Prominent Harvard professor Laurence Tribe recently attempted to draw a connection between the pro-life movement and white supremacy. In a viral tweet posted on Sunday, Tribe announced:
You will notice that abortion advocates frequently malign the alleged motives of pro-lifers rather than engage with the actual arguments pro-lifers are making. That’s because the pro-life argument — that human babies are human and thus directly killing them is murder — is logically, morally, and scientifically airtight. To defeat it, you must either argue that humans aren’t always human or that intentionally killing an innocent human isn’t always murder. Whichever option you choose, you will be walking out onto a very precarious limb. It’s much easier to forgo arguments altogether and simply declare that pro-lifers really hate women, or poor people, or, according to Tribe’s variation of the theme, black people. This is an easy claim to make, but an exceedingly stupid one. We will now reflect on its stupidity.
First of all, avowed white supremacists are famously pro-abortion. As someone who has been labeled a “cuckservative” by many an alt-righter for my pro-life advocacy, I can personally attest to this fact. Notorious bigot Richard Spencer has endorsed abortion, arguing that “smart people” use it to get rid of Downs Syndrome babies or to protect the life of the mother. In the same rant, he explicitly disavowed the pro-life movement and told his supporters to be “suspicious” of anyone affiliated with it.
It’s not difficult to see why white supremacists would support, rather than oppose, the practice of murdering children in the womb. Black babies comprise a grossly disproportionate number of the abortion victims in this country. Black people make up only 13 percent of the overall population yet account for close to 40 percent of all abortions. In some major U.S. cities, black children are more likely to be aborted than born.
A white supremacist may not prefer to see white babies aborted, but he will certainly support legalized abortion because he knows that the black population would be significantly larger today if not for the work of Planned Parenthood and its ilk. More black people have died by abortion than by cancer, heart disease, and violent crime combined. Why would white supremacists want to give up a tool as potent as that?
Speaking of Planned Parenthood, its founder was a passionate eugenicist who once presented her ideas at a Klan meeting. Historically, Planned Parenthood has been quite open about its real intentions — only in recent years have they gotten shy about their goal to exterminate society’s supposed undesirables. In 1969, the vice president of Planned Parenthood, Frederick Jaffe, produced an infamous memo outlining his organization’s long-term goals. These included things like, “reduce/eliminate paid maternity leave,” “compulsory sterilization,” “compulsory abortion of out-of-wedlock pregnancies,” “limit/eliminate publicly-financed medical care, scholarships, housing, loans,” for families who have too many children.
The Jaffe Memo doesn’t specifically mention black people or racial minorities, but the goal is clear: reduce the population of the poor and economically disadvantaged by any means necessary. On this point, as on so many others, white supremacists are in substantial agreement. It should also be noted that Jaffe’s (and Sanger’s) plans have been carried out with great success, though compulsory sterilization has yet to be realized.
To support abortion, you must see life on a hierarchy, where some life is less important and more expendable than others. That is exactly how racists see the world, which is why racism and abortion have always fit together so perfectly. To oppose abortion, on the other hand, you must see life as possessing inherent worth and dignity. A recognition of all human life as inherently worthy and dignified is not a good place to start if you want to be an effective racist. And that’s why Tribe’s assertion couldn’t possibly be more wrong.