In an opinion written earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who served on the court dutifully since the early 90’s, wrote that an Indiana law which forbids physicians from providing abortions when they are aware that it is being done “solely because of the child’s race, sex, diagnosis of Down syndrome, disability, or related characteristics” furthers the “state’s compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics.”
This excerpt comes from Box v. Planned Parenthood, a case regarding the requirement of proper burial procedures for aborted babies.
Like all other abortion bans, bills, and regulations, the Indiana law puts sole legal liability on the physician, not the mother-to-be.
Justice Thomas also adds that abortion being used as a tool for eugenics “is not merely hypothetical.” Thomas cites the work of Planned Parenthood founder Margret Sanger as evidence for the eugenics potential of birth control. Sanger stated in a 1919 piece titled The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda that “eugenics without birth control seems to us a house [built] upon the sands.”
“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.”Justice Clarence Thomas citing Margret Sanger
Sanger was also a supporter of sterilizing the mentally unfit, which during that time period could mean anything from mental handicaps, physical handicaps, or, as seen in the 1927 Buck v. Bell case, coming from a poorly educated family. She agrees that both birth control advocates and eugenicists “are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit.”
Though as Thomas points out, abortion was not being referred to in this or subsequent articles, but as modern day abortion activists move in a direction which places abortion among other forms of common birth control and contraceptive methods, it can be argued that abortion can more easily be used in a way which Sanger envisioned birth control to be used for.
This is not a fantasy as Iceland is a nation which used abortion as a means to ultimately eliminate any and all down syndrome positive babies before birth. Again, this is socially pushed eugenics, not a government mandate, but it is still evidence of the eugenics potential of eliminating unwanted characteristics in the future generations.
One purpose of birth control, Sanger noted, was to prevent the ‘economically disadvantaged’ from reproducing. Many abortion advocates use poverty as an excuse to end a pregnancy.
While Thomas received massive backlash on social media for his comments, he certainly hit the nail on the head, especially when we look at the direct context of the bill he defended; one which bans the practice of race, sex, or disability based termination.