Failing to Learn the Lessons of History

Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards

Listening to Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards and her defenders try to justify the gruesome practice of baby organ harvesting during abortions, we are again reminded that the primary lesson of history is that we do not learn the lessons of history.

In Justice at Nuremburg, Robert Conot relates the chilling testimony of Nazi neuroscientist Julius Hallervorden, who was ultimately found guilty of war crimes. During the trial, Hallervorden stated what he once told the death camp soldiers as they were preparing to kill a large number of Jewish prisoners:

I heard that they were going to do that and so I went up to them and said: `Look here now boys, if you are going to kill all these people, at least take the brains out so that the material may be utilized.’  They asked me, `How many can you examine?’  And so I told them an unlimited number — the more the better! [i]

Hallervorden was every bit as corrupt, though not as infamous, as his Nazi colleague and fellow war criminal, Joseph Mengele, who fled Germany after the fall of the Third Reich to set up shop in Argentina as an abortionist.

United States Senator Brock Adams [D‑WA], echoed Hallervorden in 1992 when he said that “We can either use the [fetal] tissue in what we know to be lifesaving research, or we can bury it.  That is the choice.”[ii]

And now we have videos from the Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood abortionists and medical officials casually negotiating for compensation for adjusting abortion techniques to harvest and deliver baby hearts and livers. In response to public outrage, Ms. Richards tells us, with no small hint of desperation in her voice, that such tissue “donation” is “important and compassionate, and it should be respected and not attacked.”

When will we ever learn?


[i] Robert E. Conot.  Justice at Nuremburg.  Basic Books, 1984, page 208.

[ii] James J. Kilpatrick.  “Fetal Tissue Issue Will Haunt Bush.”  The Oregonian, April 26, 1992, page B4.


About Brian Clowes, PhD

Dr. Brian Clowes has been HLI’s director of research since 1995 and is one of the most accomplished and respected intellectuals in the international pro-life movement. Best known as author of the most exhaustive pro-life informational resource volume The Facts of Life, and for his Pro-Life Basic Training Course, Brian is the author of nine books and over 500 scholarly and popular articles, and has traveled to 70 countries on six continents as a pro-life speaker, educator and trainer.

1 Comment

  1. prolifemama on July 31, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    What I don’t understand is how Richards is able to ape a facade of ‘compassion’…

    On second thought, knowing all we know about her, she doesn’t actually do it all that well.

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