Friday, 19 April 2013

The origins of the eugenics movement in Germany

The eugenics movement in Germany drew on the same primary inspiration as its sister movements in Britain and the United States, namely, the writings of Charles Darwin. In this post I wish to continue our series on eugenics by presenting profiles of just a few of the many individuals who helped to shape the first decades of the German eugenics movement.

Ernst Haeckel

Ernst Haeckel (1834 - 1919)
Ernst Haeckel, a biologist who had visited Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley in 1866, first introduced their work to a wide German audience. Haeckel can, along with Darwin and Galton, be considered one of the founders of ‘scientific racism’. He considered that “the Caucasian, or Mediterranean man, has from time immemorial been placed at the head of all the races of men, as the most highly developed and perfect.” Haeckel taught at the University of Jena for forty-seven years from 1862 to 1909 and during this time he worked ceaselessly to propagate both the theory of evolution and the racial ideology which had become almost inseparable from it. One of his lasting legacies was a series of drawings of embryos from different species which purported to demonstrate their gradual evolution. His drawings are no longer considered as being of any scientific value; indeed they are widely considered to have been deliberately doctored, even faked, in order to prove his pre-existing theories. The most influential of Haeckel’s forty-two published works was The History of Creation (1868) in which he set out the theory of evolution for his German audience with his own reflections on the development of the human race. Typical of his views are his statements that inhabitants of southern Africa are ‘more like apes’ than any other race of human beings and that ‘no woolly-haired nation has ever had an important “history”’.[1] Haeckel shared Charles Darwin’s view that the ‘lower races’ were doomed to extinction. [2] There would soon be those in Germany who would attempt to accelerate this supposed evolutionary process.

Alfred Ploetz

Alfred Ploetz  (1860 - 1940)
One of the most poisonous fruits of Haeckel’s legacy was the Freie wissenschaftliche Vereinigung (free scientific union) a radical group who studied and discussed the writings of both Haeckel and Darwin. They wanted to found an ideal society on a pacific island and organise it along eugenic principles. A leading member was Alfred Ploetz who coined the term Rassenhygiene, literally ‘Racial Hygiene’, which has essentially the same meaning as the word ‘eugenics’. In 1895 he published Outline of Racial Hygiene and followed this with The Efficiency of our Race and the Protection of the Weak in which he advocated large scale abortion, infanticide and the rigorous control of human reproduction by the state. In 1904 he founded the journal Archive for Racial and Social Biology and in 1905 the German Society for Racial Hygiene. He was praised by the Nazi eugenicist Ernst Rudin as a man who ‘by his meritorious services has helped to set up our Nazi ideology’. Like many other supporters of brutal population control policies, such as Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He received this award in 1936, the year after the notorious Nuremberg Laws were instituted. Early in his career he was considered pro-Jewish and praised the intellectual abilities of the Jews; he was later to bring his views into line with those of the Nazi regime.

Eugen Fischer

Eugen Fischer (1874 - 1967)
Eugen Fischer was one of the leading figures of the early German eugenic and Darwinist movement. In 1908 Fischer conducted a research project on people of mixed-race in German South West Africa and concluded that intermarriage between races should be forbidden. On his return to Germany he founded the Society for Eugenics in Freiburg. Throughout this period he worked closely with Charles Davenport and the International Federation of Eugenics Organisations. In 1927 he became head of the Kaiser Wilhem Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics, which position he held until 1942.  In 1933, the year Hitler rose to power, he was appointed Rector of the Frederick William University of Berlin and later joined the Nazi party. He was an enthusiastic advocate of sterilisation and birth control and was responsible for the forced sterilisation of mixed race children in the Rhineland (the children of European women and African soldiers in the occupying French army). After the Second World War, his career continued seemingly unblemished by his cooperation with the Nazi regime. He was one of the many beneficiaries (along with International Planned Parenthood) of the policy of turning a blind eye to those implicated in Nazi eugenics, in order to aid German recovery. He was made an honorary member of the German Anthropological Society in 1952.

Ernst Rudin

Ernst Rudin (1874 - 1952)
Ernst Rudin was introduced to Darwinism and the ideology of eugenics by his brother-in-law Alfred Ploetz. He began his career by studying the genetic origins of mental illnesses. From 1917 – 1945 he was Director of the Genealogical-Demographic Department at the German Institute for Psychiatric Research in Munich. He was also to be become the head of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and the German Society for Racial Hygiene. In 1933, shortly after Hitler seized power, Rudin, along with other leading eugenicists sat on the Expert Committee on Questions of Population and Racial Policy which advised Hitler on matters relating to eugenics. Rudin authored the official commentary on the ‘Law for the prevention of hereditarily diseased offspring.’ He was arrested in 1945 but was released swiftly.

