Abortion in Nazi Germany

Discussions on the role played by and situation of women in the Third Reich not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Vikki.
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Abortion in Nazi Germany

Post by ZackdeBlanc » 16 Apr 2003 17:12

Was there any legislation regarding abortion in Nazi Germany? I know that the leaders of Nazi Germany valued large families as they wanted to have as many "pure" Germans as possible, so did they have laws banning abortions?

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Re: Abortion in Nazi Germany

Post by Krasnaya Zvezda » 16 Apr 2003 19:57

ZackdeBlanc wrote:Was there any legislation regarding abortion in Nazi Germany? I know that the leaders of Nazi Germany valued large families as they wanted to have as many "pure" Germans as possible, so did they have laws banning abortions?

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The state encouraged matrimony through marriage loans, dispensed family income supplements for each new child, publicly honored "child-rich" families, bestowed the Cross of Honor of the German Mother on women bearing four or more babies, and increased punishments for

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Post by Krasnaya Zvezda » 16 Apr 2003 19:59

The last word from the bold line in continuation had to be abortion.

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Post by Warren Thompson » 16 Apr 2003 23:13

As I recall, the Third Reich banned abortions for 'Aryan' women. The Mutterkreuz (Mother's Cross) for child-bearing was also known as 'The Order of the Rabbit,' at least among those remaining Germans who dared express a sense of humor.

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Post by Helly Angel » 16 Apr 2003 23:15

In Nazi Germany the abortion was strictly forbidden, because the abortion is an affront and a crime against the natural life laws.

It was punished with long terms of prison, I´m not sure but I think in the legislation the abortion was punish with execution, I´m not sure...)


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Post by Dan » 17 Apr 2003 01:18

It was frowned upon just like almost everywhere else in the Western world and for the same reasons.

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Post by Witch-King of Angmar » 17 Apr 2003 13:12

Warren Thompson wrote:As I recall, the Third Reich banned abortions for 'Aryan' women.
The abortions had been already banned far before 1933 - the only country in Europe before WWII where abortion was legal(albeit subject to a hair-rising bureaucratic network) was the USSR(from 1920). Japan followed(1948), then the Soviet-occupied countries in Eastern Europe in the 1950s. During the 1930s, in some countries contraception was illegal as well(in France, no contraception was allowed and the abortions were harsher punished than in the Third Reich).

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Abortion and Faiseuses d'anges

Post by alsaco » 17 Apr 2003 16:59

A distinction must be made between persons aboted, and persons aborting.

In general, persons aborting would encounter a very strong disapproval by the society, and had to hide their decision. It was impossible to abort officially in hospitals, and very difficult to find persons to practise abortion.

But judicial poursuit of aborted persons were limited, if only because proofs were difficult to produce

Repression was exercised on those who practised abortion. Doctors would loose the right to practise, even if they alleged medical reasons for abortion, therapeutic abortion needed authorisation and was strictly controlled, and non medical intervenants did quite allways pass on trial and where condemned to heavy penalties, often death penalty

It must be added that clandestine abortion often had a bad issue, and that then the aborted women, if transported in hospitals had a very bad time there, from doctors but mainly from the religious sisters in charge of nursing.

The situation was so difficult in some countries that clandestine abortion became a local industry in some countries like Switzerland where laws on therapeutic abortion couls open the possibility of normally practised and nursed abortion.

Only after the war, around 1970, did things change, and laws were adapted to permit abortion under condition, with the hope that control of births and authorisation of the pill would evolve in such a way that demand for abortion would disappear.

In fact Nazi doctrine was not established on this, and Germany did maintain generally the general practise of refusing abortion and of save the child first which resulted from moral and religious tradition.
With, nevertheless, a less negative position toward non married mothers than in catholic countries.

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Post by FBerloff » 18 Apr 2003 04:13

According to my books and to several documentaries :

The mentally challenged, were segregated into "medical" institutions, and castrated or sterilized if females, to die a bit later strangely of a "heart attack".
I don't know about physical defects.
But mostly mental cases ended that way.

I don't think there were the actual means to say or not if there was a congenital defect before the baby was born (no TAC, no Ultrasonic scanner, and the X-rays are not to be used on pregnated women).

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Post by FBerloff » 18 Apr 2003 05:03

http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Holoca ... anasi.html
Involuntary Euthanasia in Germany
(October 1939)


Germany had been the site of an increasing number of measures taken in the name of "racial purity" since the Nazis assumed power in 1933, including forced sterilization of those with physical and/or mental handicaps, and the murder of infants with similar handicaps (in both cases, the primary targets were not Jews, but so­called "Aryans," or non­Jewish Germans). Now in 1939, under the cover of war, the program was to be expanded to include murdering handicapped adults. Since Hitler would issue no law legalizing such forced "euthanasia," and since physicians would hesitate or refuse to take part in the killing unless they had written protection from later prosecution, Hitler was persuaded to sign this document on his personal stationery (German­language version also available) instructing his assistants Philipp Bouhler and Dr. Karl Brandt to initiate the program. The document was signed in October 1939, but backdated to 1 September, the date of the beginning of World War II. For further information, see Henry Friedlander, The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1995), p. 67.


