There are, of course, many people who are pro-choice because they sincerely believe the standard line that abortion on demand is a necessary evil (although sometimes they deny it is evil at all) in order for women to have ‘reproductive freedom.’ These people, I’m afraid to say, are nothing but sincere dupes. The people that foisted abortion on demand in the ‘civilized’ West were concerned about population control, no more, no less.
The evidence for this is everywhere if anyone cares to look. For example, the founder of Planned Parenthood herself, Margaret Sanger, sang the praises of ‘birth control’ in language reflective of ‘reproductive freedom’ but she was not shy at all about her true objectives, which was to use ‘birth control’ to improve the race. Her many remarks of a eugenical sort have been forgotten today by people who don’t wish these grotesque connections to be made or factored into their support of abortion on demand. For example, in Women and the New Race she wrote:
Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives.
See? Nothing more, or less, than the weeding out of the unfit. That’s pretty unambiguous. Stop being a dupe.
It isn’t as though the pro-abortionists have been shy about this perspective. Sitting Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg probably revealed more than she intended when she reflected on the passing of Roe vs Wade, saying,
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.
Most people would be surprised to hear that this was the sort of reasoning that was prevalent at the time, but for anyone who actually studies the period, it is inescapable. Seeking to clarify her remarks, Ginsburg attempted to put distance between what she observed and her own views on that perspective in this article. You would be wrong if you think I am attributing those views to Ginsburg; for all I know she is just another ‘splendid dupe.’ The point is that these concerns were ‘in the air.’
Some would say (and the linked article above does say) that this is true, but that’s not why we have abortion on demand. This is mere self-serving mythology. Sanger’s comments alone are enough to dispel that myth, but a hundred examples more could be offered. These would almost certainly lead someone to miss the point, because they think that in uttering these comments I am invoking conspiracy theories. Far from it.
To illustrate, I remember sitting down with someone and talking about the fact that my wife and I did not abort our child, diagnosed in the womb with spina bifida. He was a bit mortified by this, wondering how we felt about bringing into the world someone we knew would live out only a life of suffering. In his view, our daughter had a life unworthy of life. We talked about that for a little bit, investing a solid 15 minutes on the issue of ‘reproductive freedoms’ until suddenly we were talking about the problem of over-population in Africa and what ‘we’ were going to do about it if we did not back abortion on demand and import it around the globe. He was thoroughly sincere in his outlook, but the conversation wound down rapidly after that when I pressed him on whether or not he supported abortion on demand because of a “woman’s right to choose” or because we needed a ‘tool’ to curtail “growth in populations that we don’t want too many of.” I don’t think he had ever considered the matter, and I don’t think he particularly liked considering the matter. (Incidentally, this young man was on his way to a conservative Lutheran university to become a pharmacist. Consider my joy. Bleh.)
This was not a man enmeshed in a conspiracy. He was a man who had accepted certain assumptions about reality and these led inexorably to justifications of abortion on demand that had nothing at all to do with “women’s rights.” He was not even aware of the fact that he was actually a eugenicist until I connected his own dots. Now imagine thousands more just like him, well-meaning and sincere, without a even a smidgen of introspection, slowly winding their way up the layers of power. They merely act on the logical implications of their logic; no conspiracy necessary.
In the ‘civilized’ West, we are ‘checked’ from fully acting on the implications of our logic because of our own particular historical trajectory. We look back at the Holocaust and the eugenic rationales that drove it on, and we strain to find ways to keep alive some of the more ‘tame’ and ‘reasonable’ eugenic measures (eg, incentives to have people sterilized, etc) that have fallen in disrepute. Utterly blotted out of the modern consciousness is the fact that the Nazi ideology borrowed a great deal from ideologies in America and Britain. Indeed, in 1934, a prominent American public official named Joseph Dejarnette, lamented, “The Germans are beating us at our own game.”
I believe, like many, that there is a Holocaust underway in the world today that makes the German Holocaust pale in comparison, but in many places (eg, the ‘civilized’ West) it happens out of sight; out of sight, out of mind. But in other places in the world, where there is less historical connection to the Nazi Holocaust and other ideological traditions, they happen in plain sight. Which brings me to that bastion of “reproductive freedom,” China. You know, that country with population control measures about which VP Biden said, “Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”
We see how far Joe Biden’s support for a woman’s reproductive ‘liberty’ goes… and we conservatives still have to put up with asinine and infantile charges that we are the ones engaged in a war on women. But I digress.
The point is that China is merely “beating us at our own game.” If today the US was in a position where ‘one wage earner’ is taking care of ‘four retired people’ the veil of justification for abortion on demand, that it has anything to do with a woman’s reproductive freedoms, would slide into oblivion–at least among those who have risen so high in the ranks of power that they believe they have the responsibility to manage the herd. You know, people like Biden, who feel acutely the problems posed by managing large populations.
Today I was directed to this link which revealed some of China’s ‘one child’ policy in action. Large banners are sprinkled around the country with statements such as:
- If it should be aborted and is not aborted, your house will be destroyed and your cow will be taken.
- Even if you bleed enough to make a river, you must not give birth to an extra child!
- If you should get sterilized and you don’t, you will be detained and prosecuted. If you should abort and do not abort, your house will be torn down and your cattle will be led away!
- Call back those who are located far away, dig out those who are hidden, Those who are pregnant outside the policy absolutely must have labor induced. Those who should be sterilized absolutely must be dragged down
- If you are supposed to wear an IUD but don’t, or are supposed to have your tubes tied but don’t, you will be arrested on sight!
How is this our ‘own’ game? It has been well documented now how the ‘voluntary’ sterilization programs of the United States were often punctuated with threats that if people did not get sterilized, they would lose their children or their benefits. (Hence Ginsberg’s belief that Roe vs. Wade was supposed to be a way to subsidize abortions through Medicaid).
Through a bizarre twist of fate, Roe vs. Wade was decided on the basis other than public health, and this has served to block overt expressions of abortion on demand as a tool for balancing the books in America. It would be a grave mistake, however, to think that this is a game that America has abandoned. There are many reasons to think that ‘public health’ rationales could surface again in a heartbeat if conditions changed. It isn’t as if that rationale was ever repudiated, and as my conversation with the would-be pharmacist illustrates, it lurks beneath the surface even now–just typically applied to other countries, and not our own.
If you really want to make sure that the horrors that China is inflicting on its own people do not visit the ‘civilized’ West than the roots of the abortion on demand philosophy have to be pulled up completely–every last one of them.
I propose we start with the illusion that abortion on demand is legal in this country because those that have the power to make it legal or illegal care about a “woman’s reproductive freedom.” In reality, all this turns out to be is the rationale du jour that gives them the tools they need if they believe, in their own discretion, to manage the population–and cull the herd. It’s sort of like voluntarily giving them the stick they’ll beat you with. Here’s an idea: don’t give them the stick at all!
In short, stop being a dupe. Before you get us all beaten, if you please.
Margaret Sanger, Woman And The New Race (New York: Truth Publishing Company, 1921), 229.