These brief portraits should be enough to make clear that the Nazi programme of genocide, euthanasia and sterilisation was not the isolated work of a rogue regime but was simply, at that date, the most bloodthirsty of attempts to implement the eugenic ideology that had been growing in strength for nearly a century. After the Second World War the advocates of eugenics regrouped and found new ways of propagating and implementing their ideology. Abortion has proved to be the simplest way of securing ‘racial hygiene’, for example, around 90% of infants diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome are now killed in the womb.

We are all called to do our part in the struggle for human life and dignity in the face of the almost overwhelming power of the eugenics movement.

Help defeat eugenics today:

-         Join SPUC 
-         Learn how you can take part in our campaigns 
-         Learn more about eugenics

[1] Ernst Haeckel, The History of Creation: Volume II (1880 ed., New York), p307
[2] In The Descent of Man Darwin had written “Civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate the savage races throughout the world ... The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

From Death to Life: One post-abortive father's testimony

Below is the script and audio recording of one father's experience of abortion and healing. I heard this talk in London recently at a 40 Days for life event. Many thanks to the father for providing the text of his talk, and to Robert Colquhoun who provided the recording. 
  • “If someone had said to me some 14 years ago that I’d be standing up in front of a group of complete strangers confessing one of the most personal and tragic events of my life” 14 years ago, judged by the worlds standards, anyone looking at me from the outside would have seen a well educated and grounded individual with all the trappings of success. I was working in London at the time, as a qualified professional, earning a very respectable salary, with 2 investment flats, one in prime Islington, north London and the other in central Bath with views over the city. The picture is made complete when I say that I had also a little country cottage with my girlfriend at that time with her 2 lovely dogs. To boot, If I tell you that I had also a handsome, 18 hand, part thoroughbred, chestnut horse you’ll get a good idea of my worldly grounding. 
  • Cohabiting and contracepting with girlfriends was just a part of the enjoyment which went with the worldly lifestyle. Never any real commitment since cohabiting, after all, was not marriage but it offered all the attractions and fun, all on my own selfish terms. 
  • The abortion cost a mere £100 in cash and, for my part, all I had to do was get money from the cash till, give it to my girlfriend and wait outside the building until my child had been killed and my girlfriend had been mortally and physically wounded. What a cop- out and what a stinking coward I was!
  • a period of ill health, extensive medical tests and great unhappiness. It resulted in my moving out of the cottage and being signed off work for about 9 months. A time came when I realised I really was in a bad way when I found myself rocking on my spine one night in the bath. I had just lost so much weight, going down to about 7 stone.
  •  Returning to Mass began a long spiritual journey, along the road of which I have physically and spiritually experienced the love and mercy of an incredible God, who is also Our Father. Each of us, I believe, in time of most need, is only a heartfelt prayer away from an answer to the meaning and purpose of their life.
  • Men, be real men, and save the lives of unborn children.
  • On 12 March 2011, only 7 days before the feast of St. Joseph, our daughter Hannnah Grace Mary was given to us.

The Gosnell case and Ann Furedi's reaction to it

(L) Ann Furedi, CEO of BPAS, leading British abortion chain (R) Kermit Gosnell, abortionist on trial for murder

Kermit Gosnell, the US abortionist, currently stands trial, accused of 43 offences, including the murder of seven babies and one woman at his abortion centre. However, the full extent of Gosnell's wickedness goes way beyond the eight counts of murder he is charged with. The grand jury report on Gosnell was published in January 2011 and documents the full extent of Gosnell's activity. Hundreds, if not thousands, of born-alive babies have been brutally killed by Gosnell and his employees in the most appalling of ways.

Many of the photos are disturbing - bags containing baby remains stocked in freezers, severed feet kept in jars, photos of babies killed by having their spinal cord cut at the back of the neck, babies in the third trimester killed and thrown into bins, unsanitary operating rooms, serious injuries inflicted upon women, non-medically trained people employed in nursing roles, the list goes on. The full grand jury report can be seen in full here

The trial itself has revealed even more horrific details about what went on in Gosnell's abortion facility. One former employee, Sherry West, described an incident which “really freaked (her) out” and related to the jury how she heard a child scream who was born alive following an abortion.