Berlin, 1 September 1939

Reichsleiter Bouhler and

Dr. med. Brandt

are instructed to broaden the powers of physicians designated by name, who will decide whether those who have-as far as can be humanly determined-incurable illnesses can, after the most careful evaluation, be granted a mercy death.

/signed/ Adolf Hitler

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Post by FBerloff » 18 Apr 2003 05:18

http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/t ... anasia.htm
Nazi Euthanasia

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. Midwives and doctors were required to register children up to age three who showed symptoms of mental retardation, physical deformity, or other symptoms included on a questionnaire from the Reich Health Ministry.

A decision on whether to allow the child to live was then made by three medical experts solely on the basis of the questionnaire, without any examination and without reading any medical records.

Each expert placed a + mark in red pencil or - mark in blue pencil under the term "treatment" on a special form. A red plus mark meant a decision to kill the child. A blue minus sign meant meant a decision against killing. Three plus symbols resulted in a euthanasia warrant being issued and the transfer of the child to a 'Children's Specialty Department' for death by injection or gradual starvation.

The decision had to be unanimous. In cases where the decision was not unanimous the child was kept under observation and another attempt would be made to get a unanimous decision.

The Nazi euthanasia program quickly expanded to include older disabled children and adults. Hitler's decree of October, 1939, typed on his personal stationery and back dated to Sept. 1, enlarged "the authority of certain physicians to be designated by name in such manner that persons who, according to human judgment, are incurable can, upon a most careful diagnosis of their condition of sickness, be accorded a mercy death."

Questionnaires were then distributed to mental institutions, hospitals and other institutions caring for the chronically ill.

Patients had to be reported if they suffered from schizophrenia, epilepsy, senile disorders, therapy resistant paralysis and syphilitic diseases, retardation, encephalitis, Huntington's chorea and other neurological conditions, also those who had been continuously in institutions for at least 5 years, or were criminally insane, or did not posses German citizenship or were not of German or related blood, including Jews, Negroes, and Gypsies.

A total of six killing centers were established including the well known psychiatric clinic at Hadamar. The euthanasia program was eventually headed by an SS man named Christian Wirth, a notorious brute with the nickname 'the savage Christian.'

At Brandenburg, a former prison was converted into a killing center where the first Nazi experimental gassings took place. The gas chambers were disguised as shower rooms, but were actually hermetically sealed chambers connected by pipes to cylinders of carbon monoxide. Patients were generally drugged before being led naked into the gas chamber. Each killing center included a crematorium where the bodies were taken for disposal. Families were then falsely told the cause of death was medical such as heart failure or pneumonia.

But the huge increase in the death rate for the disabled combined with the very obvious plumes of odorous smoke over the killing centers aroused suspicion and fear. At Hadamar, for example, local children even taunted arriving busloads of patients by saying "here comes some more to be gassed."

On August 3, 1941, a Catholic Bishop, Clemens von Galen, delivered a sermon in Münster Cathedral attacking the Nazi euthanasia program calling it "plain murder." The sermon sent a shockwave through the Nazi leadership by publicly condemning the program and urged German Catholics to "withdraw ourselves and our faithful from their (Nazi) influence so that we may not be contaminated by their thinking and their ungodly behavior."

As a result, on August 23, Hitler suspended Aktion T4, which had accounted for nearly a hundred thousand deaths by this time.

The Nazis retaliated against the Bishop by beheading three parish priests who had distributed his sermon, but left the Bishop unharmed to avoid making him into a martyr.

However, the Nazi euthanasia program quietly continued, but without the widespread gassings. Drugs and starvation were used instead and doctors were encouraged to decide in favor of death whenever euthanasia was being considered.

The use of gas chambers at the euthanasia killing centers ultimately served as training centers for the SS. They used the technical knowledge and experience gained during the euthanasia program to construct huge killing centers at Auschwitz, Treblinka and other concentration camps in an attempt to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe. SS personnel from the euthanasia killing centers, notably Wirth, Franz Reichleitner and Franz Stangl later commanded extermination camps.

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Re: Abortion in Nazi Germany

Post by Cantankerous » 27 Jan 2021 02:31

Were there any Protestants in Nazi Germany who fiercely opposed abortions?

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Re: Abortion in Nazi Germany

Post by Elijah-Portland@hotmail.com » 30 Mar 2021 11:14

I know that the date of this topic is quiet old but still I find this topic super interesting. Actually, I did not know the answer of this question when I've first read this question. It's true that the goal of the Nazi governement was to "purge'" its population and to "invest" in new generations. At the same time, eugenics remained the basis of the Nazi regime (a policy that aimed to kill disabled children at birth in particular)...So it's totally nonsense to "ban abortion" when you put in place this kind of practices...

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