DANIEL VAUGHAN: Alabama Democrat promotes eugenics in defense of abortion

May 6, 2019

DANIEL VAUGHAN: Alabama Democrat promotes eugenics in defense of abortion

Each new state law on abortion, whether drafted by Democrats or Republicans, reveals new levels of extremism in the Democratic Party. Earlier this year, state bills in New York, Virginia, and elsewhere showed a frightening number of Democrats were fine with killing infants at the moment of birth.

The latest egregious remarks come to us from Alabama Democratic State Rep. John Rogers, who said some babies should die now to avoid killing them later. Rogers went on to say that Donald Trump, Jr. is “retarded,” and should have been aborted.

Rogers’ comments were so appalling that he forced recently elected U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) to call on him to apologize and recant: “It’s very very unfortunate, and I completely condemn all of those comments… That should not happen on either side of the political aisle, and unfortunately, it’s become a political issue.”

The state representative’s remarks came during debate over a bill that recently passed Alabama’s state House — and was subsequently sent to the state Senate — that would make abortions a felony, with no exceptions for rape or incest — only if the health of the mother is at stake. The bill passed the House with 74 votes in favor and only 3 against it.

Rogers’ remarks shocked anyone listening. National Review reported:

“It ought to be a woman’s choice,” said Representative John Rogers of Birmingham. “I’m not about to be a man and tell a woman what to do with her body. She has a right to make her decisions herself.”

“Some kids are unwanted,” he went on. “So you kill them now or you kill them later. You bring them into the world unwanted, unloved, then send them to the electric chair. So you kill them now or kill them later.”

As National Review writer Alexandra Desanctis correctly notes of Rogers comments, “[They’re] a striking reminder of how rarely abortion-rights activists openly admit the reality of the right they are demanding.”

Rogers is openly saying that fetal life is a human life, and he’s not hiding behind the false tropes of “clump of cells” or the word “fetus.” Rogers is taking the current position of pro-choice Democrats to its logical conclusion: if life is not wanted, we can arbitrarily label it as non-life and kill it.

The Trump administration’s change of the federal judiciary is part of the sudden surge of extremism on the left. Fearing the end of the Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey legal framework, progressive activists are scrambling to any argument for support.

As George Will observed in a column on the various “heartbeat” bills across the country, pro-choice activists are attempting to “normalize extreme abortion practices expressive of the belief that never does fetal life have more moral significance than a tumor in a mother’s stomach.”

But what Rogers brings up is not just an extreme example of pro-abortion sentiment; it’s also a disturbing pro-eugenics stance. Eugenics was the early 20th-century attempt among progressives to control the human population through selective breeding and sterilization enforced by state power.

The zenith of the eugenics movement in America was the appalling case Buck v. Bell, in which Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr. thundered down his infamous epithet, “Three generations of imbeciles is enough,” in upholding the state power to choose who was sterilized.

Holmes and the progressive movement of the early 20th century were backed by Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who openly supported eugenics and the elimination of blacks. In an interview with Mike Wallace in 1957, Sanger opined:

I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world — that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin that people can — can commit.

In a letter to a friend in 1939, Sanger was even more blunt, saying: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

It’s shocking, but not surprising, to see that nothing has changed in the progressive movement from the 1930s to the present. They’re still trying to manipulate the human population for the same reasons.

Indeed, Rogers’ comments are no less appalling than what you’d find from a garden variety racist politician in the 1930s. When the United States put the Nazis on trial for their war crimes and atrocities, the Nazis cited American eugenicists and cases like Buck v. Bell in defense of their actions.

What Rogers and others are asserting with this argument is not family planning. Using birth control or practicing abstinence is a form of family planning. Killing life to get rid of “the unwanted” is a reformation of the demented pseudo-scientific eugenics beliefs of the Nazi and progressive eras.

“Eugenics asserts,” according to G.K. Chesterton, “that all men must be so stupid that they cannot manage their own affairs; and also so clever that they can manage each other’s.”

As we witness eugenics return to the forefront as a defense of abortion, that reality emphasizes the need for the Supreme Court to reverse the Roe-Casey legal framework. Letting these cases continue as precedent is allowing the very worst impulses and beliefs of humanity to spring back up and fester in the body politic.

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Daniel Vaughan

Daniel Vaughan is a columnist for the Conservative Institute and lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee. He has degrees from Middle Tennessee State University and Regent University School of Law. His work can be found on the Conservative Institute's website, or you can receive his columns and free weekly newsletter at The Beltway Outsiders. Connect with him on Twitter at @dvaughanCI.