Reducing the Stress

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director of Priests for Life
October 22, 2001

The use of the gas chambers in the Nazi holocaust is common knowledge. What is not so commonly known, however, is the reason why the method of killing was changed from shooting to gassing. And that reason reveals a frightening parallel with what is going on in the abortion industry today.

In the documents of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, we read the following excerpt:

"…Women and children were to be executed with the men…. In this respect, the Einsatzgruppen leaders encountered a difficulty they had not anticipated. Many of the enlisted men were husbands and fathers, and they winced as they pulled their triggers on these helpless creatures who reminded them of their own wives and offspring at home. ... This was hard on the executioners, personnel experts reported to the RSHA in Berlin, and to relieve their emotional sensitivity, gas vans were sent to the rescue."

(Title: "XI: Opinion and Judgment: Appropriation of Personal Methods of Execution: Part 2, United States of America v. Otto Ohlendorf, et. al. (Case 9: 'Einsatzgruppen Case'). District of Columbia: GPO, 1950. pp. 448-453.)


Gassing was not bloody, and took place behind the closed doors of the vans. It reduced the stress placed on the killers.

Abortion practitioners publicly admit a similar emotional stress on the clinic workers who have to deal with the body parts of aborted babies. In the book Second Trimester Abortion: Perspectives After a Decade of Experience (Berger, Brenner, Keith, eds, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1981), there is a chapter called "Psychological Impact on Patients and Staff," in which we read that "soon after voluntary abortion became a legal reality, some authorities observed an unanticipated, strong emotional reaction by the staff" (p. 242). Notice the similarity of the following quote with the one from the Nuremberg trials: "Nurses found physical contact with the fetus particularly difficult; it reminded them of the 'preemies' just down the hall and made them uncomfortable as they thought about their own potential future pregnancies" (p. 245).

We read further in the Nuremberg documents that even the method of gassing created problems for those who had to unload the bodies:

"Becker then complained that members of the Kommando should not be required to unload the corpses.

'I brought to the attention of the commanders of those S.K. concerned, the immense psychological injuries and damages to their health which that work can have for those men, even if not immediately, at least later on. The men complained to me about headaches which appeared after each unloading"
(Title: "XI…" as above).

This is why the task of unloading the bodies was eventually given to the Jews who themselves were destined for killing. In the abortion industry, the abortionist will leave to the nurses and the assistants the grim task of reassembling and disposing of body parts.

The lesson? While abortionists attempt to reduce the psychological impact of the killing, we need to increase that impact on the public, so that more people will work to stop it.

Priests for Life
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