Was Nixon anti-abortion?

Nixon salute.jpgWell, sort of. Newly released tapes show that in the wake of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, Tricky Dick worried that legalized abortion would lead to “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.”

But he also saw abortion as “necessary” in some cases:

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, according to the NYTimes report, before adding, “Or a rape.”


As dotCommonweal blogger Mollie Wilson O’Reilly says, “You have to keep reminding yourself that the president knew he was being taped.”

Or as Andrew Sullivan notes, “So the 37th president would have aborted the 44th.”

Nixon’s always dodgy views on Jews emerge again as well in a phone conversation between him and Billy Graham–who also has had issues with dodgy statements on Jews–usually when talking to Nixon. In the latest transcript, “Graham complained that Jewish-American leaders were opposing efforts to promote evangelical Christianity, like Campus Crusade. The two men agreed that the Jewish leaders risked setting off anti-Semitic sentiment.”


“What I really think is deep down in this country, there is a lot of anti-Semitism, and all this is going to do is stir it up,” Nixon said, adding later: “It may be they have a death wish. You know that’s been the problem with our Jewish friends for centuries.”

But Watergate he didn’t see as a problem. So it goes…

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posted June 26, 2009 at 6:26 pm

It is interesting to note that Nixon was against abortion but approved of it in cases of rape or if the parents were of different races. I remember as a young person that a lot of people felt like that back then. Until 1967, interracial marriage was illegal in many states. In fact, there was 80% or higher opposition to interracial marriages in the 1950’s and 1960’s. This is much higher than today’s opposition to same sex marriage. I wonder if any Catholic priests officiated at mixed race marriages in violation of state laws and what happened to those that did. After the Supreme Court decision of 1967, it seems that the Church in the US grudgingly went along with the law and did allow marriage between people of different races. It is interesting that today in most places this is not even an issue.

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