The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s previous comments about Roe v. Wade are receiving renewed attention after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a major abortion case earlier this week.
During her tenure on the court, which spanned more than a quarter of a century, Ginsburg consistently voted to strike down restrictions on abortion. The liberal justice was among the majority of justices who struck down a Nebraska law banning partial-birth abortion in Stenberg v. Carhart and who struck down laws in Texas and Louisiana requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at hospitals near the clinics where they work. She dissented in the case of Gonzales v. Carhart, where the Supreme Court upheld the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.
Since Ginsburg’s death last year and her subsequent replacement by Amy Coney Barrett, progressives have grown increasingly concerned about the possibility that the central holding of the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, that women have the right to obtain an abortion, might be overturned or weakened. While Ginsburg supported upholding the right to abortion found in Roe, she did make comments taking issue with the reach of the decision and its impact throughout the course of her career as a lawyer and Supreme Court justice.
Conservative commentator Steven Crowder, host of the “Louder With Crowder” podcast, posted some of Ginsburg’s comments about Roe v. Wade on his Twitter account Wednesday, the same day the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. In the Dobbs case, the justices will decide whether to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban or affirm a lower court ruling striking it down.
In one of the quotes shared by Crowder during his show on Thursday, Ginsburg elaborated on her concerns about Roe v. Wade. In the clip posted by Bloomberg of Ginsburg talking with David Rubenstein in 2019, she asserted that “Some women felt that I should have been 100 percent in favor of Roe v. Wade, because I wasn’t.”
In a separate statement shared by Crowder and many other pro-lifers this week, Ginsburg is seen during a talk at The University of Chicago Law School on May 11, 2013, saying, “Roe isn’t really about the woman’s choice, is it? It’s about the doctor’s freedom to practice … it wasn’t woman-centered, it was physician-centered.”
“My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum on the side of change,” Ginsburg added.
During remarks on “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” in 2019, Ginsburg recalled that at the time President Bill Clinton was first considering appointing her to the Supreme Court in 1993, some women opposed her nomination because of some of her comments about Roe v. Wade. Ginsburg elaborated on the aspects of her analysis that raised concerns among some pro-choice women at the time.
“The court had an easy target because the Texas law was the most extreme in the nation,” she maintained. Ginsburg explained that based on the Texas law at the center of Roe v. Wade, “abortion could be had only if necessary to save the woman’s life” with no exceptions for rape or incest.
“I thought that Roe v. Wade was an easy case and the Supreme Court could have held that most extreme law unconstitutional and put down its pen,” she added. “Instead, the court wrote an opinion that made every abortion restriction in the country illegal in one fell swoop and that was not the way that the court ordinarily operates.”
During her 2013 talk at The University of Chicago Law School that coincided with the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Ginsburg contended that the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe gave “the opponents of access to abortion … a target to aim at relentlessly and attributed not to the democratic process, but to nine unelected old men.” She also expressed her belief that Roe seemed to “stop the momentum” of the pro-abortion movement and breathe new life into the pro-life movement.
“The history of the year since then is that the momentum, momentum has been on the other side. The cases that we get now on abortion are all about restrictions on access to abortion and not about expanding the rights of women.”
As the Dobbs case dominated national headlines, Crowder raised concerns that big tech companies such as Google, which largely sympathize with the pro-abortion movement and support Roe v. Wade, are working to suppress Ginsburg’s remarks on the Supreme Court case. In the show notes for the Dec. 2 episode of his podcast, Crowder showed how Google had suppressed searches for her opinion of the case.
Crowder said: “When you type ‘Ruth Bader Ginsburg Roe v’ into Google, it doesn’t autofill like it should and does for other things, like books and movies.” Crowder provided a screenshot of a Google search featuring the term “Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” where auto-fill options generated by Google included her name followed by “quotes,” “movie,” “young,” “age,” “costume,” “accomplishments,” “husband,” “cause of death,” “book” and “daughter.”
The Christian Post did a similar search Thursday evening and found that "Ruth Bader Ginsburg Roe v" was the third to last autofill option on Google.
A Google search for “Ruth Bader Ginsburg” on Friday morning found the words “Ruth Bader Ginsburg roe v” placed below auto-fill suggestions featuring her name followed by the words “quotes,” “movie” and “grave” with three additional auto-fill suggestions appearing below “roe v.”
The justices are expected to make a decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health by June 2022 at the latest. A decision in favor of Mississippi, which is seeking to uphold its 15-week abortion ban, would not have the effect of banning abortion in all 50 states but would give states more leeway to pass similar abortion bans and chip away at the precedent set by Roe and the 1992 Supreme Court decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the right to an abortion found in Roe.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org