Civics: Does anything link the eugenics of the past to abortion today?

Ross Douthat:

The Thomas argument, common inside the pro-life movement but startling to many, is that the present “reproductive rights” regime may effectively extend older eugenic efforts to reduce populations deemed unfit. His dissent cited the eugenic inclinations of progressive icons like Margaret Sanger, while pointing out that today’s abortion rates are highest among populations — racial minorities and the disabled — that the older eugenicists hoped to cull.

This argument prompted multiple rejoinders. First, that many past progressives were racist but today’s pro-choice progressivism isn’t, and it is a “genetic fallacy” to link the two. Second, that the original eugenicists, Sanger included, did not usually favor abortion, so it’s a mistake to connect their views to the pro-choice case. Third, that the original eugenicists wanted governments to practice “collective biosocial engineering,” while the contemporary effects Thomas decries are the result of dispersed individual choices, a very different thing.

Fresh Air Weekend: Mental Health On Campus; How Eugenics Shaped Immigration Policy