Pro-Life Leader James Dobson Under Fire for Nazi-Stem Cell Comparison

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 7, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Leader James Dobson Under Fire for Nazi-Stem Cell Comparison Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 7, 2005

Colorado Springs, CO ( — Pro-life leader Dr. James Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family, is coming under fire from a Jewish group for comparison the destruction of human embryos in embryonic stem cell research to the deaths of Jews killed during the Nazi holocaust.

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, calls Dobson’s comments "reprehensible" and "abhorrent."

During his nationally syndicated radio show Wednesday, Dobson criticized those who favor the destruction of human life to potentially find cures for diseases.

"But I have to ask this question: In World War II, the Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps, and I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind," Dobson said, according to a transcript.

"You know, if you take a utilitarian approach, that if something results in good, then it is good. But that’s obviously not true," said Dobson.

"We condemn what the Nazis did because there are some things that we always could do but we haven’t done, because science always has to be guided by ethics and by morality. And you remove ethics and morality, and you get what happened in Nazi Germany," said Dobson.

Saperstein chided Dobson for trying to "link for political purposes" to the death of Jews "research on blastocysts that will be destroyed anyway."

He said embryonic stem cell research is being done "to eliminate diseases that afflict countless millions of human beings" while "the Nazi’s inherent efforts to destroy the Jewish people while utilizing them as less than human beings (including for torturous scientific experimentation) to fulfill their pseudo-scientific and ideological goals" was much different.