Pa. House Speaker Mike Turzai compares pro-abortion rights advocates to Nazis | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pa. House Speaker Mike Turzai compares pro-abortion rights advocates to Nazis

Pa. House Speaker Mike Turzai compares pro-abortion rights advocates to Nazis
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Mike Turzai
On March 28, during a keynote address at an anti-abortion event in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Marshall) compared pro-abortion rights advocates to the “Nazi regime.”

“What is allowable as a human being? Oh, please tell us, far left. Since you seem to have a judgment on this,” said Turzai, in reference to abortion advocates during the address. “Since you seem to hold any of us who regard the unborn child with dignity and protection, like we are beneath them. ‘What do you know? Move into the 21st century.’ Isn’t that what they are telling us? With their sense of eugenics, like the Nazi regime, right? Isn’t that really where it is?”
Turzai was speaking at an award dinner for Real Alternatives, a statewide nonprofit that typically counsels pregnant women against having abortions. At the event, Turzai advocated for more funding for Real Alternatives and other Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Turzai has advocated for more abortion restrictions in Pennsylvania, including recently introducing a bill that would ban abortions on fetuses diagnosed with Down Syndrome. The full video was posted on the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference website.

But his comments, which were first reported by progressive blogger Sean Kitchen, aren’t sitting well with some. State Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Squirrel Hill) condemned Turzai’s comparison.

“At a time when we are seeing a resurgence in actual Nazi ideology rooted in the same white supremacy that led to the extermination of six million Jews, I feel strongly that we should keep casual mentions of the ‘Nazi regime’ out of our good-faith policy debates,” said Frankel in a statement.

When informed about the video, Turzai spokesperson Christine Goldbeck requested that Pittsburgh City Paper "watch the whole video" and claimed the Nazi comment was taken out of context.

"The fact of the matter is that the initial tweet on the matter blew Mr. Speaker’s remarks completely out of context," said Goldbeck in a statement.

Following the Nazi comparison, Turzai went on to say that “every single human being is beautiful” and “everyone wants to feel the love of their family and friends and another human being.”

Frankel said that he agrees with Turzai that every person deserves dignity and respect, but called on him to grant that same dignity to low-income Pennsylvanians who rely on the state’s general assistance funding and to those in the LGBTQ community. For several years, Turzai has placed the PA Fairness Act, which would provide statewide civil rights protections to LGBTQ people, in a committee chaired by state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry) who is vocally opposed to LGBTQ rights.

This year, that committee is chaired by Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming), who is a bit more open to an LGBTQ rights discussion. However, Frankel is calling on Turzai to support the Fairness Act so that LGBTQ Pennsylvanians receive the non-discrimination protections they currently lack. In most of Pennsylvania and all of Western Pennsylvania except Allegheny and Erie counties, LGBTQ people can be legally fired, evicted, or denied public accommodation based on their identity.

“That’s why we need the Fairness Act, so that all humans can feel protected by their state government,” said Frankel. “That’s why it’s incomprehensible that the majority party just voted to eliminate general assistance funding, which provided a small bit of help for the neediest of our neighbors.”

The Pittsburgh chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America is a critic of CPCs and refers to them as “fake clinics” since they delay access to the health care, like abortions, that patients are looking for.

The chapter is opposed to CPCs receiving public funds and claims CPCs have given patients incomplete or misleading information regarding pregnancies.

Sophie Wodzak, co-chair of DSA’s Socialist Feminist Committee, said Turzai’s comments were “reprehensible” and an example of how CPCs operate.

“Behind closed doors, these organizations look just like this video — extremist white men ranting about how pro-choice people are Nazis,” said Wodzak.

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