Richard Nixon's Views on Abortion

According to newly released White House tapes, he was generally opposed to the procedure but was willing to make exceptions for rape or ... miscegenation.

Elsewhere in Reason: Nixon's views on Archie Bunker.

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  • Pink Cosmotarian||


  • Mad Max||

    '"There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white," [Nixon] told an aide, before adding, "Or a rape."'

    Steven Levitt has demonstrated, in *Freakonomics,* that if it hadn't been for legalized abortion, even more biracial children would have been born, grown up to be liberals, and gotten themselves elected President.

  • Elemenope||

    Nixon was kind of an asshole.

    Also, I hear that if you stand in the sun too long, you'll get cancer.

  • Jeff P||

    Nixon obviously meant that alien Frank Gorshin played on Star Trek...

  • Mike||

    Just when I thought my opinion of this guy couldn't get any lower... About the only good that came from him was the fact that the Libertarian party started to some extent because of outrage against his policies.

  • Pseudonymous Margaret Sanger||

    That's nothing. Let me tell you...

  • Pro-lifer!||

    If you are for abortion rights, it is not really logically consistent to get on Nixon's case about this.

    You should be happy because he wanted give mixed-race couples the right to abort their babies. This is a right he didn't want to give other couples. He was doing them a favor!

  • JB||'s for the children. But especially them black and women children.

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  • Abdul||

    I bet G. Gordon Liddy really regrets breaking into the Watergate hotel now that he knows this.

  • MJ||

    How is this relevant?

    Who looks to Nixon as a sage on any policy, especially domestic? The left hates him and the only liked him for being anti-communist.

  • Rich||

    Some of us will remember "Pull out -- like Nixon's father should have."

  • Xeones||

    I agree with Alphabet Dude. However, he's still not as bad as that motherfucker Woodrow Wilson.

  • ||

    Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon was just a run of loathsome Presidents. Nixon never really disapoints in his kookiness and generally being a louse.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    From Abortion: Not for Women Only:

    How do we account for the chasm between the moral authority "feminism" commands and the actual amorality feminists demonstrate? Even more jarring is the disconnect between feminist rhetoric and gender reality. For decades now, feminists have held up as the primary example of sexual inequality the alleged "attack" on women's reproductive rights by "men." You would think that in 1973 the (all-male) Court nullified paternity laws but left maternity ("abortion") laws standing. You'd never guess that we live in a country where a woman has an inalienable right to her own body, but a man has an inalienable responsibility to the fertilized egg (one to be shared, in due course, by the taxpayers). But just who is attacking whom? Let's not indulge even for a moment the calumny that all men oppose legalized abortion (because they want to keep women "barefoot and pregnant"). Rather, we'll ask: What difference would it make -- to feminists -- if it could be shown that all men support legalized abortion? The answer is quite clear:

    * Catharine MacKinnon: "So long as women do not control access to our sexuality, abortion facilitates women's heterosexual availability. In other words, under conditions of gender inequality, sexual liberation in this sense does not free women; it frees male sexual aggression. The availability of abortion removes the one remaining legitimized reason that women have had for refusing sex besides the headache."

    * Judy Shea: Hugh "Hefner's misogynistic playboy philosophy inevitably leads to the destructive, dewomanizing practice of abortion. A[t] its core the playboy ethic is anti-woman and anti-child. The reality of the possibility of pregnancy and childbirth interferes with the Hefner dream of multiple partners and everlasting orgies."

    * Dorchen Leidholdt: "Sexually liberal men support abortion for women not because they want women to be able to control their bodies but because they know that unrestricted abortions heighten women's availability to men for sex."

    * Susan Maronek: "Abortion, in the final analysis, works to the advantage of the exploitative male, not for the female.... Abortion is a male sexual fantasy come true."

    * Sonia Johnson: Men "knew precisely what to do when women began refusing to honor the old contract, and I am absolutely convinced that their move was conscious, plotted, and deliberate.... So the men let us have legalized abortion, and almost instantly the energy drained from the [feminist] movement, like air from a punctured balloon.... [Roe v. Wade] keeps us colonized, our bodies state property and our destinies in their hands...."

    Feminist "thealogy" out-Calvins Calvin by damning men if they don't support reproductive rights for women -- and if they do. Indeed, it out-Orwells Orwell, as this metaphysical conviction of "controlling women's bodies" -- now with a smutty desire for sex without childbirth as the motive (in contrast to women's noble support for abortion) -- convicts those who, again, possess no such rights themselves. Like all forms of bigotry, it exploits its hate objects by scapegoating them for everything.

  • Bingo||

    Just need some Andrea Dworkin "all sex is rape" logic to seal the argument that those frigid bitches make.

  • ||

    A little birdie told me that the portrait up in the main war room of the New Hampshire Republican Party's HQ is one of Tricky Dick. So some people still look up to him.

  • ||

    Sure, Nixon was an a-hole. But his view that there are reasons and justifications for abortion are consistent with the views of most Americans. Miscegenation is no longer seen as a valid reason, but rape is. If the pro-life people are correct, and abortion is murder, then how does rape justify murdering somebody other than the rapist?

  • ..||

    35-year-old opinions may seem shocking by today's standards...less so to Nixon's contemporaries. Smugness is a byproduct of hindsight.

  • gmatts||

    And don't get Nixon started on the Jews.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    If the pro-life people are correct, and abortion is murder, then how does rape justify murdering somebody other than the rapist?

    The same way the invasion of Poland justified murdering people other than Hitler, or the invasion of Finland justified murdering people other than Stalin.

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