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Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Supreme Court, Abortions, and the Culture Wars

Remember when Bill Bennett said this.

If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.

That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.

This was said in a hypothetical, thought experiment, manner, and the controversy surrounding it lasted for weeks. Bennett's reputation was never the same. He was referred to as a racist and people claimed he advocated the killing of all black babies. I remember most of the media just having a field day with that statement.

Now, we have this statement from Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

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.

Boy those statements sound pretty much the same. Yet, the only places where there is controversy regarding this statement is in the conservative media. That's how the MSM treats abortion. When a conservative says something controversial, it's turned into a front page story for as long as possible. When a liberal does it there is a collective yawn. The reporter that asked the question didn't even follow up with any clarification from Ginsberg.

In fact, this isn't the first abortion supporter to make such a claim. One of its main initial advocates, Margaret Sanger, made a very similar statement to that of Ginsberg.

it is a vicious cycle; ignorance breeds poverty and poverty breeds ignorance. There is only one cure for both, and that is to stop breeding these things. Stop bringing to birth children whose inheritance cannot be one of health or intelligence. Stop bringing into the world children whose parents cannot provide for them. Herein lies the key of civilization. For upon the foundation of an enlightened and voluntary motherhood shall a future civilization emerge.

Those in the pro life side of the philosophical side have always been concerned that abortion would be used as a tool of social engineering. That's exactly what Sanger thought it should be used for, and it's pretty much the same philosophy that Ginsberg espoused in the interview. Of course, outside of a few corners these very controversial and provocative comments have received no attention.


Gail said...

I spent considerable time studying nutrition, with Adelle Davis as my favorite author in the subject.

The human brain is actually in a condition of gestation until about age 4. Poor prenatal nutrition and poor nutrition for the 1st 4 years of a child's like can literally prevent full brain development. All of the people who espouse inferiority of minorities are doing so against the backdrop of this critical fact.

One of the wisest liberal programs is the WIC program that provides high quality basic nutrition such as milk, eggs and fruits for poor women and children. That program more is probably a key element in the great progress that has been made in helping poor minorities achieve middle class status.

We have made considerable progress and it cannot be denied.

Best regards,
Gail S

Anonymous said...

Mike, I think one of the reasons that a lot of conservatives didn't understand why people were upset about Bennett's comments was because they fixated on the abortion thing.

Criticism of Bennett's comments had NOTHING to do with abortion. NOBODY was accusing Bennett of wanting to abort every black baby. What got people upset was that Bennett was insinuating that there would be less crime in a world without blacks. Even when he was qualifying his comments by saying that he doesn't actually support aborting every black baby, he still insisted that doing so would reduce crime.

That Bennett didn't even realize he was espousing the prejudiced view that blacks are responsible for so much crime made him look even more racist.

That being said, Guinsberg's Sanger-esque comments that abortion was supposed to be a form of population control for the poor were also in bad taste, and the kind of elitist comments that reinforce my belief that our society severely overvalues Ivy League grads.

But at least Guinsberg wasn't making it all about race like Bennett was.

mike volpe said...

I think most people did understand, however, Bennett doesn't have a racist bone in his body. He's spent his life serving the public. What conservatives couldn't believe was how he his entire life didn't matter and it was reduced to these comments.

That said, his comments are better or worse than Ginsberg's and yet hers are ignored while Bennett is demonized for his. If you can't see that then I can't help you.

Anonymous said...

No better or worse, perhaps, but they're still comments about *different* things.

mike volpe said...

The only difference is that Ginsberg didn't specifically use the word, black. Which part of the population do you think she meant when she said we might have too much of it. Do you think it was wealthy whites or poor blacks?