Justice Thomas: Supreme Court Needs to Confront Abortion Being Used as ‘Tool of Eugenic Manipulation’ BYfor The Epoch Times
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas believes the nation’s top court will soon need to consider the constitutionality of laws that prohibit abortions in cases where mothers are basing their decision to abort solely on unwanted characteristics of the child, such as race, gender, or disability.
Thomas penned an extensive commentary (pdf) on the link between eugenic manipulation and abortion in an opinion concurring with the court’s decision to not hear a case concerning an Indiana law that prohibited abortions in cases where mothers chose to abort on the basis of a child’s race, gender, disability, a diagnosis for Down syndrome, and other characteristics.
The 7th Court of Appeals struck down the Indiana law and the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal because the 7th Circuit was the only federal appellate court to hear a case concerning such a question.
“Given the potential for abortion to become a tool of eugenic manipulation, the Court will soon need to confront the constitutionality of laws like Indiana’s,” Thomas wrote.
Thomas traced the roots of the legalization of abortion to the U.S. birth-control movement that developed alongside eugenics. He pointed out that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a eugenist who saw birth control as a useful tool for her cause. Sanger saw birth control as “really the greatest and most truly eugenic method.”
Thomas acknowledged that Sanger was not directly referring to abortion, but added that abortion is a much more effective tool for eugenics by Sanger’s own argument.
“Whereas Sanger believed that birth control could prevent ‘unfit’ people from reproducing, abortion can prevent them from being born in the first place,” Thomas wrote. “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 eugenics movement was prominent in the United States for decades, especially on the campuses of elite universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and Yale. In 1927, the Supreme Court affirmed eugenics in a ruling legitimizing the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck, who the court determined to be “a feeble-minded white woman” with a “feeble-minded” mother and a “feeble-minded” child.
“Three generations of imbeciles are enough,” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote in an opinion joined by seven other justices.