Last week, 20 Precious Life volunteers protested outside an Alliance Party office in Belfast, Northern Ireland with a sign that sparked controversy, according to a press release from the group.
The pro-life protest was in response to ex-party leader David Ford’s support of legislation allowing abortions on unborn children prenatally diagnosed with disabling conditions, as well as overall party support for abortion.
One of the posters used at the protest sparked controversy because it contained an image of Ford next to one of Adolf Hitler.
The pro-life activist holding the sign was reported to the Belfast police forces, as the sign was believed to “trivialize the Nazi Holocaust” and “retraumatize Jewish people and communities.” Furthermore, the image of Hitler was also used on the group’s Facebook page, the Times of Israel reports.
Bernadette Smyth, director of Precious Life, responded to the allegation, saying: “The purpose of our poster was to draw people’s attention to the disturbing parallels between the Aktion T4 program, the post-war designated name of the Nazi ‘euthanasia’ program which targeted, for systematic killing, disabled people and the former Alliance leader’s Private Member’s Bill which seeks to legalize abortion of unborn babies with life-limiting conditions right up to the moment of birth.”
Smyth said the poster was not meant to trivialize the Holocaust or its victims in any way.
“To correct Gary Spedding, our reference to Hitler had nothing to do with the Holocaust. The Aktion T4 killing program was Nazi Germany’s first program of mass murder,” Smyth continued. “… The poster was simply to highlight a policy that was enforced ‘back then’ and a policy that is being proposed as a parental choice today and the disturbing parallels between those policies.”
Precious Life is the largest pro-life organization in Northern Ireland, according to its website. The activist group educates the public and campaigns against abortions, “saving babies, mothers, and indeed this country, from the silent holocaust that is brutally destroying 50 million lives worldwide every year.”
Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland; the 1967 Abortion Act legalizing abortion in the United Kingdom did not apply in Northern Ireland, the BBC News reports. The Northern Ireland High Court further ruled that rape, incest and fetal abnormalities are invalid reasons for seeking abortion, the report continues, stating abortion is “incompatible with the human rights of women.”
Many criticized the Hitler imagery used in last week’s pro-life rally in the nation’s capital.
“People making Hitler and Nazi comparisons are deliberately using the horrors these things evoke, in order to get a little bit more publicity for their own cause,” a CST spokesperson told the Times of Israel. “It is a deeply immoral abuse of pain and memory, usually premised on the suffering of the Holocaust, but actually many millions of non-Jews also suffered and died because of the evils of Nazism: so it should concern everyone, not just Jews.”
The Campaign Against Antisemitism added to the criticism, telling the news outlet: “The debate over abortion should be had without such cheap shots which diminish the Holocaust in what might be called ‘softcore’ Holocaust denial. Adolf Hitler was not a pro-choice campaigner, he was the ultimate author of the Holocaust. Precious Life ought to be ashamed of itself.”
Smyth’s response to the controversial poster continued:
“David Ford’s Bill is seeking to allow abortion of unborn babies diagnosed with a condition ‘likely to result in the death’ of the unborn child either before birth or during birth. The word ‘likely’ sets the bar so low that it gives doctors free rein.
“According to David Ford, his proposal for legalised abortion is ‘not about disability’ but solely targeted towards unborn babies with ‘no prospect of life.’ But research has shown that babies with anencephaly have lived up to 5 days and even 28 days. In a recent survey of 332 families in trisomy support groups, of the 216 children who had full Trisomy 18 or 13, 40% lived longer than a year and 21% lived at least 5 years. But if David Ford’s Bill is made law, if a child is born alive, no treatment will be offered to improve chances of survival. What ‘no prospect of life’ really means is that the child’s life is not worth fighting for.
“The common principle behind the Aktion T4 programme and the current proposal for legalised abortion of unborn babies with life-limiting conditions in Northern Ireland is eugenic discrimination – that certain human beings, because of a ‘defective’ quality or disability, are not worth protecting.
“Supporters of changing the law to allow abortion in the above cases would claim that allowing abortion in such cases is nothing like the Nazi eugenics killing programme. But eugenic discrimination remains just that, whether it is enforced by the state or chosen by a parent.”
The Precious Life press release concludes: “The pro-life movement throughout the world has been exposing the link between eugenics and abortion for years. It may be difficult for those who accept the killing of unborn children to accept such a disturbing connection, but nevertheless, it is the truth and the truth must be spoken, no matter now unpopular or uncomfortable it may be to hear.”