The American Civil Liberties Union was once a serious and principled organization.
Now, it’s run by deeply unserious people who have surrendered the organization’s dignity and reputation to the constantly changing demands of partisanship and of a chronically displeased “woke.”
On Wednesday, in lengthy online criticism aimed at Republican-crafted pro-life laws, the ACLU shared a quote from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The quote, as presented by the ACLU, reads [emphases added], “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to either [their] well-being and dignity. … When the government controls that decision for [people], [they are] being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for [their] own choices.”
This is not what Ginsburg said.
Her exact words read as follows: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choice.”
There is a significant difference between what Ginsburg said and what the ACLU alleges she said. She referred specifically to "women," not an ambiguous "they," for a reason.
What the ACLU did here is no small thing, redacting the quote’s gendered language to accommodate the preposterous notion that women aren’t the only ones who can get pregnant.
For starters, the revisions undercut Ginsburg’s point entirely. The thrust of her argument is that women must be allowed to exercise the same of autonomy enjoyed by men, who don’t have to carry pregnancies. She is arguing that to deny a woman access to abortion is to deny her autonomy, to treat her as “less than.”
To remove gender from the equation, reducing all participants to sexless “theys,” is to render Ginsburg’s argument utterly meaningless. In fact, removing all references to “woman,” “she,” and “her” in favor of androgynous (and grammatically incorrect) terms such as “person,” “they,” and “their” actually erases women on behalf of special interests. How’s that for irony?
It’s nonsensical, it’s self-defeating, it’s historical revisionism, and it’s all done in the name of the Left’s current definition of “equity.”
“Equity,” sure — but for whom?
Secondly, it's wrong, immoral even, to alter a matter of historical record to force it to conform the accepted pieties of our time. This is a positively Sovietic tactic, which is a bit ironic considering the ACLU is supposed to be in the business of civil liberties. Indeed, the ACLU was, at one point, the great defender of the First Amendment and the right to freedom of expression. There was a time when the ACLU would’ve fought tooth and nail against what the ACLU did this week.
Sadly, the once-principled organization is now in the business of partisan left-wing activism, going so far as to scrub old quotes to destroy their original meaning and intent. And it’s all done for the benefit of activists who refuse to be appeased. I don’t imagine anyone would ever accuse Ginsburg, of all people, of being a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” But if such people exist, I assure you that no amount of redaction or revisionism will ever satisfy them. They are bound to their anger.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that the ACLU itself used gendered language this week when it tweeted the revised quote.
“With Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death,” the supposed civil rights organization said, “we lost a champion for abortion and gender equality. And on the anniversary of her death, the fight to protect abortion access is more urgent than ever.”
"Her” death? Whoa, slow down, bigot!
Finally, if your defense of abortion involves sharing an inspirational quote with no fewer than five — five! — redactions, then maybe consider finding a new quote.