Reality TV personality Jessa Duggar took to Instagram last week to share her reflections upon exiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.: It reminded her of abortion.
While the Duggars enjoy a reputation as a kooky extra-large family on their TLC show 19 Kids and Counting, the reality is that they’re part of the extreme Christian patriarchy movement, which requires that women not use birth control and submit to the authority of their husbands. Part of that ideology centers on a Quiverfull lifestyle, which instructs women to have as many children as possible to serve as arrows in their quiver, so they may be part of a fight for Christian domination. In the Quiverfull universe, and in the Duggar household, feminism is the enemy of the family. Duggar mom Michelle herself believes that “being financially independent” is how a wife “destroy[s] her husband’s manliness,” because “whoever controls the money controls the leadership” (and that should be the husband). Wives also destroy their husband’s manliness “by resisting his physical affection” — in other words, by saying no to sex if you don’t want to have sex at that particular moment. Dressing immodestly — not being covered from your neck to your knees — is a form of “defrauding,” or “stirring up desires that cannot be righteously fulfilled.”
Jessa’s Instagram isn’t the first time a Duggar has compared abortion to the Holocaust: Michelle did the same thing last year.
The Holocaust killed 6 million Jews — two-thirds of all the Jews in Europe at the time — and another 5 million victims, including gay people, European Roma (gypsies), communists, and people with disabilities. Those millions of people were herded into camps, where they were ritually exterminated if they weren’t worked to death; some were used as subjects in gruesome human experiments before being murdered.
Abortion in the United States is a legal medical procedure that 1 in 3 women will have before she turns 45. Nine in 10 abortions happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, well before fetal viability. Safe abortion access has helped to drive down maternal mortality, and illegal, unsafe abortion remains a leading killer of pregnant women. Legal abortion saves women’s lives.
Regardless of how one feels about the morality of abortion though, comparing it to one of the greatest horrors in modern history is insensitive and clueless, to say the least. And the comparison wasn’t a casual, thoughtless one — Jessa had just walked out of the Holocaust museum, and instead of absorbing the scale of that atrocity, decided to make a point about abortion rights. That’s not just tone-deaf; it’s deranged. And it does bring to light just how extreme — and out of touch — the Duggar family values actually are. If only we didn’t reward them with a quirky reality show that whitewashes their radical views.
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