Area:    Feminism
  Msg:    #372
 Date:    12-13-94 20:29 (Public) 
 From:    Randy Edwards            
 To:      All                      
[*********PNEWS CONFERENCES************]
From: Tom Burghardt 


** Herr Kohl Selects a Minister for Women and the Family **
By Tom Burghardt,
Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR)
*              *              *              *              *
     A recent news item in the SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, caught my
attention and deserves some comment.  Helmut Kohl, Chancellor of
the German Reich, selected Claudia Nolte, 28, to be the new
cabinet minister for Women and the Family.
     What makes Herr Kohl's selection for this ministerial post
of interest is that Ms. Nolte is an ardent anti-abortion activist
whose strident views place her "far to the right of most members
of her party, including Chancellor Helmut Kohl."1  
     Ms. Nolte, a Catholic ideologue, believes that abortion is
"always wrong," and that women who have had the procedure should
be punished.  Among other things, Minister Nolte believes that
women should be forced to work in a hospital for a year to "make
     Feminists and abortion rights activists in Germany, are
incensed by Kohl's appointment of a political neophyte, selected
solely on ideological grounds as a political pay-back to right
wing Catholics.  "It's a slap in the face for every woman in
Germany," according to Alice Schwarzer, Germany's best-known
feminist writer.  Schwarzer comments, "There are plenty of very
good experienced women in Kohl's party, but he's chosen a 28-year
old who knows nothing about anything, a marionette under his
     Among Nolte's first official acts as cabinet minister, she
decreed that the State would supply a $600 grant to mothers on
the birth of a new baby.4  Feminists in Germany are angry at
Nolte's actions, especially in the eastern sector where sky-high
unemployment rates and the destruction of the extensive social
benefits of the former Stalinist regime, are primarily shouldered
by women.  
     "This mother-and-child policy," according to Alice
Schwarzer, "is part of a long tradition here in Germany, a
tradition which reached its zenith in the years between 1933 and
     The systematic roll-back of women's rights in the "new"
Germany have been predicated on a policy of systematic de-
industrialization in the East, coupled with increased attacks on
the standard of living and political rights of the working class
and immigrants throughout the country.  The social and financial
burden for "reunification" has been borne by those already
reeling from economic "restructuring" and "the miracle of market
     Since 1990, women in the "new" Germany, especially in the
bankrupt, former Stalinist state in the East, have seen their
rights systematically undermined.  The impressive social service
infrastructure of the German Democratic Republic has been
dismantled by the corrupt Treuhand Agency; the West German state
development organization responsible for privatizing East German
social property.  
     The result of on-going privatization has been nothing short
of a disaster for working class women in the East.  While the
Stalinist state was politically repressive, it's system of
socialized property did provide an impressive array of guaranteed
social benefits for its citizens.  All this changed, however,
with "re-unification."  
     In place of free, universal education from kindergarten
through post-graduate university studies; free child care; equal
employment and equal pay opportunities; free birth control and
abortion on demand, women have found themselves forced out of the
work place and back into the home.  The destruction and
absorption of the Stalinist state by the new masters, West German
capital, as in every other former "communist" country in Central
Europe, including the ex-USSR, have resulted in a dramatic
diminution of women's rights. 
     As in other Central European -- and North American --
countries, I might add, economic crisis, unemployment, lack of
access to child care, medical care and educational opportunities
have led to a dramatic rise of violence against women.  Spousal
battering, rape, homelessness, sexual blackmail by employers and
other violent crimes against women, are at an all time high in
Germany.  Unemployment in the eastern zone exceeds 30% of the
work force while on average, East German workers receive 40% less
in wages than their West German counterparts.
     The current abortion law in Germany is a backward step over
guaranteed reproductive rights for women in the former German
Democratic Republic.  This law is up for renewal in 1995 and is a
target for further attacks by the new minister for Women and the
Family -- and the far-right.  Current law allows German women an
unrestricted right to an abortion within the first 12 weeks of
pregnancy.  Women, however, must first receive "counseling"
before they are permitted by the State to obtain abortion
     Last year however, the Supreme Court decreed that counselors
must attempt to "persuade pregnant women to keep their babies and
ordered legislators to draw up a new law to reflect this."6  
     Nolte is pushing for a total abortion ban, "without
exceptions," even in cases of rape or incest.  Ms. Nolte's
strident views, and their growing acceptance as part of
"mainstream" political discourse, are reflected by the resurgence
of the German anti-abortion movement, particularly the group,
Aktion Leben, modelled after North American organizations such as
Joseph Scheidler's Pro-Life Action League, Flip Benham's
Operation Rescue National and Donald Treshman's Rescue America.
