ACLU chief apologizes for altering Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote with gender-neutral language: report
The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said that he regrets that his organization altered a quote from late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be gender-neutral, according to a New York Times column.
On the first anniversary of Ginsburg’s death, the ACLU shared a famous quote from her discussing reproductive rights. The quote, said during her 1993 Senate confirmation hearing, originally refers to a “woman’s life” and “her own choices.”
However, the ACLU replaced the pronouns to make the quote gender-neutral.
“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity,” it wrote. “When the government controls that decision for [people], [they are] being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for [their] 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
In her Monday piece, Times opinion columnist Michelle Goldberg wrote that ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero had told her that he regrets the tweet and said his organization would not drastically alter quotes from another individual going forward.
However, he surmised that Ginsburg would have supported the sentiment behind making her quote gender-neutral.
“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,” said Romero.
Goldberg called the alteration “ham-handed” and a “mistake.”
“It’s somewhat Orwellian to rewrite historical utterances to conform to modern sensitivities,” Goldberg wrote. “Changing Ginsburg’s words treats what was once a core feminist insight — that women are oppressed on the basis of their reproductive capacity — as an embarrassing anachronism.”