Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Brief Response to Professor Ristroph

David Stras

I want to thank Alice for her thoughtful response to my post, and to say that I hope that she is right in her assessment of the Ginsburg interview. As I made clear in my initial post, I do hold Justice Ginsburg responsible for making the statements (after all, they were her words), but I did not nor do I now believe that she is “endorsing the idea of population control” as a justification for abortion rights. Perhaps I should have just been more clear in my own post (and I apologize for any ambiguity) that I find the argument itself offensive and incapable of defense because, as it was framed, it is classist and discriminatory. (Indeed, the argument itself seems to coincide with the justifications for eugenics.) And I think we can all agree that Justice Ginsburg could have been a bit clearer in the interview about who held the “concern” about population control in undesirable populations and who the “some people” were who felt that it would “risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them.” Despite Alice’s helpful response, I am still not 100% certain that I know for sure what Justice Ginsburg is saying in that passage of the interview (though Alice’s interpretation is surely a reasonable one reading it in context). And if Alice is correct about her interpretation, than I suspect that Justice Ginsburg also would find objectionable the argument about population control of undesirable populations as a justification for abortion rights.

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