In October of 1939, amid the turmoil of the outbreak of war, Hitler ordered widespread "mercy killing" of the sick and disabled. Code named "Aktion T 4," the Nazi euthanasia program to eliminate "life unworthy of life" at first focused on newborns and very young children.
The Nazi euthanasia program quickly expanded to include older deformed children and adults. Hitler's decree of October 1939, typed on his personal stationary and back dated to Sept. 1, enlarged "the authority of certain physicians to be designated by name in such a manner that person who, according to human judgment, are incurable, can upon a most careful diagnosis of the condition of sickness, be accorded a mercy death."
A total of six killing centers were established for the purpose of eliminating those consider "incurable" and "life unworthy of life..." (World War II timeline 1939)
Of course, Hitler's euthanasia machine was a small time operator when compared with the hundreds of institutions now killing the deformed in the US. To combat these atrocities, myself and many others have lobbied to stop the funding of this practice here in Utah. As a result, a new Utah state law banning public funding for deformity abortions was enacted in hopes of stopping these killings. However, with the loss of public funding, it is clear some Utah hospitals will just send their business elsewhere.
Still waiting for an interpretation of the law from a state health department committer, many Utah hospitals and doctors have decided to stop terminating pregnancies when the fetus is deformed, as of May 3, when the new law went into effect. "We're all in limbo," said Steven Clark, medical director of the maternal and fetal medicine program at LDS Hospital. University Hospital directors already have advised doctors to send their patients to three women's abortion clinics starting Monday.
However, some hospitals will continue to kill the deformed. Intermountain Health Care spokesman Daron Cowley said IHC hospital policies, which allow doctors to end pregnancies when "grave fetal defects are present," will not stop these abortions. Instead, IHC hospitals will wait for the health department rules.
When the health department rules are published and approved, pregnant women whose babies are diagnosed with deformities, will have to seek "medically indicated terminations" at abortion clinics, to out-of-state hospitals or carry the babies to term. (See the Salt Lake Tribune article 'Statute Handcuffs Hospital' May 1, 2004 and the minutes of the 2004 Utah State Legislature.)
With organizations like the Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood, and the LDS Church (see Ensign, Nov. 1998, pg. 71) supporting abortions in the case of deformity, stopping these abortions in Utah will be an uphill battle. But, as an American who believes in the inalienable right to life, I believe it is a battle worth fighting.
Looking at abortions in the case of deformity reminds one of the intent of Hitler to create a superior race by eliminating the deformed or anyone else he felt was inferior.
Such abortions are not the beginning of some slippery slope, but, rather the bottom of the pit. The many organizations and individuals in US society which clamor for their right to kill now those who may not live much longer, because continuing their lives poses some inconvenience, are an indication of just how far many have strayed for the original honor and sanctity Americans have shown for life. We should use every legal means to protect the helpless innocent from those determined to end their lives before their time.