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May 07, 1993 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-05-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Senators Spar Over
Holocaust Comparison

Lana Pollack

Jack Faxon


Joe Gougeon, R-Bay
City, who publicly linked
abortion with the
Mr. Gougeon, who won
a special election, said
he didn't mean to insult
anyone and added that
the senators "are trying
to twist what I said."
In his first statement
from the floor, Mr.
Gougeon, a "strong right-
to-lifer," compared the
Holocaust, in which 6
million Jews were mur-
dered, with what he calls
the abortion murders of
innocent children.

f you are in the
Lansing vicinity, you
may hear a little
buzzing about a floor
debate over a political
brouhaha between two
Democratic Jewish pro-
choice senators and a
rookie GOP senator who
just took the oath of
Senators Lana Pollack,
D-Ann Arbor, and Jack
Faxon, D-Farmington
Hills, are telling mem-
bers of the media they
are offended by remarks
made last week by the
Senate's newest member,

Guided By USY


hio constituents may
believe newly elect-
ed U.S. Rep. Eric
Fingerhut began his
political career after
graduating from Stan-
ford Law School.
But his interest dates
back to high-school days,
when he won his first
election as president of
Central Region United
Synagogue Youth, span-
ning Michigan, Penn-
sylvania, Kentucky, Ohio
and Indiana.
"USY gave me the
opportunity to develop
leadership skills and to
articulate an agenda and

get it accomplished,"
says Mr. Fingerhut, 33,
who will be the keynote
speaker at the Walk For
Israel festivities at the
Maple-Drake Jewish
Community Campus on
May 16. "Not only was
USY inspiring, but it
gave me a chance to
practice. There, I got all
my skills, and I always
tell people that."
Mr. Fingerhut, who
serves on the board of
trustees of Cleveland
Hebrew Schools and is a
member of the UJA
National Young Leader-
ship Cabinet, will speak

On the Senate floor
was SB 384, the
informed consent bill
imposing a 24-hour wait-
ing period upon women
seeking abortions. The
bill passed and now
moves to the House.
"It was rude, crude
and painful, and I want
the public to know what
he is saying," Ms.
Pollack said. "When
someone equates people
who get abortions with
Hitler's legal murdering
during the Holocaust,
that is when I get offend-
ed. I am still angry. It is
so disrespectful."
Mr. Faxon said it was
hard to believe anybody
put the two issues
together. "I gave an
impassioned speech and
it made no impression on
him at all."
Equating the fetus
"with the tragic taking of
lives in the Holocaust is
an absolute absurdity
that pains me," Mr.
Faxon stated on the
floor. "It is a shocking
thing that some people
want to impose a reli-
gious belief upon some of
us who do not share the
same belief, and then
turn around and equate

on the U.S.-Israel rela-
After graduating from
Northwestern University
and Stanford, Mr.
Fingerhut served as a
staff attorney for
Cleveland's Legal Aid
Society. He later became
manager for Michael
White's campaign for
mayor of Cleveland. Mr.
White won in an upset
victory, and Mr. Finger-
hut was appointed spe-
cial assistant.
In November 1990, Mr.
Fingerhut was elected to
the Ohio Senate, where
he served until his
recent election to
Congress. Since taking
his oath in January, he
has made himself known

all of the same events as
being part of the same
historic process."
Mr. Gougeon's analogy
followed his visit to the
Michigan Holocaust
memorial ceremony, held
at the Capitol Rotunda
in early April. He said he
did not intend to degrade
the Jewish religion at
any time.
"I don't compare this to
the Holocaust because
there is no comparison,"
he said. "I did not even
intend to speak on the
bill at all, but after lis-
tening to her (Ms.
Pollack) speak, I was
extremely offended. She
basically said there are
more of us than you, so
we are right.

"We (right-to-lifers) do
believe we are having
our own holocaust, and
all I ask is that they
(pro-choice legislators)
try to be sensitive with
us," he said. "We feel we
lose 20,000 unborn chil-
dren in Michigan each

year, and to have people
saying there are more of
us than there are of you
makes us think of the
same comments we
heard in World War II."
For the record, Ms.
Pollack's comment,
reprinted in The Journal
of the Senate, states: "It's
another bill in a long
line of controlling mea-
sures drafted by and
imposed by Michigan
Right to Life, a very,
very well-organized spe-
cial interest group in
Michigan that does not
represent the majority
opinions of the people of
Sen. David Honigman,
R-West Bloomfield, the
only Jewish state legisla-
tor who is not pro-choice,
said he wasn't paying
much attention to the
floor debates because
"there was no voting
going on."
"I think abortion is dif-
ferent from the
Holocaust," he said. "But
many people think it is
the same thing. He (Mr.
Gougeon) is a well-mean-
ing guy. It was just an
insensitive remark and I
am sure he didn't mean
any harm."

throughout the U.S.
Capitol. His goal: clean
up Congress.
He is one of 110 new
members of Congress
this year, and he has
earned a reputation as a
leader of congressional
reform. His name has
been plastered on the
pages of most major
newspapers as the rookie
with a mission.
"You can't be shy," he
says. "This is a different
day and age. If you want
to make a difference, you
have to say things, even
if what you have to say
is not too popular and
even if you become sin-
gled out as a trouble-
maker." ❑

Eric Fingerhut

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