Update, May 16: The combined bill was passed by the state legislature and signed into law on Wednesday, May 15 by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.
(JTA) — Alabama state lawmakers drew comparisons between the Holocaust and abortion in bills introduced earlier this month.
Sen. Greg Albritton and Rep. Terri Collins, both Republicans, introduced matching bills in the State Senate and House of Representatives to ban abortion except when necessary “to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.”
Both bills compare abortion to the Holocaust, as well as other genocides and violent acts.
The legislation notes that 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, as well as the number of people killed in Soviet prisons under Joseph Stalin, during China’s “Great Leap Forward” campaign, and in the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides.
“By comparison, more than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined,” it says, invoking the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade.
The Anti-Defamation League called the comparison “totally out of bounds.”
“It belittles the memory of the six million Jews and millions of others who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis and misappropriates a profoundly tragic historical event for political purposes,” ADL spokesman Jake Hyman said in a statement Tuesday.
The ADL also sent a letter to the Alabama House Health Committee earlier this month asking its chair to oppose the bill “because it contains language that is offensive to the Jewish Community and it infringes on Alabamians’ religious freedom.”
Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten .
Alabama Bills Compare Abortion To Holocaust