Misrepresenting Justice Ginsburg's Abortion Comment

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We write in response to Michael Gerson's op-ed suggesting that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or her associates believe Medicaid should cover abortion services to control the population of "social undesirables," to use Mr. Gerson's term ["Justice Ginsburg in Context," July 17]. We find the claim incredible, as would anyone acquainted with Justice Ginsburg's work who is not out to damage her reputation. As a lawyer, Justice Ginsburg fought for the right of pregnant women not to be subjected to coerced abortion. For four decades, she has defended the rights of working women to provide for their families.

Mr. Gerson's accusation is a classic case of twisting a person's words -- Justice Ginsburg was describing the views of others -- and using them against her to score political points. Does Mr. Gerson -- formerly a speechwriter for George W. Bush -- show any interest in understanding what Justice Ginsburg actually meant?

Given politics like this, it's no wonder Judge Sonia Sotomayor chose her words so carefully during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings.


Durham, N.C.


New Haven, Conn.

Neil S. Siegel was a law clerk for Justice Ginsburg from 2003 to 2004.

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