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Old 06-24-2009, 06:59 PM   #1
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Nixon's view of abortion

President Richard Nixon said it was 'necessary' to abort mixed-race babies, tapes reveal - Telegraph

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Commenting privately on the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe vs Wade, which decriminalised abortion in the US, the then-president said he worried that access to a legal abortion could lead to "permissiveness" because "it breaks the family" but thought them justified in certain cases.

"There are times when an abortion is necessary," he told his aide Chuck Colson. "I know that. When you have a black and a white." Mr Colson offered that rape might also make an abortion legitimate, prompting Mr Nixon to respond: "Or a rape."

I guess this will be a tricky topic for some FYM'rs. However, logically it seems to me that no abortion on demand advocate can condemn Nixon's views on this without being accused of a double standard.

I disagree with Nixon on this, and strongly condemn his racist view that abortion should be available to parents purely on the basis that they didn't like the colour of skin of their offspring. Where does it end? Pretty soon, with scientific advancements, we could have parents who abort their babies because they do not meet a certain IQ level, or whatever.

Confusing, gang? Not as black or white as some paint it, wha'?
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:12 PM   #2
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I've seen some discussion recently about selective abortion, and I don't think that's right. But when you're for reproductive rights, you can't start making judgement calls about when it's right or wrong for someone to have an abortion.

But if the mother still has that choice (and bringing this specific situation into the mix) one could assume that a mother who's already had sex with someone of a different race is probably not a racist asshole who's going to abort because "oh noez, mixed-race baby!"

But some people are pretty messed up in the head, so it wouldn't surprise me that there might exist a person who would think "Well, I'll have sex with them, but no way am I having a mixed-race baby!"

Wow, I'm rambling. And that might not even make any sense.

So, to summarize: Richard Nixon was a racist asshole.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:12 PM   #3
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...Not as black or white as some paint it, if you'll pardon the pun, you mean.

And with that, I step out of this debate.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:18 PM   #4
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In 1973 I was 17 and living in Los Angeles.

Nixon was no worse than most of the people of his generation. Such as, John and Bobby Kennedy.


I am not excusing the racists, sexists and anti-gay remarks that were prevalent in that era.

You will see it in the ads and movies if you look for it.

Madmen T V series does a pretty decent job re-creating some of it.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:33 PM   #5
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How is this even a tricky topic? It's a pointless topic.

Is this what you consider a "gotcha" thread? Do you honestly think you've uncovered some great hypocrisy here?
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BVS View Post
How is this even a tricky topic? It's a pointless topic.

Is this what you consider a "gotcha" thread? Do you honestly think you've uncovered some great hypocrisy here?
It's tricky for you, because it exposes that extremes of liberalism trend towards fascism.

Supporting no restrictions on abortion whatsoever is an extreme point of view - but not on FYM. My view is in agreement with the majority of the US public.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by corianderstem View Post
But if the mother still has that choice (and bringing this specific situation into the mix) one could assume that a mother who's already had sex with someone of a different race is probably not a racist asshole who's going to abort because "oh noez, mixed-race baby!"
Although--given the era--frankly it wouldn't surprise me if what Nixon was more envisioning when he said that was actually a scenario where an (unmarried) white girl or young woman gets pregnant with a black man's child, then is forced by her family to have an abortion because 'No daughter/sister/etc. of mine is gonna have some --'s baby'.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:48 PM   #8
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It's tricky for you, because it exposes that extremes of liberalism trend towards fascism.
How does it expose this except for in the confides of your mind?

This scenario is horrible. So if I find a wrong reason to justify something that means I'm exposing a hypocrisy? What world do you live in?

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Supporting no restrictions on abortion whatsoever is an extreme point of view - but not on FYM. My view is in agreement with the majority of the US public.
And majorities are always right.

I'm learning so much today.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by deep View Post
In 1973 I was 17 and living in Los Angeles.

Nixon was no worse than most of the people of his generation. Such as, John and Bobby Kennedy.


I am not excusing the racists, sexists and anti-gay remarks that were prevalent in that era.

You will see it in the ads and movies if you look for it.

Madmen T V series does a pretty decent job re-creating some of it.
I was the sixteen, during the same year, living in Baltimore, Md. and your are right.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:12 PM   #10
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Good thing he never got Obama's mama to abort her mixed race child
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:24 PM   #11
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Although--given the era--frankly it wouldn't surprise me if what Nixon was more envisioning when he said that was actually a scenario where an (unmarried) white girl or young woman gets pregnant with a black man's child, then is forced by her family to have an abortion because 'No daughter/sister/etc. of mine is gonna have some --'s baby'.
Hmm. I suppose so, but the way the quote reads it doesn't hint at a lot of nuance behind the comment, you know?
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:47 PM   #12
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I like the point.

All of these moral debates, abortion, marriage, etc... require a line to be drawn somewhere, no?

Is there a line for reproduction rights? Is there a line for marriage? Or should it simply be up to the indivual, all the time?

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Old 06-24-2009, 11:04 PM   #13
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Or should it simply be up to the indivual, all the time?

Yes.... ?
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by A stor View Post
I was the sixteen, during the same year, living in Baltimore, Md. and your are right.
my mom was 20 and in baltimore, but yeah. racism was still pretty prevalent in those days. i can't exactly say i'm shocked by what nixon said, though i don't think any less of him as it's pretty hard to.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:20 PM   #15
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I like the point.

