America and the rest of the world are guilty of Nazi-like eugenics by allowing abortion that targets the unborn for various traits such as sex, race and disability, a federal judge asserted this week in a much-publicized abortion case.
Judge Richard Griffin, a member of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, made the comments in a concurring opinion that was attached to the court’s decision in a ruling that upheld an Ohio law banning abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis.
In a 9-7 decision, the court ruled the law legally advances the state’s “valid and legitimate” state interests by protecting the Down syndrome community and the integrity and ethics of the medical profession.
Although the majority decision did not reference eugenics in its majority opinion, Griffin and two other judges did in concurring opinions.
The 2017 Ohio law prohibits doctors from performing abortions if the doctor “has knowledge that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion, in whole or in part” due to a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis.
“Many think that eugenics ended with the horrors of the Holocaust,” Griffin wrote. “Unfortunately, it did not. The philosophy and the pure evil that motivated Hitler and Nazi Germany to murder millions of innocent lives continues today. Eugenics was the root of the Holocaust and is a motivation for many of the selective abortions that occur today.”
Griffin then quoted, approvingly, a 2019 opinion by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas that also compared eugenics to some of the goals of abortion.
“Coined in 1883 by British statistician Francis Galton, ‘eugenics’ is ‘the science of improving stock through all influences that tend in however remote a degree to give to the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable than they otherwise would have,’” Griffin wrote, quoting Thomas.
Griffin added, “Following Nazi Germany’s horrific implementation of eugenics to its natural conclusion, the eugenics movement lost its popularity. … Tragically, however, the practice continues today with modern-day abortions. Specifically, the selective abortion of unborn babies who are deemed ‘unfit’ or ‘undesirable’ is becoming increasingly common.”
Griffin, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, listed examples of how abortion fulfills the goals of the eugenics movement. Quoting Thomas, he wrote: “In Asia, widespread sex-selective abortions have led to as many as 160 million ‘missing’ women – more than the entire female population of the United States.” Griffin noted that in India, “300,000 to 700,000 female fetuses were selectively aborted in India each year. Today there are about 50 million more men than women in the country.” In Iceland, he wrote, “the abortion rate for children diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero approaches 100 percent.”
Judge Jeffrey Sutton, another Bush nominee, also made the eugenics connection.
“Ohio does not have to be Iceland,” Sutton wrote.
The Supreme Court, Sutton wrote, “has never considered an anti-eugenics statute before.”
“Nothing in its abortion decisions indicates that a State may not ban doctors from knowingly performing an abortion premised on the undesirability of the disability, sex, or race of the fetus,” Sutton wrote. “The question is not whether the ban counts as an undue burden. The question is whether the undue burden test applies at all. I see no reason that it does.”
Judge John Bush, who was nominated by President Trump, agreed with Sutton.
“The Court has never ruled on states’ ‘compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics,’” Bush wrote.
The Ohio law, Sutton argued, should have bipartisan support.
“Today’s case, it seems to me, is Exhibit A in a proof that federal judicial authority over the issue has not been good for the federal courts or for increased stability over this difficult area,” Sutton wrote before asking: “How did it happen that an anti-eugenics law is not the kind of law that reasonable people could compromise over in the context of broader debates about abortion policy?”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.