Another employee, Stephen Massof, testified that when women were given medicine to speed up their deliveries, “it would rain foetuses. Foetuses and blood all over the place.”

Another Gosnell clinic worker testified that she took photos of one particularly large baby, referred to by prosecutors as “Baby A,” with her cell phone that was estimated to be about 30-weeks gestation. Baby A had been delivered alive into a toilet where she cut the baby’s throat.

Dr. Sam Gulino, chief medical examiner for the City of Philadelphia, who discussed his examination of the remains of 47 foetuses seized by law enforcement authorities from his “House of Horrors” abortion clinic. The remains were frozen and stored in a variety of containers, including milk jugs and cat food cans. a few days ago there was a media blackout - none of the mainstream media were covering the story, particularly because of the pro-abortion bias amongst journalists and news correspondents. This much has already been admitted by the likes of Melinda Henneberger of The Washington Post. have done a useful job recording recent media reactions to the lack of coverage. Bryan Kemper of Stand True did an excellent job of organising a Tweetfest, which SPUC fully supported, to break the media blackout. In the UK coverage has been provided by the Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, and the BBC. It's seems fair to say that the mainstream media, along with pro-lifers and the general public, now grasp something of the nature and extent of what happened.

Hopefully the few paragraphs above give some perspective, which is crucial for appreciating the comment below by Ann Furedi, the CEO of BPAS, a leading British abortion chain. Her comment is a response to an article by William Saletan writing in Slate. Simply compare the reality of what happened, with Furedi's comment below:
Having read the PA piece, what seems to be the problem with Gosnell is the conditions and quality of care at his clinic – and the fact that a shortage of later term doctors drives desperate women to pay large sums of money for what sounds like a pretty crap service. What a shame these women couldn't be treated by someone a bit better. His shoddy service must have made what was always going to be an ordeal into an unimaginable nightmare. I don't [think] this case speaks to the morality of later abortion or the moral status of the foetus at all.
 Screen shot of the original comment by by Furedi, and copied by The American Situation website, 25 January 2011.
This is the same comment, slightly different ("crap" changed to "appalling") from Abortion Review.

So Furedi thinks that the horrors committed by Gosnell and his staff is no more than a "crap" and "shoddy" service. The photos of 30+ week babies laying dead in buckets, tiny infants with their necks cut says nothing about the morality of abortion or the humanity of the child? Furedi would like something "a bit better" for these mothers.

Before Furedi started enjoying her £115,000 a year salary as CEO of BPAS, she was a journalist for a magazine called Living Marxism, using the names Ann Burton, Ann Bradley, and later Ann Furedi after her marriage. Her radical pro-abortion stance, and seeming lack of compassion and empathy one would expect from any normal human being, is revealed in an article written in 1995, in which she writes about a man who made the following comment at a conference discussion on abortion and fetal pain: "I always thought abortion was for the benefit of the woman. The fetus is supposed to be dead. If it hurts them [unborn children], kill them quick." Furedi concluded: "He has a point."

I imagine Kermit Gosnell thought the same.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Ambulance called to Marie Stopes Abortion centre South London

Abortion is not safe - it kills an innocent child, and can cause physical and psychological harm to the mother.  There is also an argument to be made about the adverse effects that abortion has upon abortionists and those who work in abortion facilities. Sometimes physical complications to the mother can result in the need for hospitalisation. Sometimes mothers die, even when abortion is considered "safe and legal" in countries with good health systems. The most recent Department of Health abortion statistics report 279 registered abortion-related complications. However, the actual number is likely to be much higher - mothers may have a complication related to their abortion later on but not disclose that they had an abortion, or the complication arises after a certain amount of time so that the complication is not recorded as abortion-related. Obtaining records from the Care Quality Commission on reported complications from abortion is slightly easier but still tricky when it comes to BPAS and Marie Stopes International, but getting the same information for private and NHS hospitals is difficult, hence we can reasonably argue that the actual number is higher than 279.

A few months ago the Good Counsel Network reported on the number of ambulances called to Marie Stopes Abortion centre in Ealing. In less than 8 weeks ambulances had to be called on 5 separate occasions. If the ambulances were indeed called because of abortion-related complications, imagine what it must be like to have complications, have paramedics called, be taken to hospital, and have even more people know that you were having an abortion. Having an abortion is not generally something women want to shout about, for obvious reasons.