     _Anschluss_ with the west has also seen a dramatic
resurgence of the neo-Nazi movement, as well as a re-organization
and upsurge by far-right anti-abortionists.  Anti-immigrant
racism and murderous attacks on immigrants, have been the direct
result of a carefully-crafted campaign by far-right political
parties such as the Republikaners (REP) and the neo-fascist,
Deutsche Volksunion (DVU).  Both parties are staunchly anti-
     The REP, with its 23,000 members, is led by former Nazi SS
officer, Franz Schonhuber.  Founded in 1983, the REP has a right-
wing "populist" platform that calls for "law and order," "family
values," and presents itself as a guardian against the "threat"
to "German cultural homogeneity" posed by immigration and
     The DVU, founded in 1971 by multi-millionaire Gerhard Frey,
has some 24,000 members.  Frey publishes several neo-fascist
weekly newspapers with an estimated circulation of more than
100,000.  The DVU promotes an undiluted form of Holocaust
Revisionism, anti-Semitic and anti-Roma (Gypsy) racism, and calls
for the expulsion of all "aliens" from Germany.8
     Anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, anti-communist, anti-queer and
misogynist pogroms by neo-Nazi skinhead gangs, many with ties to
more "mainstream" political parties, have been aided by the
cowardly betrayal of the "opposition" Social Democratic Party
(SPD) and the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), the
reorganized Stalinist Socialist Workers Party (SED).  Their
capitulation to Chancellor Kohl's Christian Democratic Union
(CDU), over revisions to the right to political asylum has
emboldened the far-right to step-up their attacks in other
contentious social spheres such as abortion and queer rights.9 
     There is a little-known, but significant, international
connection to current attacks on women's rights in Central
Europe.  Germany, as with other Central European countries,
particularly Poland, Croatia, Romania and the ex-USSR, has
received extensive ideological and technical support from
American anti-abortion organizations.  The far-right Catholic
group, Human Life International (HLI), has become a pervasive
     Internationally, HLI claims the organization has established
53 branches in 39 countries.10  Branches exist across Europe;
countries with HLI groups include:  Austria; Belgium; Croatia;
Czech Republic; Germany; Netherlands; Hungary; Ireland; Poland;
Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Sweden; United Kingdom and Ukraine.11 
In May 1994, HLI sponsored an anti-abortion conference in Moscow,
"designed to secure an anti-abortion beachhead in Russia."12
     Aktion Leben, the largest of Germany's anti-abortion groups,
has received extensive coverage by American anti-abortionists'
for their protests at American military bases which offer
abortion services to military personnel and their dependents. 
Aktion Leben has collaborated extensively with the American
group, Armed Forces for Life (AFOL), allied with Judie Brown's
American Life League.13  
     Other American collaborators of Human Life International
include Joseph Scheidler, an HLI Board Member and Director of
Chicago's Pro-life Action League;14 John Cavanaugh-O'Keefe,
former HLI Director of Publications, and current Director of the
Pro-Life Nonviolent Action Project,15 and Notre Dame Law
Professor, Charles Rice, listed as a "contributor" to THE NEW
AMERICAN, the journal of the John Birch Society.16 
     Aktion Leben, as well as other extremist anti-abortion
groups, have unsavory connections both to the German far-right --
and to Human Life International.  Many of the organizations with
the closet ties to HLI, are riddled with neo-Nazis, anti-Semitic
Holocaust revisionists and racists.17  Such collaboration is
hardly surprising or accidental.  HLI founder, the Rev. Paul
Marx, in his book, "Confessions of a Prolife Missionary," has

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 Area:    Feminism
  Msg:    #373
 Date:    12-13-94 20:29 (Public) 
 From:    Randy Edwards            
 To:      All                      

     "Notice how many Jews led the infamous 1971 abortion-
planning meeting in Los Angeles, which I exposed...note the large
number of abortionists (consult the Yellow Pages) and pro-
abortion medical professors who are Jewish."18
     Fr. Marx, echoing the claims of anti-abortion operatives and
Holocaust revisionists world-wide, also states that "a segment of
the Jewish community...not only condones, but has more or less
led the greatest holocaust of all time, the war on unborn
     It is hardly surprising that one of Fr. Marx's closest
allies in Germany, and an HLI "International Advisor" to boot, is
one Dr. Siegfried Ernst, the founder of European Doctors Action
(EDA).  EDA is an openly chauvinist and racist organization.  Fr.
