What Ginsburg Actually Said About Abortion Rights


On abortion rights, Ruth Bader Ginsburg said yesterday, “We will never go back to the way it once was.” The audience erupted in “huge applause”. But did she mean what they thought she meant?

Politico, too, led with, “Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg declared Thursday that abortions would continue to be available to women regardless of the legal challenges now being waged by opponents of Roe v. Wade.” Which makes it sound like Ginsburg said it wouldn’t matter if Roe were overturned because, as she actually did say, “Over a generation of young women have grown up, understanding they can control their own reproductive capacity, and in fact their life’s destiny.” (The headline is even more misleading: “Ginsburg: Roe will hold,” something she does not appear to have actually said.)

Her full remarks have not yet been put online by the Aspen Ideas Festival, her venue for making them, but judging from the Daily Beast account, Ginsburg actually wasn’t declaring that reproductive rights would remain protected for the foreseeable future — at least, not all women:

If the court were to change its mind, “there won’t be any real change for anyone in this audience or any daughters of anyone in this audience,” Ginsburg said. “The only women who would be truly affected are poor women. Because even at the time before Roe, women who wanted abortions could have a safe, legal abortion…Women could travel from one state to another and didn’t have to go to Japan or Cuba…Whatever the court may do, it’s only the poor women who will suffer. When people realize that, maybe they will have a different attitude.”

Maybe. Or maybe they don’t really care about what happens to poor women. Hopefully — with Ginsburg on board — we never have to find out.

Ginsburg: Roe Will Hold [Politico]
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Talks About Abortion Rights [Daily Beast]

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