If it wasn’t horrifying enough to learn via a leaked draft majority opinion written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that the Supreme Court intends to overturn Roe v. Wade, to make bad even worse, Alito uses a sickening racist theory as evidence to support the legal reversal.
The 98-page draft opinion is a defiant indictment of the 1973 ruling promising federal protections for abortion. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes. “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled… It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
If all that isn’t enough, Alito pivots to the white savior role, actually attempting to justify that the removal of reproductive rights somehow aligns with a fight against racism—even citing the same misrepresented statistics used by pro-choice activists advocating for eugenics.
“Some such supporters have been motivated by a desire to suppress the size of the African American population,” Alito writes. “It is beyond dispute that Roe has had that demographic effect. A highly disproportionate percentage of aborted fetuses are Black.”
The National Human Genome Research Institute defines eugenics as a “scientifically inaccurate theory that humans can be improved through selective breeding of populations… Implementation of eugenics practices has caused widespread harm, particularly to populations that are being marginalized.”
Let’s unpack Alito’s argument that abortion is being used to cull the number of Black Americans being born.
First off, using race as pro-life rhetoric is not new. But what it doesn’t take into account is the realities of what Black pregnant people face in birthing health care, or the fact that white America has long sought to wipe out people of color—without ever needing to use abortion as a means.
Black enslaved women were raped by slaveholders and then forced to bear children to increase their property holdings—all while their own children were sold away from them for profit.
Even today, the disparities in prenatal health care and birthing mortality are stunning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Black pregnant people are “three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women,” citing “variation in quality health care, underlying chronic conditions, structural racism, and implicit bias” as factors.
”Social determinants of health prevent many people from racial and ethnic minority groups from having fair opportunities for economic, physical, and emotional health,” the CDC adds.
This is in addition to an overall greater lack of health insurance, employment, or food security caused by well-documented socioeconomic disparities between Black and brown families and white Americans.
Black pregnant people don’t need anyone shaming them about abortion, or suggesting that they need the Court to dictate how their bodies are used for the greater good of a nation that mistreated them for centuries.
And, importantly, the racial demographics of abortion Alito refers to as “highly disproportionate” aren’t as disparate as he suggests. According to a 2019 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Black Americans account for 38% of abortions, while white people account for 33%—as I said, hardly “highly disproportionate.”
In another passage, Alito writes that societal norms around pregnancy when parents aren’t married “have changed drastically” since Roe v. Wade was enacted and argues there’s now a higher demand for adoption.
Let’s unpack. Adoption numbers are actually declining. Creating a Family reports that the number of children adopted via public child welfare was 57,881 in 2020.
“In 2007, the total number of adoptions was 133,737. The numbers for 2014, the last year that the full range of data was available, fell to 110,373. Of those adoptions, 41,023 were adoptions within the family (where the child is related to the adopting family) and 69,350 were unrelated adoptions,” according to the Creating a Family website.
So forgive me if I don’t buy the bull**** of Alito’s argument that ending Roe v. Wade is good for Black folks or the new changing demographics of partnerships in the U.S. and the demand for more adopted children.
Support for the reversal of Roe includes Justices Alito, and unsurprisingly, Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, the Politico report reads.
Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan were said to be crafting dissents.
The Supreme Court is expected to make the final decision in late June.