Conservative media distort Ginsburg interview to claim she "thought Roe v. Wade was a way to weed out undesirables"

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

Conservative media have distorted Ruth Bader Ginsburg's recent comments on abortion to claim that she, in Glenn Beck's words, "thought Roe v. Wade was a way to weed out undesirables." In fact, Ginsburg was attributing that sentiment to others.

Following a July 7 New York Times Magazine interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, conservative media have distorted Ginsburg's comments on abortion to claim that she, in the words of Fox News and radio host Glenn Beck, "thought Roe v. Wade was a way to weed out undesirables." In fact, in the interview, Ginsburg was attributing that sentiment to others.

From the New York Times Magazine interview:

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. 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.

Instances of conservative media figures and outlets that have distorted Ginsburg's interview to smear her are listed below:

  • During the July 13 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh read a portion of Ginsburg's comments and stated, "I think in Ruth 'Buzzi' Ginsburg's case, when she says that she thinks Roe was about population growth, particularly growth in populations you don't want to have too many of, she's probably thinking about aborting conservatives." He went on to add, "Now, what's astounding about this is that a matriarch of modern liberalism was candid about the underlying objective of the abortion movement -- that is to rid society of entire populations deemed unworthy."
  • During the July 13 edition of his radio program, Beck stated: "[H]as anybody really talked about Ginsburg and what she said last week about how she thought Roe v. Wade was a way to weed out undesirables? Excuse me?" He went on to assert that "progressives believe and always have -- look up the history of Planned Parenthood -- that it is a way to weed out undesirables. Now we have a Supreme Court justice who said, yeah, well that was pretty much my philosophy."
  • Despite providing the relevant transcript from the Times interview, a July 8 WorldNetDaily article claimed that "[i]n an astonishing admission, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she was under the impression that legalizing abortion with the 1973 Roe. v. Wade case would eliminate undesirable members of the populace, or as she put it 'populations that we don't want to have too many of.' " The article was linked to by the Fox Nation with the headline, "Ginsburg: I Thought Roe Was to Rid Undesirables."
  • A July 8 post on the National Review Online blog Bench Memos also provided the relevant portion of Ginsburg's comments but concluded, "Gee, Justice Ginsburg, would you like to tell us more about your views on those populations that 'we don't want to have too many of'?"

From the July 13 of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: I'm going to talk a little bit about the Sotomayor hearings today. But I think this is just another classic case of misdirection. She is expected today to address the "wise Latina" bullcrap that she -- that spilled out of her mouth not once, not twice, but five different times. Meanwhile, while we're paying attention to this, there's a lot of other things that are going on, including -- has anybody really talked about Ginsburg and what she said last week about how she thought Roe v. Wade was a way to weed out undesirables?

Excuse me? I thought this was about a woman's right to choose. No, the progressives believe and always have -- look up the history of Planned Parenthood -- that it is a way to weed out undesirables. Now we have a Supreme Court justice who said, yeah, well that was pretty much my philosophy. Is anybody talking about that? The coming -- the coming full implementation of the ideas of the progressive movement is absolutely horrifying. Sotomayor, she is a -- I, you know, I think that she is a -- she's a Trojan horse.

From the July 13 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: The Sunday New York Times published a recent interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsburg, and after expressing her annoyance over a 1980 decision that forbids using Medicaid tax dollars for abortions, Justice Ginsburg said this -- I want to quote it: "Frankly, I had thought at the time that Roe was decided that there was concern about population growth, particularly growth in populations we don't want to have too many of, so that Roe was going to then be set up for Medicaid funding for abortion," unquote.

Now growth in populations we don't want to have too many -- that's Planned Parenthood. That was the original goal of Planned Parenthood. The original goal of Planned Parenthood was to abort various minorities out of existence. That was the original purpose. I think in Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsburg's case, when she says that she thinks Roe was about population growth, particularly growth in populations you don't want to have too many of, she's probably thinking about aborting conservatives. But the problem with that is it's the liberals that are aborting each other, or themselves -- their future generations.

Now, what's astounding about this is that a matriarch of modern liberalism was candid about the underlying objective of the abortion movement -- that is to rid society of entire populations deemed unworthy. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was an early proponent of this. You know, it's called eugenics. And her aim was to wipe out the African-American population.

Other infamous world figures acted upon similar instincts using other means to object -- achieve their objectives: concentration camps, mass gassings, so-called ethnic cleansings. Planned Parenthood's no different -- Margaret Sanger's Planned Parenthood no different than any of the people that used concentration camps, mass gassing, so-called ethnic cleansings.

And what's just ironic as it can be is that the primary supporters of Planned Parenthood are liberals. And it's -- but here comes Ruth "Buzzi" Ginsburg just out of the box admitting what this is all about.

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