Justice Clarence Thomas on Tuesday bluntly warned the other justices on the U.S. Supreme Court they need to start acting on various abortion-law cases because of the industry’s threat “to achieve eugenic goals.”
That, he warned in a concurring opinion, “is not merely hypothetical.”
The case centered on a law in Indiana that banned abortions based on sex or disability and required the state to ensure deceased unborn infants are provided a “proper burial.”
A lower court blocked the law, and the Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the requirement for “proper burial” but continued a block on the ban on eugenics in abortions.
“This law and other laws like it promote a state’s compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics,” Thomas wrote.
Twitter news aggregator Twitchy posted the remarks under the headline: “‘Tool of eugenic manipulation.’ Clarence Thomas just dropped the hammer on abortion and Planned Parenthood (WOW)!”
Twitchy said: “Remember when abortion was supposed to be safe, legal, and RARE? Seems our ‘pro-choice’ friends have tried to forget or completely do away with the ‘rare’ portion of the law. They had to know when they went to extremes attempting to legalize abortion up to and including birth the pushback would be monumental.”
WOW. Thomas concurrence today: "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.” https://t.co/UOK4ejUM8m
— Josh Hammer (@josh_hammer) May 28, 2019
Thomas explained: “The foundations for legalizing abortion in America were laid during the early 20th-century birth-control movement. 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.'”
Thomas quoted Sanger advocating reducing the “ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”
While Sanger was not directly referring to abortion, he wrote, she “recognized the moral difference between ‘contraceptives’ and other, more ‘extreme’ ways for ‘women to limit their families,’ such as ‘the horrors of abortion and infanticide.'”
In fact, lawmakers in New York recently adopted a law allowing abortion up to birth. Virginia Gov. Ralph Wortham, defending a similar bill in Virginia, notoriously tried to make a case for infanticide.
“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,” Thomas wrote. “Whereas Sanger believed that birth control could prevent ‘unfit’ people from reproducing, abortion can prevent them from being born in the first place.
“Many eugenicists therefore supported legalizing abortion, and abortion advocates – including future Planned Parenthood President Alan Guttmacher – endorsed the use of abortion for eugenic reasons.”
“The court,” he said. “will soon need to confront the constitutionality of laws like Indiana’s.”
Thomas pointed out that leaders in the early American eugenics movement “held prominent positions at Harvard, Stanford, and Yale … and eugenics was taught at 376 universities and colleges.”
He said the popular belief back then was that “the distinction between the fit and the unfit could be drawn along racial lines, a distinction they justified by pointing to anecdotal and statistical evidence of disparities between the races.”
The Supreme Court even endorsed the concept early in the 1900s when Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote, in approving mandatory sterilization of a woman, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
Thomas explained how Sanger herself “campaigned for birth control in black communities.” She even called her work the “Negro Project,” a group whose members she called “the great problem of the South.”
He noted the court’s majority would not take up the arguments now.
However, he said, having “created the constitutional right to an abortion, this court is dutybound to address its scope.”
The Constitution, he pointed out, “is silent on abortion.”