Ron Weddington

A letter to Bill Clinton written by the co-counsel who successfully argued the Roe v. Wade decision urged the then-president-elect to “eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country” by liberalizing abortion laws.

Ron Weddington, who with his wife Sarah Weddington represented “Jane Roe,” sent the four-page letter to President Clinton’s transition team before Clinton took office in January 1993.

The missive turned up in an exhibit put together by the watchdog legal group Judicial Watch, which has been researching the Clinton administration’s policy on the abortion drug RU-486, notes James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web.

Weddington told the president-elect: “I don’t think you are going to go very far in reforming the country until we have a better educated, healthier, wealthier population.”

He said the new leader can “start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country.”

Weddington qualified his statement, saying, “No, I’m not advocating some sort of mass extinction of these unfortunate people. Crime, drugs and disease are already doing that. The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can’t afford to have babies.

“There, I’ve said it. It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it, because as liberals who believe in individual rights, we view any program which might treat the disadvantaged differently as discriminatory, mean-spirited and … well … so Republican.”

Weddington explained he was “not proposing that you send federal agents armed with Depo-Provera dart guns to the ghetto. You should use persuasion rather than coercion.”

He points to President Clinton and his soon-to-be first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton as the “perfect example.”

“Could either of you have gone to law school and achieved anything close to what you have if you had three or four or more children before you were 20?” he asked. “No! You waited until you were established and in your 30’s to have one child. That is what sensible people do.”

Later, Weddington took a shot at the “religious right.”

“Having convinced the poor that they can’t get out of poverty when they have all those extra mouths to feed, you will have to provide the means to prevent the extra mouths, because abstinence doesn’t work. The religious right has had 12 years to preach its message. It’s time to officially recognize that people are going to have sex and what we need to do as a nation is prevent as much disease and as many poor babies as possible.”

Weddington then argued that with 30 million abortions up to that point since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, America is a much better place.

“Think of all the poverty, crime and misery … and then add 30 million unwanted babies to the scenario,” he said. “We lost a lot of ground during the Reagan-Bush religious orgy. We don’t have a lot of time left.”

The lawyer also delved into biblical theology.

“The biblical exhortation to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ was directed toward a small tribe, surrounded by enemies,” he argued. “We are long past that. Our survival depends upon our developing a population where everyone contributes. We don’t need more cannon fodder. We don’t need more parishioners. We don’t need more cheap labor. We don’t need more poor babies.”

In his postscript, Weddington said: “I was co-counsel in Roe v. Wade, [and] have sired zero children and one fetus, the abortion of which was recently recounted by my ex-wife in her book, “A Question of Choice” (Grosset/Putnam, 1992) I had a vasectomy in 1969 and have never had one moment of regret.”

The Weddingtons divorced in 1974.

Their client in the 1973 case, Norma McCorvey, recently attempted to challenge the ruling that struck down all state laws restricting abortion, arguing changes in law and new scientific research make the prior decision “no longer just.”

Commenting on a 2004 court ruling dismissing the challenge, Sarah Weddington said those who filed it “got publicity but the publicity actually has been very helpful for those of us who believe the government should not be involved.”

After announcement of McCorvey’s challenge, Weddington received about two dozen offers to help defend the Roe decision.



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