Ruth Bader Ginsburg Showed Us How to Champion Abortion Rights on Live TV, 29 Years Ago

Ty O'Neil /ZUMA

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On this day in 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was officially confirmed to the Supreme Court.  A trailblazer for women’s rights, it was during Ginsburg’s confirmation hearings that she issued a now iconic speech defending abortion rights. Now 29 years later, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to turn Roe v. Wade, those words carry even greater urgency.

“It’s a decision that she must make for herself,” Ginsburg said at the time. “And when government makes that decision for her, she’s being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”

At least 14 states currently have abortion bans in place, including Texas where everyday citizens have also been incentivized to sue people they suspect of helping “facilitate” an abortion. In many states where the procedure is still accessible, conservative lawmakers are actively seeking to restrict that right. But the future of abortion rights is far from a foregone conclusion. In the first post-Roe vote on abortion, Kansas voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected an effort to amend the state constitution to remove abortion rights.

It’s against this backdrop that you should listen to Ginsburg’s words today.

Correction, August 3: An earlier version of this story misstated 1993 as being 28 years ago. Math is hard.

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