Marx has called Ernst, "the greatest pro-lifer in Europe,"
awarding Herr Ernst HLI's highest international award in 1991.20 
Aktion Leben has collaborated extensively with EDA and Siegfried
Ernst.  Chancellor Kohl's cabinet minister for Women and the
Family, Claudia Nolte, is clearly situated along this ideological
far-right Catholic continuum.
     Resuscitating the _Kinde_, _Kurche_, _Kirche_ (children,
kitchen, church) philosophy of Hitler's Nazi Third Reich, Dr.
Ernst and his supporters, believe that there should be an
ideological and moral elite in Germany, and that Germany's new
role should be as the unquestioned leader of Europe.  Such views
are seconded by Marx and HLI.  
     Fr. Marx has emphasized that one of the goals of the Church
in the post-Cold War world is to, "Re-educate Western Europe to
help fulfill Pope John Paul II's dream of a re-Christianized,
united Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals."21  The revanchist
sentiments of Fr. Marx have found fertile ground in Herr Kohl's
"new" German Reich.
     Demands for border revisions in Germany have moved from the
fringe to the political center.  State officials in Kohl's
government routinely refer to Eastern Germany as "Middle
Germany."  The implication is that the "real" East can be found
in the former territories which are now part of Poland, the Czech
Republic and Russia.  A prominent historian and adviser to
Chancellor Kohl, Professor Michael Sturmer, suggested that Russia
give up the Kaliningrad area at the Baltic Sea -- the former
German Konigsberg.22
     Need it be pointed out that a resurgent imperialism and
predatory nationalism "in search of breathing room," has
throughout the 20th century, laid the basis for monstrous wars of
conquest and genocidal mass slaughter?  Racism, misogyny, and
nationalistic rhetoric in the service of capitalist expansionary
policies, always underlie the discourse of "family values" and
movements for "cultural purification."
     In 1986 Ernst, writing in defense of the racist apartheid
regime in South Africa, said, "Why is there this attitude of
degenerated masochism which makes us destroy systematically our
own breed and race and makes us passively watch how our own
mental, moral, and biological inheritance is getting wasted and
     A German court ruled in 1992 that a woman sued for
defamation by Ernst, was within her rights to call him a "neo-
fascist."  The presiding judge wrote, "the things he [Ernst] says
are so racially discriminating that any impartial observer can
see parallels to the ideology of the Third Reich."24
     Even more extreme than Herr Ernst, is Wolfgang Borowsky, the
co-founder of EDA, and ally of Fr. Marx's HLI.  Borowsky, a
contemporary leader of the German neo-Nazi movement, frequently
quotes from the anti-Semitic forgery, "The Protocols of the
Elders of Zion" in his speeches, and has written that "Communism
is mainly a creation of the Jews."25
     Borowsky was also a member of the "Freedom for Rudolph Hess
Committee," which fought for the release of the Nazi war criminal
incarcerated in Spandau prison.  Hess's imprisonment until his
suicide, served as a lightning-rod for Germany's contemporary
neo-Nazi movement.26
     Minister Nolte is concerned that Germany's falling birth
rate, especially in the eastern sector, devastated by _anchuluss_
with the capitalist west, can only be halted by a total ban on
all abortions.  Her views, though only slightly more subtle than
those of the far-right, go hand in hand with the world-wide roll-
back of women's rights and are based on similar racist
ideologies, "cultural purification" campaigns and anti-immigrant
     Aktion Leben, European Doctors Alliance and Human Life
International are more open and forth-coming in their view of
Germany's problems.  Marx and Ernst are concerned that German
couples have too few children and that the birthrate for
"foreigners" is too high.  
