“populations that we don’t want to have too many of”

Unbelievable. Read this horrible (and coldly murderous) quote from Justice Ginsburg in the NYT:

Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

5 thoughts on ““populations that we don’t want to have too many of””

  1. It’s a tangled paragraph, but I don’t think she’s endorsing the sentiment. I think her statement can be rendered something like this:

    “At the time of Roe, some of us were concerned that support for Medicaid funding for abortions came from racist/classist beliefs. We opposed Medicaid funding at that time because we thought it would be coercive of racial minorities and the poor.

    “But when McRae came out, which permitted the national government to stop Medicaid funding for abortions, I realized that my original belief — that Medicaid funding for abortions was coercive, racist, and classist — was wrong.

    “I.e., it was actually a policy that helped the poor and minority groups rather than one that was coerceive, racist, and classist.”

    This is me again: I want to underscore that I’m endorsing none of Ginsberg’s argument, it’s just that I’m pretty sure she’s NOT saying that she believes, or ever believed, that government-funded abortions are/were a good thing because it would decrease the number of “undesireable” people.

  2. Joel, I’ve read this quote and some of the surrounding parts of the interview over and over and I also think that she was describing the eugenicist attitude without agreeing with it.

    My mom sent me this column with Jonah Goldberg’s response to it, which also discusses the eugenicist roots of Sanger:

    Goldberg’s column raised a good question: why wasn’t there follow-up from the interviewer? Maybe the tone of her voice was obvious to the reporter, but somebody at the New York Times should have caught this. There’s another part where she uses sarcasm (“The poor little woman” doesn’t translate particularly well in print either).

    But even this interpretation doesn’t make her look a lot better: she obviously places choice for the woman as the primary value, so far above the life of the child that the child doesn’t enter the discussion in the time that they talk about abortion. And one can argue that whether or not someone supports the eugenics agenda, abortion on demand still accomplishes some of the goals of the agenda.

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