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Tipsheet

Justice Ginsburg on Abortion as Population Control

In an interview with The New York Times Magazine, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discusses the concept of abortion as a way to control population growth, specifically of certain groups. Ginsburg, who was commenting on the role of women on the court and the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, said "Reproductive choice has to be straightened out." She then went on to say, in response to a question about the availability of abortion for poor women and the case Harris v. McRae (in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions):
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Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

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