A few days ago a contact in South London sent me photos of an ambulance called to the Marie Stopes centre in Brixton, south London, in April. The photos are below. This blog has already reported on MSI Brixton when a former employee turned whistleblower claimed MSI Brixton was operating a system of financial incentives for hitting targets. In 2010 MSI in the UK made headlines for offering free abortions as part of its job perks package for staff.

Please note that none of the photos include the mother at all - no one wants to expose or shame mothers having abortions. If the ambulance was called because of an abortion complication, which is very probable, these photos are yet more evidence about the harm abortion does to unborn children and their mothers. My contact tells that an MSI receptionist came to meet the ambulance paramedics, and was holding a white form. The ambulance stretcher was taken into the MSI centre. It is important to document these incidences, because they do not make it into the mainstream press, and the public just aren't aware that this sort of thing happens. Our culture still has the impression that abortion is a simple and safe procedure without consequences.

Ambulance arriving
Two paramedics and the MSI receptionist (right) with what looks like a white form in her hand
Paramedics unload the stretcher
The ambulance was left unattended as both paramedics and the MSI receptionist went into the bulding with the medic bag and stretcher

Monday, 15 April 2013

BPAS: sending dead baby girls for research

The last few years has seen increasing attention and opposition to sex selective abortion (abortion sought because of the sex of the child, usually a girl). Groups like All Girls Allowed campaign to expose and oppose sex selective abortion.

This practise was and remains widespread in China, India, Asian communities in the West (including the UK), Georgia, and other countries in eastern Europe. On 3 October 2011 The Council of Europe passed a resolution condemning most sex selective abortions in Council of Europe member states, with the exception of sex-linked genetic disorders i.e. eugenic sex-selective abortion. A similar Bill in America was proposed in May 2012 but defeated. In February 2012 Britain's Daily Telegraph published its undercover investigation on sex selective abortion in the UK, leading to the suspension of some doctors filmed authorising abortions based on the sex of the child. Sex-selective abortion receives both support and ambivalence from abortion groups. UK based Voice for Choice coalition, which British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) is a member of, published an open letter of support for abortionists, claiming that sex-selective abortion is not gender discrimination or a cause of gender discrimination. Sex-selective abortion highlights the paradox of campaigning for abortion as a woman's rights issue yet condemning innocent baby girls to death at the hands of an abortionist simply for being girls, which is profoundly anti-woman.

Looking through the website of Bpas includes past and current research projects. I found one, amongst many, that is particularly appalling. It's called "Modelling prenatal Oogenesis" which says "women attending for termination of pregnancy are given the opportunity to donate their foetal tissue [the body of the baby girl just killed] to be used for research purposes. The human oocytes are studied in vitro..." The screen shot is below, including the URL. Read it for yourself. Bpas is offering the bodies of baby girls they have killed, for research on their ovaries. It appears the research is being carried out at Warwick Medical School under the leadership of Professorial fellow Geraldine Hartshorne. I have emailed Prof. Hartshorne twice and received no reply. I have emailed Dr. Patricia Lohr, medical director of Bpas and received a short reply telling me that published studies on this research could be found on PubMed.

Recently a report appeared in Britain's Daily Mail about researchers who have almost finalised a procedure by which ovaries from aborted babies girls will be used for IVF. The news was announced at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Madrid. The procedure has been trialled by researchers in Holland and Israel. It involves tissue from seven baby girls aborted at between 22 and 33 weeks. Slices of their ovarian tissue were grown in a culture of chemicals and hormones. Over four weeks, the follicles matured to the stage just before an egg appears.

The abortion and fertility industries are showing us ever more destructive ways to kill and commodify children, especially baby girls. 

Friday, 12 April 2013

SPUC Youth Conference 2013: The report

Many thanks to the young adults, SPUC staff, and speakers for making this year's youth conference a very good occasion of friendship and formation. The weekend began on Friday at 4pm with registration, and numerous calls and texts from stranded groups all over the UK due to the very heavy snow. Some groups arrived later in the evening, whilst two groups from Scotland got as far as Manchester, stayed over at a hotel, and finished off the journey the next day. Good effort!

