Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nixon on Abortion: Might Be "Necessary" With a "Black and a White. . .Or a Rape"

The National Archives has released more recordings and transcripts of Richard Nixon's notorious taped conversations in the Oval Office. The National Archives also released thousands of pages of documents from the Nixon White House.

Charlie Savage analyzes the tapes and documents in a New York Times article. The article includes links to the recordings.

The recorded conversations cover many subjects, including Watergate (subpoenaed recordings of those conversations led to Nixon's resignation). Nixon's comments on abortion, however, stand out in Savage's article:
Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases, such as interracial pregnancies.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding: “Or a rape.”
Nixon's comments leave the impression that he viewed rape and sex between blacks and whites (translation: black men and white women) as moral or factual equivalents.

Notes of a conversation between Nixon and Ronald Reagan (then Governor of California) reveal that Reagan praised the infamous Saturday Night Massacre as “probably the best thing that ever happened — none of them belong where they were. . . ." Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork, the only person in the Department of Justice whom Nixon could convince to fire the Independent Prosecutor investigating the Watergate burglary, to the United States Court of Appeals and, subsequently (and unsuccessfully), to the United States Supreme Court.

See: New York Times: Tapes Reveal Nixon’s View of Abortion


Donald Douglas said...

"Nixon's comments leave the impression that he viewed rape and sex between blacks and whites (translation: black men and white women) as moral or factual equivalents."

He did.

I have a post on this you might find interesting: "Nixon Would Have Aborted Me!".

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Sorry, DD - but the pro-life "race card" does not move me whatsoever, and I have written on the subject before. See: Pro-Life Race Card: Anti-Choice Activists Blow a Gasket Over Lifting of "Global Gag Rule" and Trying to "Get" Hillary Clinton, Mona Charen Contradicts Her Statistics.

Nixon's comments are not "bad" because he advocates abortion. Instead, they are bad because they advocate white supremacy and bigotry. And I read your blog post. Thanks for the link. But calling abortion "genocide" leaves out some very important issues -- like the element of "choice" (not to mention your assigning a singular definition to "life" that treats abortion as murder).

Alessandro Machi said...

Was it possible Nixon was viewing how the child would be viewed by society at that time after being born?

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Alessandro: There's a court case Palmore v Sidotti that overturns a family court ruling that altered a custody decision after the white mother married a black man. The family judge used the "society" is racist argument.

But -- my primary point is that this could justify aborting people of color generally, not just biracials (which is a complicated term anyway). If racism exists for biracial individuals, it exists for all people of color (perhaps even more so).

Donald Douglas said...

"Sorry, DD - but the pro-life "race card" does not move me whatsoever..."

Nor does it move anyone indifferent to life.

And here's the thing: Nowhere do I excuse the bigotry. The left's double standard on this is shocking. Professor Carol Swain nailed it at her essay, "Surely, the first black President of the United States knows that the greatest civil right is the right to life, which is being robbed from African Americans at a disproportionate rate."

I left the link for you to WRITE something in response. I thought you might respond above and beyond providing the usual left-wing moral depravity ...

repsac3 said...

I'll bite, Dr. Douglas...

"The left's--as though there is such a monolithic entity, in the first place--double standard" is what, exactly? Do those on the left who support reproductive choice not advocate for women of every race (and religion, and class, and whatever other group you can name) to have the same degree of choice in these matters? Please explain more clearly the double standard about which you speak.

Moral depravity is in the eye of the beholder. Some think it depraved to believe that government should be able to force women to birth and raise children against their will.

You should really read the links Professor Hutchinson left for you, before demanding that he respond when, where, & how you wish him to. It looks to me like he wrote the response months before you even posed the question. On the other hand, as with Conor Friedersdorf, and his disrespect in not replying to your posts as you wished him to, people have the right to dismiss a person's arguments as unworthy of reply, even if that person is you... Sometimes, Dr. Douglas, the lack of response IS the response.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Donald Douglas, I left you two links regarding this issue. The link to articles I wrote on this very subject long before your post. Kindly read them. I do not need to repeat the arguments (although I summarized them here and on your blog).

Repsac3: Thanks! You are on the money in your response -- although you are probably just another example of "the usual left-wing moral depravity."

Anonymous said...

Funny how blacks lead in abortion numbers something like 3 or 4 to 1 white child. Nonetheless the media and other liberal lunk heads are trying to further tarnish the Nixon legacy, which stands as probably the second or third best president in my 51 year lifetime. Inter-racial mixing was not considered the norm for the time. So it was not unordinary for someone, (black or white) to feel this way.

When I think of what Nixon suffered for spying on the democrats, compared to what politicians get away with today, it is laughable. Nixon believed in the United States constitution, its military and our freedoms.

Aspasia said...

"(translation: black men and white women)"

I doubt he would've been overwhelmingly supportive of black women and white men. Racism usually doesn't get so nuanced, but it is amazing that coupling is always overlooked or dismissed when talk turns to loving interracial relationships.


A woman of color who has dated white men, apparently against the odds.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

On the contrary -- racism has been nuanced. Historically, the racial prohibition on sexuality was most vigorously enforced in the instance (real or imagined) between black men and white women. You can examine statistics and studies in the area of lynching, the death penalty and law during slavery to confirm this. White heterosexual male sexuality has not been brutally regulated in this country.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Anonymous: your statement about "interracial mixing" is distorted. First, even today, the vast majority of marriages are intraracial. But in terms of acceptance, during Nixon's presidency this was not an issue that would lead people to demand abortion. In fact, the Court had already decided the case Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated the 16 remaining state laws that prohibited interracial marriage.

Also, another blogger has posted on abortion and race. Even assuming the accuracy of the statistics that you cite, this is not a reason to oppose abortion. Nixon's comments, as I previously argued, are offensive because they are bigoted, not because they evidence flexibility on abortion. There is absolutely nothing wrong or inconsistent with liberals opposing racism. There is nothing wrong with liberals supporting the right for ALL women to have access to safe and healthy abortions AND to prenatal care and birth control (something that many conservatives, ironically, oppose).

Real Time Analytics