Feminist Supreme Court Justice Splits Hairs on Roe v. Wade
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience at the University of Chicago Law School she thinks the Court's sweeping 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling gave abortion opponents "a target to aim at relentlessly."
Ginsburg said the same thing in a 1993 address at New York University. In the 1993 exchange, the judge argued that the Court should have simply overturned the Texas statute at issue in the case. A narrower ruling, she contended, would have "served to reduce rather to than to fuel the controversy."
Maybe she wanted feminists to practice a little delayed gratification when it came to killing babies in the womb. By circumventing states' rights and allowing "unelected white men" to make the decision in 1973, women's rights activists failed to live up to their own standards. In the end, they had to rely on an undemocratic process and a patriarchal judicial system.
But worse, in Ginsburg's view, the broad ruling led to the rise of the Moral Majority in the 1980s and the powerful pro-life movement, which has been gaining steam ever since. If the Court had taken a more restrained approach, according to Ginsburg, then conservative activists would not have been able to use Roe v. Wade as a national rallying cry against abortion.
As one of the most liberal Supreme Court justices, Ginsburg reveals the real goal of those advocating unfettered access to abortion. Forcibly changing the laws outlawing the murder of children in the womb is not enough. Humans must be liberated from moral considerations of such a decision as well. Roe v. Wade prevented a stealthier, more under-the-radar, nudge-like mass killing that would have caught the opposition off-guard.
... My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum that was on the side of change.
Asked about the continuing challenges to abortion rights, Ginsburg said that in her view, Roe's legacy will ultimately hold up.
"It's not going to matter that much," she said. "Take the worst-case scenario ... suppose the decision were overruled; you would have a number of states that will never go back to the way it was."
The problem with the landmark decision is not that it led to 55 million dead babies over four decades. No, it's the fact that abortion has become the most polarizing social issue of our time when it didn't have to be. If only the justices had strategically allowed states to continue liberalizing their laws, as they had been doing up until 1972, they could have headed off pro-lifers determined to save innocent lives.
As the "Thurgood Marshall of gender equality law," is Ginsburg saying Roe v. Wade didn't do enough to make access to abortion just another civil right?
Under the justice's theory, the state of Pennsylvania -- where the now convicted abortionist Kermit Gosnell practiced infanticide -- may have crafted laws to protect doctors from prosecution based on equality instead of privacy. Maybe infanticide inside an abortuary would have been considered a protected right if Ginsburg had her way back in 1973. Wacky, yes, but who knows?
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report.