WASHINGTON, D.C. October 22, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Three years after she appeared to endorse the eugenic aspects of abortion, a new report claims Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has backpedalled from the remarks that created an uproar in 2009.
“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,” Ginsburg told Emily Bazelon of the New York Times in 2009.
In a new follow-up piece, Bazelon writes that Justice Ginsburg “made it clear today that the issue she had in mind when we spoke in 2009 was concern about population growth among all classes (and races).” Ginsburg said in the interview for Slate conducted last Thursday, that her remarks had been “vastly misinterpreted.”
However, none of the quotations Bazelon reproduces in her new article address Ginsburg’s controversial reference to “growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”
In the article the justice says, as she did in 2009, that she was surprised by the 1980 Harris v. McRae decision, which “said it was OK to deny Medicaid funding for even therapeutic abortions.”
“At the time, there was a concern about too many people inhabiting our planet. There was an organization called Zero Population Growth. In the press, there were articles about the danger of crowding our planet. So there was at the time of Roe v. Wade considerable concern about overpopulation,” she said.
Although the justice, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton, apparently did not clarify which “populations” the nation sought to suppress, Bazelon seemed convinced Ginsburg was not motivated by the chauvinism of the early Progressive movement.
“To imagine that Justice Ginsburg would endorse eugenics as a motivation for supporting legal abortion, you have to be out to get her,” she wrote. “In the end, if [Ginsburg’s] concern has a legacy, it’s in the promotion of contraception.”
However, critics of the remarks observed that they fell in line with a long eugenic tradition of endorsing birth control and abortions as methods of keeping “unwanted” or “inferior” populations in check. The foremost promoter of contraception in U.S. history, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, called for the sterilization of “genetically inferior races” and believed that “all our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working class.”
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Ironically, Ginsburg’s original 2009 interview discussed misstatements. “Think of how many times you’ve said something that you didn’t get out quite right, and you would edit your statement if you could,” she said.
Referring to Sonia Sotomayor‘s statement that “a wise Latina with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male,” Ginsburg said, “I’m sure she meant no more than what I mean when I say: Yes, women bring a different life experience to the table…That I’m a woman, that’s part of it, that I’m Jewish, that’s part of it, that I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and I went to summer camp in the Adirondacks, all these things are part of me.”
Ginsburg’s legacy on the court has been as one of the most outspoken pro-abortion opinions. She told the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2010 “we will never go back” to prohibiting abortion.
Ginsburg is the oldest justice on the Supreme Court at 79. The next president is expected to alter the balance of the Supreme Court, appointing anywhere from one to four justices.