The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) president recently apologized for removing references to women from a quotation about abortion by Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the first anniversary of her death. Presumably, the changes were made in a desperate attempt to make Ginsburg’s remarks more inclusive. Executive director of the ACLU, Anthony Romero, told the New York Times, “We won’t be altering people’s quotes. It was a mistake among the digital team. Changing quotes is not something we ever did.”
The organization decided to share an altered version of the late justice’s quote on Twitter and swiftly received backlash for changing her words. The original quote read: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity… When government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”
With Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, we lost a champion for abortion and gender equality. And on the anniversary of her death, the fight to protect abortion access is more urgent than ever. pic.twitter.com/vIKadIHouN
— ACLU (@ACLU) September 18, 2021
The ACLU chose to replace the words woman, her, and she from the quote, so it read: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity… When the government controls that decision for [people], [they are] being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for [their] own choices,” putting brackets around the words they changed.
Romero stated that this type of mistake would not happen again but defended the changes as well-meaning, claiming that it “was not a mistake without a thought.” He also told the Times, “Having spent time with Justice Ginsburg, I would like to believe that if she were alive today, she would encourage us to evolve our language to encompass a broader vision of gender, identity, and sexuality.”
The ACLU is not the only left-leaning organization to change the language around the topic of women. The prestigious medical journal, The Lancet also apologized to “those who were offended” by a recent publication cover that used the phrase “bodies with vaginas” about women.
Editor-in-Chief Richard Horton noted that he wanted “to emphasize that transgender health is an important dimension of modern health care, but one that remains neglected.” He went on to explain that “The exhibition review from which The Lancet cover quote was taken is a compelling call to empower women, together with non-binary, trans, and intersex people who have experienced menstruation, and to address the myths and taboos that surround menstruation.”
Democrat Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush have both recently used the phrases “people who give birth,” “birthing people,” and “menstruating person” when talking about women. However, their attempts at appeasing the transgender community come at the detriment of their narrative on abortion. The Biden administration also replaced the word mother with “birthing people” in a budget proposal.
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