Ruth Bader Ginsburg admits Roe v. Wade was bad for America


Given the Kermit Gosnell case you’d think pro-choice advocates would avoid talking about abortion. Apparently that course of action never crossed the mind of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. On Saturday, May 11th, the 80-year-old justice spoke candidly about abortion at the University of Chicago Law School.

During her visit Ginsburg told attendees that she thinks Roe v. Wade was a disappointing decision. Not because it resulted in more than 55 million unborn children being denied their right to life, but because the Court went “too far, too fast” in liberalizing abortion laws.

The Court’s sweeping decision, Ginsburg argued – and has argued in the past – gave “opponents of access to abortion a target to aim at relentlessly.” The Court should have exercised judicial restraint and “let that change develop in the political process” at the state level.


Ginsburg went on to express her resentment toward the Court for halting what she thinks the feminist movement would have accomplished organically. When those “unelected old men” ruled in favor of Roe, “it seemed to have stopped the momentum that was on the side of change.” The Court’s majority opinion focused too much on privacy rights and not enough on advancing women’s rights. It was not “woman-centered. It was physician-centered,” she grumbled.

Although I disagree with Ginsburg’s claim that advocates of abortion would have won the day had it remained a state issue, I agree that Roe v. Wade was politically advantageous for the pro-life movement. Obviously it would have been better had Roe been struck down, but it’s undeniable that it galvanized millions of Americans into taking a stand against abortion.

What’s also interesting to note here is that Ginsburg’s desire to let states decide these sorts of issues comes just two months after the Supreme Court heard two cases regarding the rights of homosexual couples: the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. Whether or not Ginsburg is hinting at how she plans to rule on those cases remains unknown. We’ll have to wait until June to hear the Court’s opinion. At that point we’ll know just how “far” and how “fast” the Court decided to go when it comes to marriage. Until then, keep fighting for the rights of the unborn. Lord knows we need strong pro-life leaders now more than ever.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Stephen Kokx is a freelance writer and adjunct professor of political science living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Peace and Justice. His writing on religion, politics and Catholic social teaching has appeared in a number of outlets, including Crisis Magazine, The American Thinker and his hometown paper The Grand Rapids Press. He is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, and is a graduate of Aquinas College and Loyola University Chicago. Follow Stephen on twitter @StephenKokx

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