Picturesque Hayes conference centre covered in snow
Almost all of our delegates made it!
Friday afternoon meet and greet as people arrived
Anthony McCarthy, SPUC's education and publications manager, introduced the conference. One of Anthony's key messages was a paraphrase of the philosopher Aristotle: "a small error in the beginning leads to a bigger error later on". Anthony reminded attendees that the conference was there for their benefit, and the importance that SPUC attaches to the nurturing and support of young adult prolifers. He also said it was important to understand the philosophical and practical links between various prolife concerns.

Anthony McCarthy introducing the conference
Below is a photo of Anthony McCarthy introducing our first speaker, Ira Winter. Ira is a nurse and NapPro Technology practitioner. She works full time at Life fertility Care, providing couples with natural family planning and fertility education and help. Ira also spoke about the need for good medicine that addresses the underlying causes of fertility problems, rather than the ready recourse to hormonal pills and IVF.

Ira Winter waiting to give her presentation
Dr. Helen Watt of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Oxford spoke about pregnancy and the ethical nature of medical practises used when complications arise, such as ectopic pregnancy and the induction of pre-viable babies. This has been an important issue recently in the context of the death of Savita in Ireland. SPUC has taken a clear line on this matter.

Ira speaking about the loss of surgery skills for fertility and pregnancy
Dr. Watt speaking on the ethics of pregnancy

Panel discussion with Anthony, Ira, and Helen.
This year we asked a young prolifer and artist called Therese to design a new SPUC youth conference logo. Below is the final version. Therese very kindly sent us several versions and this one was picked for the conference. Unfortunately Therese and some of her family were unable to join us because of heavy snow and road closures.

The Logo

Peter Smith, SPUC's full-time lobbyist at the United Nations in New York, spoke briefly about his work at the UN, previous interns who had worked for him, and set out the internship opportunity he was offering to SPUC youth conference delegates.

Peter Smith, SPUC UN lobbyist
Peter with sucessful applicants for the SPUC UN internship 2013 and 2014
Fiorella Nash, a researcher for SPUC, gave a presentation on maternal health and mortality and the need for a prolife response. Fiorella began her presentation with some nice photos of her children, the newest of whom she brought along to the conference, to the delight of all.

Fiorella spoke the need for a prolife response to difficult pregnancies
Fiorella shows the audience as photo her newest child Natalia Evangelina
Dr. Lisa Nolland was our next speaker, on the effects of Sex education. Dr. Nolland offered delegates a very useful presentation that included excellent quotes and clips from music videos to show the bad effects that can come about when we have false notions about love, relationships, and human sexuality.

Below are also some photos of Anthony Ozimic, SPUC communications manager, who spoke about SPUC's history, campaigns, and points to remember for the future of the prolife movement in the UK at the culture and political level. 

Dr. Lisa Nolland giving her presentation

Anthony Ozimic speaking about SPUC's work
A vision for the present and the future - cultural and political 
UN lobbyist Peter Smith, Dr. Philip Howard, and Professor Patrick Pullicino
Barrister James Bogle talking about euthanasia
After a short tea break we heard from Barrister James Bogle, who talked about the state of the law concerning euthanasia and it's relation to current medical practise.

SPUC was very fortunate to have Professor Patrick Pullicino, professor of Clinical Neuroscience and Consultant Neurologist in the East Kent Hospitals Trust, speak about the dangers of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP). Prof. Pullicino is renowned for speaking out against the LCP and how it is being used as a "death pathway" for ill patients. Prof. Pullicino talked about the lack of evidence-based medicine in this regard, the difficulty of trying to predict death, and the financial incentives being offered to NHS trusts to get patients on the LCP.

Prof. Pullicino giving his presentation
Another tea break - time to chat and briefly discuss the talks
Following the tea breaks we had panel Q&A sessions
The most important aspect of the conference was of course the presentations, but it wasn't all talks and brain work. There was plenty of time to relax - we watched dystopian thriller Soylent Green on Friday evening, a great ceilidh on Saturday night, plenty of time for a drink in the bar, and plenty of snow for making snowmen or having a snow fight.

The Saturday night ceilidh
The band and MC leading the dancing

Merciless! This young man shall remain nameless :-)
Snowman abandoned for a wrestling match
The conference has finished, but it needs to be seen more as a start. The dignity of human life from conception to natural death continues to be undermined, denied, distorted, and attacked. There is an urgent need for more young adults to take a lead and do something to bring the prolife message to the public.

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