Marjorie Taylor Greene Invokes Nazi-Era Medical Code in Opposing Biden Vaccine Mandate

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia pushed back on a looming vaccine mandate, claiming that it violated a World War II-era medical code that addressed medical crimes against humanity.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order requiring federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on Thursday. The goal is to use employment as an incentive for people to get vaccinated in an effort to curb the pandemic, but the requirement has faced backlash for being seen as an encroachment on people's ability to make their own medical decisions.

Ahead of Biden signing the executive order, Greene posted on Twitter, "We don't take orders from Fascist in my office," adding, "Remember the Nuremberg Code Joe?"

The Nuremberg Code established 10 standards for physicians carrying out experiments on human subjects. Accepted worldwide, it includes the need for voluntary informed consent, designed to help the good of society and avoid unnecessary suffering.

It was born out of the Nuremberg Trials, which held Nazis responsible for their war crimes. That included doctors who carried out medical experiments on prisoners who were forced to live in concentration camps. Oftentimes, the medical experiments caused horrible suffering and unnecessary death.

Greene told Newsweek she's had many people, including her Jewish supporters, share their concerns about "fascist-style mandates" Biden and Democrats are "forcing on the American people" and how it relates to the Nuremberg code.

"Mandates aren't necessary when we have such effective treatment options. The federal government should do everything in its power to make these treatments readily available to the general public," Greene said. "I support freedom and people's right to make medical decisions over their own bodies."

marjorie taylor greene nazi medical code vaccine
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene pushed back on vaccine mandates, claiming they violate the Nuremberg Code. Greene holds a press conference to call for the dismissal of Dr. Anthony Fauci on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on June 15. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Greene isn't the only one to point to the Nuremberg Code in opposition to vaccine mandates, but many have rejected it as a valid argument. For starters, it's not a law in the United States and experts discredit the argument on the basis that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is not the same as participating in a medical experiment.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recently granted full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for use in people who are at least 16 years old. The first COVID-19 vaccine to be granted the distinction, health officials warned that it would open the country up to more mandates because companies would be less concerned about the potential for lawsuits.

While Greene argued that people have a "right to choose to participate or not" in vaccinations, legal experts disagree. Although the waters are murky on a president's ability to enact a nationwide mandate, experts told Newsweek states have the power to implement the requirement and businesses in at-will employment states are within their rights as well.

In April, Greene introduced the We Will Not Comply Act, which would bar the enforcement of vaccine requirements. It garnered support from 11 Republicans, but hasn't moved through the House since its introduction and is unlikely to pass if it's brought to the floor for a vote given the Democratic-majority in Congress.

Greene's actively pushed messaging about people getting COVID-19 after being vaccinated, in an attempt to highlight the ineffectiveness of the public health measure. However, no vaccine is 100 percent effective, making breakthrough cases an expected part of the process, and vaccines have been shown to significantly reduce a person's chances of being hospitalized and dying of COVID-19.

Even with the Delta variant's contagious nature, hospitals continue to attribute spikes in admissions to unvaccinated individuals. The surge in patients has caused hospitals to reach capacity, forcing them to turn people away or treat them in makeshift areas, raising concerns about health care providers' ability to care for patients.

Only about 64 percent of American adults are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the six-point plan Biden unveils on Thursday is expected to target ways to increase vaccinations.

"We know that increasing vaccinations will stop the spread of the pandemic, will get the pandemic under control, will return people to normal life. That's what our objective is," press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.

Update - 9/9/21 12:07 pm - This article has been updated to include comments from Greene.