Previously I blogged about the abortion as eugenics statement from Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg recently, the one where she said she thought the reason people were in favor of abortion was to reduce the surplus population of undesirable groups. She realized that wasn’t the motivation when, in 1980, the court upheld the ban on Medicaid funding of abortion. William Grigg at Reason makes one of the same points I made, only more succinctly:
there was an interval of roughly seven years during which Ginsburg, a well-informed and influential academic, believed that America was creating a eugenicist system in which abortion would help reduce “undesirable” populations — however those populations would be defined. This was what Roe had wrought, Ginsburg believed for several years, and if she ever experienced misgivings about it, she managed to keep them private.
Exactly- and I find that immensely disturbing, creepy, even. Reason’s Grigg asks another question- WHY did she think that the purpose of abortion support was to recreate a eugenicist system in America?
Where did Ginsburg — a rising star in academe long before being tapped to fill the Rosa Klebb seat on the Supreme Court — get the impression that American policy-making elites were discussing the use of welfare subsidies to bring about the attrition of “undesirable” populations?
In 1968 Holden, now Obama’s Science Czar, co-authored a nasty little book advocating forced abortion, sterilization and other Nazi like procedures on a public guilty of no greater crime than precreating. I blogged about it here. He co-authored it with Paul Ehrlich, who had published The Population Bomb in 1968. No doubt Bader-Ginsburg was familiar with it, and, at the very least, it offered extremely totalitarian methods of birth control- including forced abortion and sterilization, as possible solutions to the dreadful problem of overpopulation (“Compulsory control of family size is an unpalatable idea, but the alternatives may be much more horrifying.“). You can read quotes and entire pages from Holden’s book over at Zombietime. Please read it all.
Grigg notes that connection, and also this:
In 1967, sociologist, demographer, and population control heavyweight Kingsley Davis published an essay in Science magazine observing that “the social structure and economy must be changed before a deliberate reduction in the birthrate can be achieved” in the West. He urged governments to subsidize voluntary abortion and sterilization and restructure their tax systems to discourage both marriage and childbirth.
Davis’s recommendations apparently inspired Frederick Jaffe, Vice President of Planned Parenthood, when he composed a 1969 memorandum intended for use as a template for anti-natalist efforts.
Ehrich and Jafee both liked the idea of putting sterilization agents in the water supply, compulsory abortion for out of wedlock pregnancies, and requiring governmental permission to give birth. Other sources for Bader-Ginsburg’s understanding that her pro-choice peers were in it for the eugenics:
Kingsley Davis, Margaret Mead, Paul Ehrlich, and sundry Planned Parenthood leaders – who endorsed the 1971 manifesto The Case for Compulsory Birth Controlby Edgar R. Chasteen. That book offered one-stop shopping for policy-makers seeking draconian population management methods.
Just how far were the pro-choice eugenicists willing to go?
Arguably the most astonishing variant on this approach was proposed in 1994, just prior to the UN’s International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt.
In a book entitled Too Many People, Sir Roy Calne, a noted British physician, proposed a universal minimum childbearing age of 25, and a strict two-child quota. Those seeking the government-dispensed “privilege” of having children would have to pass a state-mandated parenting class and receive the appropriate “reproduction license.” Those who violate those restrictions would lose their children and face Chinese-style economic sanctions and criminal punishments.
Calne also suggested the development of an engineered sterility pathogen — he called it the “O virus” — that could be administered to women world-wide as a vaccine.
Here’s a slightly edited repost of something I wrote about Ehrlich a few years ago: IN his book The Population Bomb, Ehrlich describes his epiphany, that moment when he was suddenly blinded by the light of his knowledge that overpopulation was a cancer and realized the need to take drastic steps to treat individual humans as cancer cells on the earth. Here’s what he wrote:
`I have understood the population explosion intellectually for a long time. I came to understand it emotionally one stinking hot night in Delhi a few years ago. My wife and daughter and I were returning to our hotel in an ancient taxi. The seats were hopping with fleas. The only functional gear was third. As we crawled through the city, we entered a crowded slum area. The temperature was well over 100, and the air was a haze of dust and smoke. The streets seemed alive with people. People eating, people washing, people sleeping. People visiting, arguing, and screaming. People thrusting their hands through the taxi window, begging. People defecating and urinating. People clinging to buses. People herding animals. People, people, people, people. As we moved slowly through the mob, hand horn squawking, the dust, noise, heat and cooking fires gave the scene a hellish aspect. Would we ever get to our hotel? All three of us were, frankly, frightened. It seemed that anything could happen – but, of course, nothing did. …….Perhaps, but since that night I’ve known the feel of overpopulation. ‘
As more than one of his readers and reviewers has noted, the population density is just as great (or greater) in New York, London, and Tokyo as it is in Delhi. Population density was not the problem in India. The problem was poverty. I’m not so sure, however, that an equal amount of poverty in the apartments in New York would not have resulted in such an emotional reaction from Ehrlich.
It seems to be the very ‘otherness’ of the darker skinned Indians that made their teeming proximity so disturbing to him.
Here’s what the Ehrlichs think of their book now:
Perhaps the most serious flaw in The Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future.