Is there a line for reproduction rights? Is there a line for marriage? Or should it simply be up to the indivual, all the time?

You do?

Well here's what I wrote in the other thread where he typed the same exact thing:

Quote:
We can't place restrictions because how would you do so? You can't prove rape in all scenarios, you can't prove if it's for racism views, etc... So if you believe abortion is ok in scenarios of rape then you have to support choice, there's no way around it. Are you going to make women prove it in court, tie them up for months and then if she's found to be in deed raped have a late term abortion?

To me you are for choice or you are hard line there is no scenario under the sun. That's pretty much it, the rest is just debating hypotheticals.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:08 AM   #16
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So let me get this straight - if pro-choice advocates agree that it's okay for a woman to terminate a pregnancy that resulted from a mixed race sexual encounter, we're racist, just like Richard Nixon?

Any woman should have that option, and the reasons are none of our business.


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I guess this will be a tricky topic for some FYM'rs.
Only for you, it seems.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:15 AM   #17
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Hmm. I suppose so, but the way the quote reads it doesn't hint at a lot of nuance behind the comment, you know?
I understand what you're saying, but actually I was more deriving that from speculating about the broader social context informing the discussion, not assumptions about his unspoken thought process. It's 1973, 6 years since Loving v. Virginia legalized interracial marriage; just 10 months since the Pill was legalized for unmarried women; tensions between the youth counterculture and the socially conservative Old Guard (Nixon's base) are still running fairly high; and you have what for the times are these two moderately sexist, moderately racist older white men (both with daughters) trading reactions to Roe v. Wade. (Nixon: "Abortions encourage permissiveness. A girl gets knocked up...she goes down to the doctor, wants to get an abortion for $5 or whatever." Colson laments that yes, abortions encourage "permissiveness" and "promiscuousness"; Nixon assents, "It breaks the family.") This is a paternalistic criticism of abortion, based on notions of women's character and proper role within the family, rather than 'do fetuses have rights.' Then you have this dutiful recognition that, naturally, the sensible man realizes there are times when it's "necessary"...like when it's "a black and a white," for example. I don't think it's that much of a stretch to imagine that one possible mutually understood (racist, sexist) subtext here might've been: You know how it is, the circles kids fall in with these days; your girl could really get herself in a lot of trouble, and having certain...backups around means you can rescue her from a world of shame for everyone.

I'm not saying I'm convinced of that by any means. But honestly it does seem to me as plausible as the only other interpretation I can think of, which is that he literally and categorically meant 'Now of course, any woman pregnant with a mixed-race baby should be getting an abortion.' Maybe. On the one hand Nixon was, so far as I know, consistent and sincere in considering legal segregation one of the greatest historical sins of America, and if he'd had issues with (for example) Loving v. Virginia--which was obviously pathbreaking for interracial families--I've never heard of it; on the other hand, he certainly held some highly condescending and distrustful attitudes towards black people, so it's hard to know. I guess it comes down to, was he simply so racist as to find all thought of interracial children wholly disgusting? Or was this the 'middle path' Richard Nixon--who actually quite skillfully (in a political, not moral, sense) played the race policy agendas of the liberal Northern Dems and the George C. Wallace types off against each other while not being of either--displaying his 'pragmatic' understanding of, and comfort with, his own voter base's racist/sexist sensibilities without actually expecting that everyone should think this way?




Aaaaanyway, on a brief off-topic note, from the OP-linked article:
Quote:
Mr Nixon agreed with [Rev. Billy Graham] that Jewish-American leaders who opposed efforts to spread Christianity were in danger of triggering an anti-Semitic backlash: "What I really think is deep down in this country, there is a lot of anti-Semitism, and all this is going to do is stir it up. It may be they have a death wish. You know that's been the problem with our Jewish friends for centuries."
While I'm glad to live in a time when it would be truly jolting to think your President freely says such things in private (though Nixon was President when I was born), reading this in 2009, it just sounds so fantastically warped that I couldn't help but giggle.
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:39 AM   #18
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However, logically it seems to me that no abortion on demand advocate can condemn Nixon's views on this without being accused of a double standard.
Double standard with regards to what, exactly? For someone to hold racist beliefs or attitudes, however 'condemnable,' is perfectly legal, so long as they're not limiting the constitutionally due rights and freedoms of others on those grounds. And if you're pro-choice, you presumably wouldn't see having an abortion as doing that to begin with.

Sex selection might be a better example in that it can have untenable demographic consequences in the longterm, as several Asian countries have discovered--hence laws banning the use of ultrasounds to determine sex, as well as a slew of development policies intended to improve women's socioeconomic standing and therefore perceived value to parents. These measures aren't about the legality of being 'sexist towards fetuses' as such, though; they're about the state's interest in avoiding the potential social upheavals caused by an excess of men who can't find partners.

Or am I not understanding your question?
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:18 AM   #19
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Yes, choosing the sex is a great example. In the future, there will be hundreds of options to choose from for your baby, and unfortunately, all of them could be grounds for someone to terminate their pregnancy, whether justified, or yes, even racist reasons.

Same with marriage. It's going to get tricky when people cohabitate for other reasons than traditional love, or sex, or raising of children. You might choose to partner with someone for completely other reasons, and it seems that will have to leave that up to the indivuals as well -- and trust that when they check the box "domestic partner" on the official government form, that their reasons for partnership are legit.

Or do we draw the line somewhere, legislatively? (is that a word?)
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:52 AM   #20
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ah Nixon, what a class act
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