National Review Writer: Hang Women Who Have Abortions! Hang Their Doctors! Hang the Attending Nurses!

The Mackinac Center is the country's "largest state-based free market think tank," and thus peddles plenty of influence. So it's certainly disconcerting when one of its sponsored speakers says women who have abortions should be hanged...as should their doctors.

So this morning on Twitter, this happened; National Review writer Kevin D. Williamson made the real “pro-life” agenda very, very clear, expressing his opinion that women who have abortions should be put to death — by hanging. And not just the women; he says the doctor who performs the abortion, the nurses who assist, and the hospital staff who enable it should also be executed.

The name was familiar for some reason, and then I remembered why. In late August and early September, Williamson spoke at an event sponsored by the Mackinac Center. They like him enough there that they had his book, which well, let's cut to the review.

“They got the guns/but we got the numbers,” sang Jim Morrison of The Doors, and Williamson echoes the sentiment. The “awesome” of the book’s title is the 300-million-strong U.S. population that might, in part, tire of ever-growing Leviathan enough to say … well … “Enough.” He ponders what would happen if, say, one-tenth of the U.S. population refused to pay their taxes, or performed any other coordinated act of community civil disobedience. The time is approaching he says, when the End in which we find ourselves might justify such extraordinary means.

I used to quote The Doors myself, but then I hit 20 and discovered The Beatles. But, you know, it kind of fits since Ayn Rand is the type of literature that engages at the same basic level as "Animal Farm." If it's still blowing your mind once you graduate high school, the problem may be that you already peaked. But whatever ... The End of Civilization: Let's make this bad bitch happen by Going Galt!

It's a fair point to say that his twisted, extremist views on abortion and the Mackinac Center's embrace of his vision of America collapsing under the weight of 10 percent of Americans refusing to follow the law are not connected or reflective of Mackinac Center positions. It's not fair to say that an investment of money doesn't reflect an investment in someone who takes care to make his arguments in the same way that if the Freep allowed Lord Monckton to pollute its web space that it doesn't negatively reflect on the Freep. Your standards are who you are.

Roll tape.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, having decided for some inexplicable reason to do a long interview with a fashion magazine (maybe it is her celebrated collection of lace collars), reaffirmed the most important things we know about her: her partisanship, her elevation of politics over law, and her desire to see as many poor children killed as is feasibly possible.

Speaking about such modest restrictions on abortion as have been enacted over the past several years, Justice Ginsburg lamented that “the impact of all these restrictions is on poor women.” Then she added: “It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.”


Is it true? He linked to the original. Let's see it in full context.

The impact of all these restrictions is on poor women, because women who have means, if their state doesn’t provide access, another state does. I think that the country will wake up and see that it can never go back to [abortions just] for women who can afford to travel to a neighboring state…

When people realize that poor women are being disproportionately affected, that’s when everyone will wake up? That seems very optimistic to me.

Yes, I think so…. It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.

The first paragraph is the tail end of an answer, the stuff in bold is the next question, and the last bit — the only bit Williamson quoted — was her full answer to it. As you can pretty obviously see, she's not talking about killing poor people. She's talking about how economic inequality means unequal access to health care options. Women of means who want abortions can get them — the "modest" restrictions enacted the last few years nothwithstanding — while poor women are forced to have babies. Williamsons' accusation that Ruth Bader Ginsberg wants to murder poor children? Sloppy, irresponsible, inflammatory writing. Just in case you thought this was a singular error in reading comprehension and judgement, there's more.

... In an earlier interview, she described the Roe v. Wade decision as being intended to control population growth, “particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of."

Here's a link to the original interview. Here's the question and answer he selectively snippeted.

Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] 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.

It's fair to wonder about what is meant by "growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of," although Williamson will soon unintentionally provide us an opportunity to explore this. Instead note that Ginsburg's answer is lost in an ocean of context related, again, to the unequal access to health care between women who have a lot of money and women who have no money. This appears to be a recurring theme of Williamson's: Take an argument about the everyday impacts of wealth inequality on health care and turn them into an indictment of the person making them as an inhuman monster who wants to slay the infants of the poor. But, as I promised, let's do go on.

She was correct in her assessment of Roe; the co-counsel in that case, Ron Weddington, would later advise President Bill Clinton: “You can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy, and poor segment of our country,” by making abortifacients cheap and universally available. “It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it.”

Again, a shocking quote ... if not taken out of context. Context:

But you can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country. No, I'm, not advocating some, sort of mass extinction of these unfortunate people. Crime, drugs and disease are already doing that. The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can't afford to have babies.

If you're interested, go read the whole thing. If not, let me encapsulate what he writes: Wealthy, educated people already engage in family planning by putting off having children until they have the resources to properly raise them. We should make available to poor people, who are not engaging in any kind of family planning, resources so that they, too, can engage in family planning. The result of what is currently happening is trapping poor people in an unbreakable cycle of poverty, which in turn creates pressure on the social safety net. Or, as viewed through the simplistic, out-of-context of Kevin Williamson: "We should murder the infants of poor minorities in front of their parents to teach them a lesson."

Again, this has very little directly in common with the fact that the Mackinac Center thought that his book on the positive side of causing the United States to collapse through a mass effort to not pay taxes was something to sponsor a lunch over, but it is indicative of the kind of care in making arguments that the Mackinac Center endorses.

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