The lawsuit challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of abortion drugs is about more than a technical issue of administrative law. It also reveals a lot about how abortion advocates view their fellow human beings.
In this case, Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, medical associations argue that the FDA did not meet legal standards when it approved the combination of the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol for an abortion pill in 2000.
These allied groups have asked a federal judge in Texas to impose an injunction on the marketing of these abortion pills while the legality of the FDA approval is fully litigated.
A declaration filed in the case by Jason Lindo, an economics professor at Texas A&M University, on behalf of abortion advocates reveals much about them.
Lindo explains that his research interests include “the economic effects of abortion and contraception policies.” His statement contains many unfounded claims and completely speculative assertions about what would happen if chemical abortions weren’t available. But it’s his utilitarian statements about the unborn that are especially troubling.
Lindo, for example, describes certain expectations about the children of “people who seek but are unable to obtain an abortion.” In that scenario, he claims, children “are expected to do worse in school, to have more behavioral and social issues, and ultimately to attain lower levels of completed education.”
These children, Lindo states, “are also expected to have lower earnings as adults, poorer health, and an increased likelihood of criminal involvement.” In comparing the two scenarios, he suggests that killing a child by abortion is preferable to allowing the child to live.
This theory is not new, but has roots in both the eugenics movement and so-called scholarship. In May 2001, for example, John Donohue and Steven Levitt published an article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics titled “The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime.”
The authors began this way: “We offer evidence that legalized abortion has contributed significantly to recent crime reductions.” They argue that “higher rates of abortion … are strongly linked to lower crime” and that [legalized abortion “appears to account for as much as 50% of the recent drop in crime.”
Cursory scrutiny of Lindo’s claims reveals some disturbing implications. According to the Pew Research Center, 39% of all women who have abortions are black and 22% are Hispanic, significantly higher percentages than the overall population.
The abortion rate nationwide is four times higher for black women than for white women. In New York City, more black children are aborted than are allowed to be born.
Doesn’t the Donohue-Levitt-Lindo “more abortions-less crime” thesis therefore hold that black and Hispanic children are disproportionately more likely than white children to become criminals if they are allowed to be born?
Or consider this. Arguments such as Lindo’s suggest that simply speculating about a child’s possible future is enough to justify killing that child in the womb. But then, for those who make it to birth, society immediately has a robust commitment to improve their health, education, and other socioeconomic prospects.
The very same children whose lives could be forfeited shortly before birth suddenly become the object of intense government support shortly after birth. This jarring inconsistency shows that the essential value of human life changes, both arbitrarily and irrationally, apparently based on little more than the shifting political winds.
In addition to building on past scholarship, advocates of aborting those whose future lives may not meet a particular fitness standard echo eugenics movement leaders such as Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. Sanger, of course, said in a letter that “we don’t want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”
Sanger viewed minorities as “unfit” to raise children and believed that abortion and contraception are “the most adequate and thorough [avenues] to the solution of racial, political, and social problems.”
Although the legal challenge now underway against the abortion pill has led abortion advocates to attempt sanitizing these arguments with an anti-crime rescrubbing, the fundamental issue about abortion remains the same.
Do human beings have inherent worth and dignity, or don’t they?
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal