Comparing Abortion to the Holocaust

Today’s guest post was written by Rónán Ó Fathaigh, one of our colleagues at the Human Rights Centre. More information on Rónán can be found on the website of the Center for Journalism Studies of Ghent University, here.


Amid all the discussion regarding the A., B. and C. v. Ireland judgment, it is interesting to note that last week, in one of its first freedom of expression judgments of 2011, the European Court of Human Rights was called upon to consider an interesting issue surrounding abortion, namely the conviction for defamation of an anti-abortion activist for comparing abortion to the Holocaust.

The applicants in Hoffer v. Germany were anti-abortion activists who had handed out pamphlets outside a medical clinic in Nuremburg. The pamphlets urged support for ending abortion in Germany; however, the pamphlets also named a doctor at the clinic, Dr. F., describing him as a “Killing specialist for unborn children”. Moreover, the back page of the pamphlet included the following statements:

Stop the murder of children in their mother’s womb on the premises of the Northern medical centre.

Then: Holocaust; Today: Babycaust

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