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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 27, 2009 / 6 Menachem-Av 5769

Abortion and the echo of eugenics

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | WHAT DO Richard Nixon and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have in common?

Not much ever linked the former president, who died in 1994, and the associate justice now in her 17th year on the Supreme Court. But each was in the news recently with a cringe-inducing comment about abortion. Those comments — one spoken privately long ago, one uttered publicly this month — are a reminder of the ease with which educated elites can decide that some people's lives have no value.

Nixon was meeting with an aide in the White House on Jan. 23, 1973, when the conversation — recorded on tapes newly released by the Nixon Presidential Library — turned to the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision of the day before. Though against abortion on demand, Nixon said it was "necessary" in some cases, such as interracial pregnancies. "There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white," he explained. "Or rape."

Ginsburg's words were even creepier.

"Reproductive choice has to be straightened out," she said in a recent New York Times interview, because "we have a policy that affects only poor women." The justice was referring to the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of Medicaid funds for abortions — a law the Supreme Court upheld in Harris v. McRae in 1980. "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… . But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way."

Populations that we don't want to have too many of — who would those be, exactly? Minorities? The poor? The handicapped? Ginsburg didn't elaborate and the Times, unaccountably, didn't ask. Perhaps she was describing the opinion of others — but then why speak in the first person plural ("we")? Or maybe she was referring to the views of those who welcomed Roe 36 years ago — but then why speak in the present tense ("don't want")?

Whatever Ginsburg's view might be, her words recall the now-rarely-mentioned obsession with eugenics and the elimination of "undesirables" that animated so many supporters of legal abortion and the birth-control movement. Here, for instance, is Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, writing for the majority in the 1927 Supreme Court case of Buck v. Bell, which upheld the right of state governments to forcibly sterilize "feebleminded" citizens:

"It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. … Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Holmes considered such brutal thinking progressive and enlightened. It "gave me pleasure," he told one friend, to pen a decision upholding compulsory sterilization.

Even more fixated on perfecting the human race through eugenics was Margaret Sanger, the founder of the American Birth Control League — known today as Planned Parenthood. In her influential 1922 book, " The Pivot Of Civilization" , Sanger called for "immediate, stern, and definite" action to solve the "problem of the feeble-minded and the menace of the moron" — those she regarded as the "dead weight of human waste." She denounced the provision of free medical care to "slum mothers," since that "would facilitate … maternity among the very classes in which the absolute necessity is to discourage it." Sanger was not a racist in her personal life, but there is no denying the racial aspect of her campaign. In 1939, for example, she launched a "Negro Project" that aimed at curtailing black childbirth in the South.

Decades later, the eugenicist mindset lives on. Ron Weddington, co-counsel for the appellants in Roe, wrote an impassioned letter to President-elect Bill Clinton in January 1993, challenging him to "start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country" — not through "some sort of mass extinction," but with massive birth control and abortion. "Condoms alone won't do it… . Government is also going to have to provide vasectomies, tubal ligations, and abortion… . We don't need more poor babies."

Which poor babies? Weddington wasn't specific. But as Jonah Goldberg points out in his 2008 bestseller, " Liberal Fascism" , abortion today "ends more black lives than heart disease, cancer, accidents, AIDS, and violent crime combined." More than half of all black pregnancies in America end in abortion. Surely that wasn't what Justice Ginsburg meant by "populations that we don't want to have too many of." Or was it?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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