Meet Dr. Josef Mengele, pioneer and father of the modern abortion industry in the western world. Any discussion of medical ethics in the modern age is incomplete without him. Dr. Mengele is best known for his time as a Nazi SS captain and lead physician at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War Two, where he famously conducted a wide range of ghoulish medical experiments on prisoners of his choosing – including abortions. But it is important to remember where and how his views on medical ethics developed, and how they have been reincarnated since. Human rights accords such as Geneva and Helsinki had to be broken, edited, and/or ignored in the early 1940s, after which they were reaffirmed – only to be trashed once more in the 1960s and 1970s.
Born in 1911, Mengele earned a PhD in Physical Anthropology from the University of Munich in 1935, and two years later earned another PhD in Medicine from the Institute for Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene in Frankfurt. As the name of his second school suggests, Mengele was an active proponent of the eugenics movement that had gained wide popularity during the Great Depression, thanks in large part to the contributions and activism of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger in the United States.
Eugenics was a movement that strived to lower and eventually exterminate unwanted and/or undesirable human populations for the betterment of the world and the superior, more evolved races. The state of Virginia became an epicenter of the eugenics movement with passage of its Racial Integrity Act in 1924, and by winning the now infamous Buck vs. Bell case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1927 – which enabled the state to forcibly sterilize over 8000 Virginians thereafter. As the flagship of higher learning in the state, the University of Virginia became a renowned center for eugenics theory, education, and promotion. Toward this end, eugenics enthusiast and biology Professor Dr. Ivey Lewis was made Dean of the University in 1933, and fellow eugenicist Dr. Harvey Jordan was promoted to Dean of Medicine at the UVA Hospital in 1939. Medical term papers and theses at UVA during this period brimmed with warnings of impending doom for civilization if “defectives” such as Jews or Negroes were permitted to repopulate and grow in numbers.
This particular brand of Social Darwinism was at the core of Adolf Hitler’s philosophy as he built and defined the Nazi movement in the early 1930s in Germany and East Prussia. Indeed, one of the first things Hitler did after taking power in 1933 was to inform the German medical associations that the Geneva and Helsinki Accords were now to be ignored with regard to their prohibition of abortion, sterilization, or euthanasia. He was the first major western leader to do so, but he needed doctors to cash in their medical ethics if he was to institute such a cruel new plan for the unwanted. Then as now, there were some who were willing to cash in, as soon after, over 50,000 women were forced into having abortions, and over 100,000 were euthanized. Elective abortions also flourished under the new regime that allowed it by including stress or depression as a threat to the pregnant woman’s life.
Mengele joined the Nazi party in 1937 as he was getting his medical license, and became one of the most famous doctors in instituting these new government policies. Not surprisingly, he was promoted into the Waffen SS the following year – where he would go on to volunteer in their medical service and served on the eastern front once the war began. Adding to his mystique within the Reich, he was wounded in combat in 1942, but not seriously. Conveniently declared unfit for combat due to only minor injuries, his knowledge and education were put to work at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Genetics, and Eugenics before ultimately taking the post of Chief Camp Physician at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
At the camp, Mengele could finally pursue his fascination with twins and heterochromia (two different color eyes) without the hassle of having to worry if his subjects suffered and died as a result. This tradition lives on today in the embryonic and fetal stem cell research that has destroyed thousands while producing absolutely nothing in the way of medical breakthroughs or cures. He would often review arriving prisoners, pick out choice - often very young – subjects, and send the others to their immediate deaths. Parents and children resisting separation were shot. After befriending the children with candy and becoming known as “Uncle Mengele” to them, his research including sewing twins together, injecting chemicals into their eyes, sex change operations, surgery without anesthesia, live autopsies, injections with chloroform or lethal germs, incestuous impregnations, organ and limb removal, and abortions.
Hitler himself had said in 1942 that with regard to conquered eastern territories that "it could only suit us if girls and women there had as many abortions as possible," and that he "would personally shoot" any "such idiot" who "tried to put into practice such an order (forbidding abortions).” But then as now, not every doctor was willing to cash in his or her medical ethics like Mengele was. After the Nazis implemented mandatory abortion programs in the Jewish ghettos, "the punishment for giving birth and for delivering the infant was death for the whole family and for the Jewish doctor or midwife," writes Israeli Holocaust researcher Tessa Chelouche, MD. Amazingly, some Jewish doctors in the Ghettos still refused to perform these gruesome abortions - and paid with their own lives. Chelouche adds that in the concentration camps, “pregnant women were usually sent to their immediate deaths upon arrival just because they were pregnant." Hitler himself added that "it will be necessary to open special institutions for abortions and doctors must be able to help out there in case there is any question of this being a breach of their professional ethics." The history of elective abortion as we know it began long before 1973. It began as a very coordinated and organized policy of the Third Reich.
After the war, Dr. Mengele fled occupied Germany for Argentina and avoided trial at the Nazi Doctor’s Trial at Nuremberg after being released by mistake by the US military. As a response to the medical atrocities perpetrated by both the Nazis and also the Imperial Japanese doctors at the infamous Unit 731 in China, and to ensure that this kind of medicine would never return, the world got together and drafted the Nuremberg Protocol, The Helsinki Accords, the UDHR, the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and reaffirmed the Hippocratic Oath in the Declaration of Geneva which clearly stated that "I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of its conception; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity; I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity.” These provisions were designed to continue in perpetuity so as to make the return of ghoulish Nazi medicine impossible forever.
After settling in Buenos Aires, Mengele soon returned to his old ways by performing illegal abortions for a living, and pioneered ways of making the procedure more survivable for women using new technologies and instruments. Interestingly, he also bought a local pharmaceutical company. After killing a woman as well as her child during an abortion, Menegle found himself arrested and in court on trial for double murder. But then as now, a large envelope filled with cash made things happen behind the scenes, and his case was dismissed. He returned to performing abortions and evaded capture living under assumed names in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. He lived a comfortable life until 1979 when he drowned while having a stroke. He remained an unrepentant abortionist and eugenicist until the end, believing he had done the world and the superior races a favor and made a crucial procedure in the eugenics platform more survivable for women.
Unfortunately, Dr. Mengele lived long enough to see Geneva, Helsinki, Nuremberg, and the UDHR ignored, edited, or torn up once more by the pharmaceutical and abortion industries in Europe and North America as a twisted sort of vindication of his medical career. Unlike most universities that have avoided the elective abortion issue and retained some measure of medical ethics, the University of Virginia Health System has once again jumped on the bandwagon and embraced the culture of death as personified in doctors like Mengele – killing the unwanted, lying to patients, and suppressing science if it gets in the way of their politics or profits..
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