Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano has repeatedly used his Facebook page to compare abortion to the Holocaust, an analogy that Holocaust remembrance officials have called “unacceptable” and “abhorrent.” In one instance, Mastriano shared a cartoon which claimed that Roe v. Wade is “so much” worse than the Holocaust and featured a Nazi bowing down to the number of “USA Abortions.”
Mastriano has a long history of pushing extreme commentaries, including content that promotes QAnon, lies about the 2020 election being stolen, anti-Muslim bigotry, and COVID-19 conspiracy theories and falsehoods. Forward recently reported that Mastriano “has in the past invoked Nazi-era analogies in the debate over gun control.”
On his Facebook page, the Republican gubernatorial nominee has repeatedly compared abortion to the Holocaust.
On February 16, 2019, Mastriano shared a cartoon from the organization Answers in Genesis featuring a Nazi and Joseph Stalin bowing down to a Grim Reaper labeled Roe v. Wade. A dialogue bubble from the Nazi and Stalin says: “You are so much greater than we ever were!” The cartoon includes death figures of 17 million for the Holocaust; 23 million for Stalin; and 57.5 million for “USA Abortions.” Mastriano commented: “So sad.”
On December 21, 2019, he shared a Facebook video from Lila Rose — the leader of anti-abortion group Live Action — that links the abortion pill mifepristone to the gas used to murder Jews in the Holocaust.
And on November 24, 2020, he shared a post on the website of Live Action with the headline, “My visit to Auschwitz reminded me why I oppose abortion.” The Live Action piece defended comparing the Holocaust to abortion, stating: “The greatest disrespect I could possibly lend to the victims of the Holocaust is the refusal to apply the lessons of that horrific history to the horrors of today, thus repeating the deadly mistakes of the past.”
Anti-abortion activists have a long history of using the Holocaust to justify their opposition to abortion. People who work for Holocaust memorial organizations have criticized such comparisons.
In 2019, Kathrin Meyer, the executive secretary for the intergovernmental International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, stated: “The comparison made between abortion and the Holocaust is abhorrent. The suggestion is offensive and trivializes the Holocaust, offending the memory of Holocaust victims and survivors. These two matters are in no way related and to seek to make this comparison for political purposes is completely unacceptable.”
And in 2020, a spokesperson for the U.K.-government-backed Holocaust Memorial Day Trust stated: “It is unacceptable to draw comparisons between the Holocaust and abortion practice. The Holocaust was a unique, identity-based, extermination of a people, during which a state-sponsored slaughter of six million Jews took place before and during the Second World War.”
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.