In early March 2019, a Facebook user shared the following indifferently-spelled meme (archived here), featuring Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a quote in which she purportedly insisted that “white women” ought to have “more abortions.”
A photograph of Ocasio-Cortez speaking (above) was captioned:
“We are dying, too many people in this country. White weman need to have less children and more abortions.”
As a whole, the Ocasio-Cortez quote meme was almost too stupid a suggestion to check. As we noted in a page about yet another popular meme featuring yet another spurious attribution to the freshman lawmaker, Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks fell under constant and intense scrutiny.
Consequently, it beggars belief she could say that “white women” should have “more abortions” without a cable news frenzy. And predictably, a search for the phrase as uttered by any speaker returned zero results, even when we spelled everything correctly.
It is possible the meme was an extremely editorialized and misleading paraphrase of remarks made by Ocasio-Cortez in late February 2019 on Instagram:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, freshman congresswoman and social media sensation, has taken time out from baiting Donald Trump and establishment members of her own party to raise a profound moral question for us all: in light of the escalating climate emergency, should we still be having children?
During a recent Q&A live-streamed on Instagram, apparently shot while she was pottering in her kitchen, the rising star of the Democratic party – and one of the few frontline politicians to get the scale of the environmental emergency – pulled no punches in telling viewers that unless we take urgent, radical action on emissions, there is no hope for the future. “It is basically a scientific consensus that the lives of our children are going to be very difficult, and it does lead young people to have a legitimate question: is it OK to still have children?”
With this one question put to her 2.5 million Instagram followers, Ocasio-Cortez has stumbled into a highly contentious area. Population has long been a controversial factor in the climate change debate; one recent study said the most effective thing individuals can do to address the crisis was to have one less child.
According to the (misspelled) meme above, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said “we are dying,” there are “too many people” in the United States, and that “white [women] need to have [fewer] children and more abortions.” Although Ocasio-Cortez addressed the issue of birth rates in the context of climate change, she did not at any point whatsoever make the remark attributed to her by the meme, or anything like it.