Kandi Cox, who runs an adoption agency in Arkansas, made the remark in an episode of Panorama, America’s Abortion War, which aired on BBC1 on Monday evening.
The mother-of-seven said she had an abortion herself aged 19 and regretted it.
Cox went on to set up Abba Adoption, a Christian organisation that aims to find homes for children whose mothers considered terminating their pregnancies.
The documentary reveals how 14 years ago, Cox met a pregnant woman who was carrying a foetus believed to have major health problems.
“It was a rape and incest case,” she tells the programme, noting that the woman was under “a lot of pressure” from friends and family members to have an abortion. Ultimately, the mother chose not to terminate her pregnancy and Cox adopted the baby, Anne Marie, who is now 14 years old and suffers from an incurable skin disease.
When asked whether or not she thought there is any instance in which a woman should be able to have an abortion, Cox replied that “it has to be in extreme cases”, adding, “I don’t think we get to make the decision on who lives and who dies.”
Later on in the programme, after having clarified she maintains her pro-life views even in cases of rape and incest, Cox added: “I would absolutely like to see abortion abolished in America. We see this as the holocaust of our nation.”
Viewers were quick to express their horror at Cox’s comment on Twitter.
“How unbelievably uneducated and disgusting do you have to be to compare the holocaust to an abortion?! What a horrific thing to say,” wrote one person.
Another added: “Did she just compare abortion to the holocaust?”
The documentary follows a spate of restrictive abortion laws that have been introduced across the US in states such as Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio.
Under the law, doctors would face 10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for carrying out the procedure. The abortion ban, which has been branded a “death sentence for women”, would also criminalise performing abortions in cases of rape and incest.
You can watch BBC1’s Panorama, America’s Abortion War here.