     Ernst has told Marx that Germany is "down the drain" and
proposed in 1988, two years prior to re-unification that the two
set up a university in Paraguay, (a haven for escaped Nazi war
criminals who fled Europe with direct aid supplied by the
Vatican's Institute of St. Jerome)27 to "train Christians who
will fight back" in order to "save the best of the German
Christian culture."28
     It remains to be seen if Minister Nolte will be able to
impose her strident views on German women.  She certainly has
many powerful friends in high places, both in Germany and abroad;
such allies have been described by progressive novelist, Gunther
Grass, as "skinheads with ties."  As citizens in the eastern zone
and workers in the west begin to fight back against the predatory
effects of capitalist re-unification, women's groups, trade
unions, the Left and the militantly anti-fascist Autonomist
movement will undoubtedly take to the streets to defend women's
1. Examiner news services, "Right-wing crusader," SAN FRANCISCO
EXAMINER, Sunday, December 4, 1994, p. A-12
2. ibid.
3. ibid.
4. ibid.
5. ibid.
6. ibid.
7. Michael Hahn, "Nazi Echo:  Germany for the Germans," COVERT
ACTION QUARTERLY, Washington, D.C., Summer 1993, Number 45, p. 14
8. ibid.
9. ibid.
10. Steven Askin, "A New Rite:  Conservative Catholic
Organizations And Their Allies," 1994, Washington, D.C.,
Catholics for a Free Choice, p. 18
11. ibid.
12. na, "Antiabortion Activists Launch Drive in Russia at Moscow
Conference," THE WASHINGTON POST, May 19, 1994, p. A38; cited in,
Karen Branan and Frederick Clarkson, "Extremism In Sheep's
Clothing:  A Special Report On Human Life International," FRONT
LINES RESEARCH, New York, Public Policy Institute, Planned
Parenthood Federation of America, June 1994, Volume 1, Number 1,
p. 6
13. na, "Armed Forces for Life needs your help," CELEBRATE LIFE,
American Life League, Stafford, VA, September-October 1994, pp.
14. Human Life International, Gaithersburg, MD, nd, "Special
Report No. 29," Officers and Senior Staff, p. 1
15. ibid.
16. Branan & Clarkson, op. cit., pp. 6-7     
17. ibid. p. 1
18. Paul Marx, "Confessions of a Pro-Life Missionary," HLI, 1988,
pp. 268-271; Branan & Clarkson, op. cit., p. 4
19. ibid.
20. ibid.
21. Askin, op. cit., p. 20
22. Hahn, op. cit., p. 66
23. Branan & Clarkson, op. cit., p. 4
24. ibid.
25. ibid.
26. ibid.
27. Christopher Simpson, "BLOWBACK:  The First Full Account Of
America's Recruitment Of Nazis, And Its Disastrous Effect On Our
Domestic And Foreign Policy," New York, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
1988, pp. 176-198; a significant passage from one section of
Simpson's book describes the role of the Catholic Church's
organization of "ratlines" to aid Nazi war criminals escape to
first to Spain, Portugal and South America, and later, to Canada
and the United States:  "...these refugee routes became the most
important pipelines out of Europe for Nazis and collaborators
fleeing war crimes charges.  Factions within the church that had
long been sympathetic to the Nazis' extreme anti-Communist stand
organized large-scale programs to facilitate the escape of tens
of thousands of Nazis and collaborators from Germany, Austria,
Croatia, Slovakia, the Ukraine, and a number of other Eastern
European states.  The pivotal role of the church in the escape of
Nazis has been emphasized by Luftwaffe Colonel Hans Ulrich Rudel,
the highly decorated German air ace who became an international
spokesman for the neo-Nazi movement after the war. 'One may
otherwise view Catholicism as one wishes.  But what the Church,
especially certain towering personalities within the Church,
undertook in those years [immediately after the war] to save the
best of our nation, often from certain death, must never be
forgotten!'  Colonel Rudel exclaimed in a speech at Kufstein in
1970.  'In Rome itself, the transit point of the escape routes, a
vast amount was done.  With its own immense resources, the Church
helped many of us go overseas.  In this manner, in quiet and
secrecy, the demented victors' mad craving for revenge and
retribution could be effectively counteracted.'"
28. Branan & Clarkson, op. cit. pp. 6-7
*              *              *              *              *
For more information how YOU can defend women's reproductive
rights, contact THE FIGHT BACK NETWORK:
Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR)
750 La Playa # 730
San Francisco, California 94121
Office: (415) 252-0750
Fax:    (415) 431-6523
E-mail: tburghardt@igc.apc.org
Refuse & Resist!
Reproductive Rights Counteroffensive
P.O. BOX 15003
Atlanta, GA  30333
(612) 649-4579
E-mail:  griffith@uga.cc.uga.edu

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