A Response to Professor Tribe’s Deeply Deceptive Claims About Race, Racism, and Abortion


Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe recently offered a stunningly false claim regarding abortion. He stated:

White Supremacists oppose abortion because they fear it’ll reduce the number of white infants and thus contribute to what they fear as non-white “replacement.”

Virtually anyone armed with a minute amount of commonsense and an elementary understanding of history knows that Professor Tribe’s analysis of abortion is hugely deficient. As I have shown in my law review article, Waging War on the “Unfit” From Plessy v. Ferguson to New Deal Labor Law,  history unmistakably shows that the pursuit of unlimited abortion arose out of a eugenics program featuring links between German and U.S. eugenicists. These links were part of an ascendant campaign favoring involuntary sterilization that culminated in the state of Virginia becoming a leader in the movement to prevent interracial marriages on grounds that “interbreeding” poses a public health risk.

These moves appear consistent with the advocacy of the founder of Planned Parenthood’s reputation—Margaret Sanger—who clearly identified African Americans as among those members of the human race whose reproduction she wanted to control.

Consistent with such claims and contrary to Professor Tribe’s observations, Planned Parenthood has profited immensely from aborting African American babies. The statistics show that African American women have 27.1 abortions per year per 1,000 women whereas white women have 10 abortions per 1,000 women. Such statistics reveal that African Americans are aborted at a rate that is 2.7 times the rate of white babies despite Professor Tribe’s ill-informed claims. Indeed, abortion is the biggest single negative force reducing the growth of the African American population. One estimate shows from 1967 through June 2018 that abortions equaled 48% of the current African American population.

Professor Tribe has demonstrated his incoherence as he inverts pertinent statistics on abortion. This signifies four things:

First, he should immediately retract his bogus claims.

Second, if Black lives truly matter to Professor Tribe, he should favor more live births of African American babies and switch sides and adopt a pro-life position.

Third, if he really believes that white supremacy aims to reduce the number of minority births, then the logic of his analysis would require him to label the pro-abortion position of Planned Parenthood as one that is harmonious with white supremacists’ efforts.

Finally, he should support the efforts of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and help stop abortion now, protect life everywhere, and defund Margaret Sanger’s intellectual offspring—Planned Parenthood.

Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.

Harry G. Hutchison is Senior Counsel and Director of Policy for the ACLJ.  He has served as a Professor of Law at the Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, a Visiting Fellow at Harris Manchester College, the University of Oxford, and a Founding Fellow at the Oxford Centre for the Study of Law & Public Policy. His research interests include international affairs, corporate governance, labor and employment law, religious liberty and the application of economics to a variety of topics.

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