Nixon's Stance on Abortion

Getty Images
Getty Images / Getty Images

Whether you love him or hate him, Richard Nixon is easily one of the most complex and fascinating characters we seem to tackle. He was embroiled in one of the nation's worst political scandals, but we've also gotten a glimpse at his romantic side when his surprisingly poignant love letters to his wife were released to the public.

In the magazine, we've talked about how he created the EPA, how he was responsible for a six-fold increase in the National Endowment in the Arts, his funding of methadone clinics as a means of helping to reduce crime (it seemed to have worked), his Quakerism and his engagement with China.

Of course, we've also talked about hatred for soups (he banned them at the White House), that whole Watergate debacle, and his completely pathetic style of dating (he asked his wife Pat to marry him on their first date, and when she said no, he drove her around on dates with other men just to spend a little more time with her.) Also, he was kind of a racist.

Today, the NY Times is reporting that the newly released Nixon tapes showcase his "ambivalent" stance on abortion after the Roe v Wade Supreme Court ruling. Part of the reason he didn't make a public statement about the case was because he was in two minds about it:

"Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster 'permissiveness," and said that 'it breaks the family.' But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases, such as interracial pregnancies. "'There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,' he told an aide, before adding: 'Or a rape.'"

I have no interest in fanning an abortion discussion on the blog (we just put out the apolitical, feel good issue of the year, after all!), but I did think this was helpful in getting a little more insight into his complex mind. Thanks Lizzie!