Rbg Women's Rights Quotes

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Contraceptive protection is something every woman must have access to, to control her own destiny,” RBG said. “I certainly respect the belief of the Hobby Lobby owners. On the other hand, they have no constitutional right to foist that belief on the hundreds and hundreds of women who work for them who don’t share that belief.
Irin Carmon (Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
When a handful of students came to RBG in 1970 and asked her to teach the first-ever Rutgers class on women and the law, she was ready to agree. It took her only about a month to read every federal decision and every law review article about women’s status. There wasn’t much. One popular textbook included the passage “Land, like woman, was meant to be possessed.
Irin Carmon (Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
Equal citizenship stature for men and women belongs in any fundamental instrument of government. It should be as basic to society as free speech and freedom of religion. And it is stated among basic rights in every post-1950 constitution in the world.
Jeffrey Rosen (Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law)
Ginsburg argued that if the Supreme Court in 1973 had simply struck down the Texas law at issue in the case and had resisted the temptation to impose a national framework for abortion, the case might have inspired less of a backlash, allowing a growing number of state legislatures to recognize a right to reproductive choice on their own. What her feminist critics in the 1990s failed to appreciate was that Ginsburg was laying the groundwork for a firmer constitutional foundation for reproductive choice, one rooted in women’s equality rather than the right to privacy.
Jeffrey Rosen (Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law)
Ginsburg maintained that restrictions on abortion are best understood not as a private matter between women and their male doctors; instead, the restrictions violate women’s constitutional right to equality by limiting their ability to define their own life choices, imposing burdens that are not imposed on men. If Roe v. Wade had been based on the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution instead of on the Due Process Clause, Ginsburg insisted, it would have been more constitutionally convincing.
Jeffrey Rosen (Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law)
Ginsburg noted that women’s equality was a less prominent theme in Roe, which had “coupled with the rights of the pregnant woman the free exercise of her physician’s medical judgment,” and she suggested that Roe might have been less controversial if the decision had focused more precisely on women’s equality.
Jeffrey Rosen (Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law)
Ginsburg’s central premise is that antiabortion laws, like employment discrimination against pregnant women, are based on “stereotypical assumptions” about women as caregivers. Today, pro-choice scholars, advocates, and citizens, including millions of young women, have embraced her emphasis on equality, rather than privacy, as the soundest constitutional foundation for the right to choose.
Jeffrey Rosen (Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law)
The debate among feminists about pregnancy benefits has had dramatic implications for the legal status of the right to choose abortion itself. As Ginsburg noted in a 1986 article, “The characterization of pregnancy discrimination as sex discrimination, requires the comparative analysis of the equal protection model. Its emphasis is on what is not unique about the reproductive process of women.” By contrast, the difference that feminists focus on is what is unique about childbirth. They advocate special treatment for pregnant women based on their premise that men and women are not “similarly situated” because of their reproductive differences. This was the same premise that Justice Stewart had invoked in his 1974 holding that discrimination against pregnant women is permissible. That’s why Ginsburg’s insistence that discrimination on the basis of pregnancy is a form of discrimination on the basis of sex is so central to her search for alternatives to the right to privacy, which does not appear explicitly in the Constitution, as a firm legal basis for protecting women’s reproductive rights. Ginsburg has been far more willing to enforce privacy rights for women when they can be tied to the text of the Constitution, such as the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Jeffrey Rosen (Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law)
Today the equal protection guarantee extends to women, but if you ask the question “Back in 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment became part of the Constitution, did the people at that time envision that women would be citizens equal in stature to men?” The answer, surely no. But as I see the equality idea—it was there from the beginning and was realized by society over time. So I would say this: It’s true that in 1868 women were a long way from having the vote. But then the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920, and women gained the vote. We had the civil rights movement of the 1960s aimed at making the equality guarantee real for race—as it should have been from the beginning. Those developments inform my view of what the Equal Protection Clause means today.
Jeffrey Rosen (Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law)
RBG’s image as a moderate was clinched in March 1993, in a speech she gave at New York University known as the Madison Lecture. Sweeping judicial opinions, she told the audience, packed with many of her old New York friends, were counterproductive. Popular movements and legislatures had to first spur social change, or else there would be a backlash to the courts stepping in. As case in point, RBG chose an opinion that was very personal to plenty of people listening: Roe v. Wade. The right had been aiming to overturn Roe for decades, and they’d gotten very close only months before the speech with Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, and Sandra Day O’Connor had instead brokered a compromise, allowing states to put restrictions on abortion as long as they didn’t pose an “undue burden” on women—or ban it before viability. Neither side was thrilled, but Roe was safe, at least for the moment. Just as feminists had caught their breath, RBG declared that Roe itself was the problem. If only the court had acted more slowly, RBG said, and cut down one state law at a time the way she had gotten them to do with the jury and benefit cases. The justices could have been persuaded to build an architecture of women’s equality that could house reproductive freedom. She said the very boldness of Roe, striking down all abortion bans until viability, had “halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believe, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue.” This analysis remains controversial among historians, who say the political process of abortion access had stalled before Roe. Meanwhile, the record shows that there was no overnight eruption after Roe. In 1975, two years after the decision, no senator asked Supreme Court nominee John Paul Stevens about abortion. But Republicans, some of whom had been pro-choice, soon learned that being the anti-abortion party promised gains. And even if the court had taken another path, women’s sexual liberation and autonomy might have still been profoundly unsettling. Still, RBG stuck to her guns, in the firm belief that lasting change is incremental. For the feminists and lawyers listening to her Madison Lecture, RBG’s argument felt like a betrayal. At dinner after the lecture, Burt Neuborne remembers, other feminists tore into their old friend. “They felt that Roe was so precarious, they were worried such an expression from Ruth would lead to it being overturned,” he recalls. Not long afterward, when New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan suggested to Clinton that RBG be elevated to the Supreme Court, the president responded, “The women are against her.” Ultimately, Erwin Griswold’s speech, with its comparison to Thurgood Marshall, helped convince Clinton otherwise. It was almost enough for RBG to forgive Griswold for everything else.
Irin Carmon (Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg)