By Tyler O'Neil
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court refused to take up the issue of Indiana's ban on abortion specifically for the sex, race, or disability of the baby to be killed. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a powerful opinion revealing the connections between the racist eugenics movement and the abortion movement. He warned that if Planned Parenthood is able to get sex-selective, race-specific, and disability-targeted abortions codified as a woman's right under the Constitution, that would enshrine a horrific movement rightly left in the past.
"Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement," Thomas warned. "In other contexts, the Court has been zealous in vindicating the rights of people even potentially subjected to race, sex, and disability discrimination."
Yet abortion activists argue that Roe v. Wade (1973) was correct in ruling that abortion is a fundamental right for women. They claim that this right should override any other concerns, even race, sex, and disability discrimination applied to an unborn baby.
Thomas condemned this abortion argument, showing how it echoes the disgusting eugenics movement. He argued that the Indiana law "and other laws like it promote a State's compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics."
The ties between abortion and eugenics run deep into history. "The foundations for legalizing abortion in America were laid during the early 20th-century birth-control movement," Thomas argued. "That movement developed alongside the American eugenics movement. And significantly, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger recognized the eugenic potential of her cause. She emphasized and embraced the notion that birth control 'opens the way to the eugenist.'"
"As a means of reducing the 'ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all,' Sanger argued that 'Birth Control . . . is really the greatest and most truly eugenic method' of 'human generation.'" Yet Thomas claimed that "Sanger’s arguments about the eugenic value of birth control in securing 'the elimination of the unfit,' ... apply with even greater force to abortion, making it significantly more effective as a tool of eugenics. Whereas Sanger believed that birth control could prevent 'unfit' people from reproducing, abortion can prevent them from being born in the first place."
While Sanger condemned abortion as a "disgrace to civilization," many eugenicists supported legalizing abortion, and many abortion advocates endorsed using abortion for eugenic reasons, including most notably future Planned Parenthood President Alan Guttmacher. "Technological advances have only heightened the eugenic potential for abortion, as abortion can now be used to eliminate children with unwanted characteristics, such as a particular sex or disability."