Mock Trial Of Abortion Supporters Begins
Oct. 05, 1985
HAZLETON, Pa. (AP) _ Spurned by residents of tiny Nuremberg, members of the Chicago-based Pro- Life Action League opened their mock ''Nuremberg tribunal'' against abortion at a hotel here Friday.
''Those who support, condone and provide abortion are on trial today,'' Joseph M. Scheidler, director of the anti-abortion group, said before the session began. ''You will see gruesome evidence of their lethal trade.''
The opening of the two-day session featured three robed judges, a witness dock and a battery of ''defendants'' - cardboard placards propped on seats and printed with the names of groups labeled as abortion supporters.
Scheidler had hoped to stage the trial in nearby Nuremberg, a hamlet of 1,500 people in eastern Pennsylvania, after discovering it was the only American namesake of the German city where Nazi war criminals were tried at the end of World War II.
However, Nurembergers refused to give Scheidler the space for the trial, claiming it would be a disruptive influence in their town. Scheidler obtained space in a motel banquet room 15 minutes away.
The ''defendants'' in the trial against what Scheidler called ''the abortion holocaust'' included doctors, feminists and politicians who view abortion as a woman's right. Among them was Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion.
Scheidler said the group would go to Nuremberg at the end of Saturday's proceedings to announce the ''verdict.''
''It will be guilty,'' he said. ''The evidence is overwhelming. But we're not really that concerned about the verdict, we're interested in presenting the evidence.''
All three judges are members of right-to-life groups. One is an attorney and another, Earl Appleby, is an aide to U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C.
''If you want to call it a kangaroo court, that's fine with me,'' Scheidler said. ''It doesn't concern me. My job is to save lives.''
Most of the testimony Friday came from William C. Brennan, professor of social science at St. Louis University. Brennan, the author of ''The Abortion Holocaust: Today's Final Solution,'' cited what he saw as similarities between ethics applied by the Nazi regime and abortion proponents.
''Ninety-five percent of fetuses are destroyed not because of rape or incest, but because the child is unwanted. That's how the Nazis viewed the Jews,'' he said. ''Sixty million unborn children are killed a year in two- thirds of the world's countries. If this does not qualify as a holocaust, I don't know what does.''
Across from the witness stand hung a large banner depicting an enlarged photograph of a fetus mutilated by an abortion, framed by the U.S. and Nazi flags.
Dr. Pat Walker of Tulane University's medical school said physicians are being taught in medical schools to violate their Hippocratic oath to ''do no harm'' by performing abortions.
''Physicians are in it up to their necks,'' he said, ''I accuse them of mass murder.''
Scheidler, in an effort to preserve the symbolism of Nuremberg, traveled to the town Friday morning with some 100 members of his group to pray at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. He then spoke outside the church.
A group of Hazleton residents called Citizens for Choice, who organized in response to Scheidler's trial, held a press conference Thursday.
Rabbi Bernard Perelmuder of Israel Congregation of Hazleton called the trial ''sophistry at its worst. It is an ugly tactic. It is unfair.''
Perelmuder said equating abortion to the Jewish Holocaust is an attempt to ''transfer our natural revulsion against what Hitler did to millions of already born, to the issue of choice.''