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  • Norman Young

Racism and Abortion Go Hand in Hand

This was not a good week for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Just yesterday, a yearbook photo emerged of the governor dressed in full KKK regalia posing with his friend who was dressed in blackface. This revelation came out while the governor was already the center controversy for remarks he made in defense of Virginia House Bill 2491, which threatens to legalize abortion up until the moment of delivery. In his comments, Northam seemed to advocate keeping a delivered infant alive and "comfortable" while doctors and mother considered whether to commit infanticide.

These two scandals are not unrelated. Abortion and racism have always been twin branches from the same eugenic root.

The logic of abortion is eugenic. In Northam's own comments, he attempted to justify the stance of Virginia Democrats by pointing out that some unwanted babies might be "severely deformed." Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, made a similar case for the sterilization of the genetically unfit—a position she argued in front of the Ku Klux Klan. Other modern versions of this eugenic logic are used to argue that abortion improves society either by reducing crime or by increasing average intelligence, both of which are not-so-subtle ways of implying that poor people are genetically deficient and shouldn't breed.

The logic of racism is also eugenic. If you scratch the surface of the alt-Right in America or the far-Right in Europe, you will find that these groups are unanimously in favor of eugenics. In fact, ideological racism depends on the view that the genetics of one's own race are superior, or at the very least preferable, to the genes of other races. Thus, it should be no surprise that the regimes in history which focused on their own racial superiority were also known to exterminate their own kind, provided they were disabled, feeble-minded, or otherwise genetically "undesirable."

Eugenic arguments tend to have a harder time making headway in America than in Europe. For instance, while European nations compete with one another to eliminate Downs Syndrome through prenatal testing and abortion, in America, a man with Downs Syndrome testifies before Congress on behalf of the "undesirable" children who have been discriminated against. There are two important reasons for this difference. First, America remains more religiously Christian than Europe. Second, Americans have no ethnic identity, and thus have no reason to fear genetic "contamination."

Those who put pride in ethnic identity are more susceptible to eugenic arguments, and thus will tend to be supportive of abortion. Those who put no stock in race will more easily resist the eugenic siren song. Last month, a group of pro-Life Catholic boys were confronted by a racial supremacist group known as the Black Hebrew Israelites. Many people were shocked by the kind of epithets this racist group threw at the boys. But what should not have been surprising is that many of these insults were dysgenic (e.g. "incest babies"). That pretty much comes with the territory of racial supremacy.

Not everyone who adopts the logic of eugenics is a racist, but every racist uses the logic of eugenics. Not everyone who adopts the logic of eugenics supports abortion, but every abortion advocate eventually ends up using eugenic arguments. As the Democrat Party doubles-down on racial identity politics, expect their support for abortion to increase proportionally. And if the alt-Right ever makes headway in the Republican Party, expect it to come with a corresponding decrease in concern for Life issues.

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