September 16, 2021

U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell compares abortion to eugenics

Courtesy Photo

Yvette Herrell

In a tweet earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell equated abortion with eugenics.

Herrell’s tweet on Monday was a response to a clip from an NBC broadcaster who was commenting that the state of Texas is “running over” women’s constitutional rights to obtain an abortion since that state’s six-week gestational ban went into effect at the beginning of September.

“Of course, @JoeNBC is completely wrong. Abortion is not “enumerated” in the Constitution, specifically or otherwise, & its invention as a right in Roe v. Wade rests on garbage legal reasoning. America will be a better place when abortion joins eugenics on the ash heap of history,” she wrote in her tweet.

The 1973 Supreme Court decision was based on privacy law guaranteed in the 14th Amendment. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains spokesperson Neta Meltzer called comparing or equating abortion with eugenics “a lazy and purposefully misleading comparison.”

“Abortion care is health care, and health care is, unquestionably, a human right. Access to abortion care is about individuals holding the power to make personal decisions about whether and when to start or grow their families. It is about the ability for each of us to determine the trajectory of our lives. Politics has no place in private medical decisions, and neither does Rep. Herrell’s insulting comment,” Meltzer said through an email.

Herrell defended her comment in a statement to NM Political Report.

“Abortion is a sad legacy of the eugenics programs of the early 20th century, like Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s campaign to eliminate minority, disabled, and otherwise ‘unfit’ Americans. Fortunately, more and more Americans today proclaim the truth: that we are all created equal, and that every human life is precious.”

The practice of eugenics, a long debunked concept of “improving” the human race, was a popular idea under some fascist regimes in the early 20th Century.

Meltzer said in response:

“It’s easy to dismiss abortion care when you vastly oversimplify it. Abortion didn’t begin with Margaret Sanger and it isn’t about eugenics. It’s about the dignity, respect, and bodily autonomy of each individual.“

The Democratic Party of New Mexico called Herrell’s tweet “misleading and dangerous.”

“The comprehensive reproductive care available in New Mexico saves women’s lives,” Jessica Velasquez, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, said through an email. “Representative Yvette Herrell’s tweet is misleading, dangerous, and out of touch with the vast majority of New Mexicans who believe people have the right to make their own decisions about abortion care and their health.” 

Herrell followed up with a subsequent statement that she “will not be bullied out of protecting every baby’s life.”

“Abortion stops a beating heart, ending innocent life. I believe that is wrong,” she wrote.Recent polls show that the majority of Americans still support Roe v. Wade. Earlier this year, the New Mexico Legislature repealed a pre-Roe law that banned abortion in most cases. The law was not in effect because of the landmark Supreme Court decision.