The tiny shadow of a human being known as Justice Ruth Ginsburg peeked out from under that black robe of reason and justice to give a public speech at the Aspen Ideas Festival earlier this week. What did the 100lb spitfire have to say? Apparently quite a bit. She spoke openly about abortion and Roe v. Wade:
On the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which made a first-trimester abortion a constitutionally protected right, “We will never go back to the way it once was,” Ginsburg declared, to huge applause. “It wasn’t all that controversial. It was a 7 to 2 decision with only two dissenters.” If the court were to change its mind, “there won’t be any real change for anyone in this audience or any daughters of anyone in this audience,” Ginsburg said. “The only women who would be truly affected are poor women. Because even at the time before Roe, women who wanted abortions could have a safe, legal abortion…Women could travel from one state to another and didn’t have to go to Japan or Cuba…Whatever the court may do, it’s only the poor women who will suffer. When people realize that, maybe they will have a different attitude.”
Bold words! I love that she isn’t afraid to discuss the real …
… consequences of Supreme Court decisions. Too often we like to place these concepts on pedestals and think about these types of decisions in the abstract of what should or should not be allowed. But in reality, there are consequences of decisions that change the nature of the argument. She’s right. By making abortion illegal, it will not stop all abortions from happening; it will merely change the conditions under which they occur. Once this is apparent, the discussion about the decision changes dramatically. Even with issues so highly charged with morality issues, the “shoulds” become a little less important.
Justice Ginsburg also said a few other things at the Festival, including openly welcoming Elena Kagan as the third sitting woman on the court– and no, you didn’t miss Kagan’s confirmation. Either Ginsburg has honed her clairvoyance (I wouldn’t put this past her, homegirl is pretty badass for a 77 year old), or she’s fairly confident that Kagan will be successfully confirmed by the Senate (not an uncommon position in Washington). She spoke of her personal relationship with Kagan and defended her qualifications. How sweet of her.
Notably, she also spoke of her late husband, describing him as “the first boy I ever met who cared that I had a brain.” Honestly, that just melts my tiny heart. I applaud her for getting a little personal here. I think it sets a great precedent to prove for young women who might want a high power career, but are afraid that such a career excludes other aspects of life.
Opinions on Justice Ginsburg’s comments? Do you think a change in the Court’s position on abortion will only hurt poor women? Isn’t this woman just great?