael Schiavo and his “right-to-die” activist lawyer George Felos. (One suspects that Herr Felos' dehumanizing anthropology and anti-Christian New Age "spirituality" would've fit in quite nicely with the Third Reich.)

Eventually, and in very short order, the Nazis’ euthanasia policy was expanded to include all those deemed to have a “low quality of life” and therefore regarded as a burden on the Reich’s newly nationalized health care system: By 1939, the Nazi’s “mercy killing” program included “unproductive” elderly; the retarded; the mentally ill; the senile; epileptics; psychiatric patients; the handicapped, deaf, and blind; and those who were chronically ill for more than five years. Infants born with any of mental or physical disabilities who were unfortunate enough to be born in Reich hospitals were immediately removed from their mothers and killed.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Twenty-five years ago, popular Evangelical Christian writer and teacher Francis A. Schaeffer and nationally-known right-to-life pediatrician (and later US Surgeon General) C. Everett Koop, also an Evangelical, joined forces to oppose Roe v.Wade and abortion-on-demand knowing full well what the implications of that decision and its “right to privacy” fabrication would lead to. They also knew the history of the Nazi euthanasia program and didn’t want to see it repeated.

But when they openly predicted that precisely what is happening today in Florida would be the next thing to come down the Culture of Death pike, the secular media –and more than a few Christians—dismissed them as alarmists and crackpots.

As it turns out, they were prophets.

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