13 July 2009

A Less Desirable Point of View

I have deliberated whether or not to post about this for a couple of days...
I really do NOT want to turn my blog into a political soapbox or battlefield.

But as a Christian and historian, I just cannot keep quiet about such an egregious lapse in clarity and judgment!
I am referring to the recent interview of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg printed in the New York Times: The Place of Women On the Court

Whether you are pro-life (I am) or pro-choice is irrelevant to my point here.
The real issue is the disturbing implication in what she says regarding abortion. If you click on the above link and go to the end of page 3 & top of page 4, you will see what I mean. For the sake of posterity, I will reprint that portion of the article here:

Q: If you were a lawyer again, what would you want to accomplish as a future feminist legal agenda?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.

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.

Read that last line again.

Then, remember that this is being said by a woman of Jewish ancestry.

Do you see the problem?

She is referring (casually, at that) to EUGENICS.
This is not taken out of context and it is not being distorted.
I have read and re-read this statement several times trying to make some sense of it -- find some useful purpose for her saying it -- but there is none.
It is simply racist, classist, and downright ignorant.

As a student of history and a staunch egalitarian, I am offended by this remark on multiple levels.

First of all, she takes a paternalistic tone toward women of lower socioeconomic status as though she is fighting for their cause (opposing the ruling of no Medicaid funding for abortions). But implicit in her sympathetic overtures is a much uglier form of discrimination:
"and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of"

Beg pardon?
Which populations would those be, Justice Ginsburg?
Poor blacks? Poor whites? The homeless?
The mentally ill or mentally-challenged?
While we're at it, what about those born with grotesque deformities or missing limbs or who are born blind or deaf?
Where -- exactly -- do you draw the line?
How do YOU define populations you seek to limit?

And if this form of reasoning -- and the slippery slope it creates -- sounds vaguely familiar to you, it should.
It was used by NAZI GERMANY as an argument to exterminate the Jewish peoples!

Is that what we have come to?
Defending morally reprehensible choices by using arguments promoted by Hitler, himself?
In Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish peoples who were the "less desirable" population of people.

How can an intelligent woman like Ms. Ginsburg not see the sick irony in her statement?
I completely understand that she *thinks* she is being valiant, defending the unwed mothers of the inner city, but in her zeal to emerge as the "white knight" of abortion rights, she commits a far worse offense than the denial of Medicaid funding ever could.
She devalues the very existence of the people she is supposedly fighting for!
And in the process, she discredits herself with historians and civil rights proponents everywhere.

Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say...
for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." -- Luke 6:45b

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