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Abortion 'necessary' for mixed race babies, said Nixon

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Former US President Richard Nixon. Photo: Getty Images

Former US President Richard Nixon. Photo: Getty Images

Former US President Richard Nixon. Photo: Getty Images

FORMER US President Richard Nixon believed it was "necessary" to abort mixed-race babies, newly released tapes have disclosed.

Commenting privately on the 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe vs Wade, which decriminalised abortion in America, the then-president said he worried that access to a legal abortion could lead to "permissiveness" because "it breaks the family" but thought them justified in certain cases.

"There are times when an abortion is necessary," he told his aide Chuck Colson. "I know that. When you have a black and a white."

Mr Colson offered that rape might also make an abortion legitimate, prompting Mr Nixon to respond: "Or a rape."

The comments were included in more than 150 hours of tape and 30,000 pages of documents made public this week by the Nixon Presidential Library, part of the United States National Archives.

Secret

They were recorded by secret microphones in the Oval Office in January and February, 1973, and provide fresh insights into Mr Nixon's tumultuous presidency, which ended with his resignation in August 1974 over the Watergate scandal.

Mr Nixon was widely believed at the time to be privately opposed to abortion rights, although he had declined to take a public stance on the issue.

On the tapes, there are several examples of Mr Nixon's paranoia about political enemies and his suspicion of Jews.

A 1969 memorandum discloses that members of the Kennedy family were tracked after the Chappaquiddick incident, in which Senator Ted Kennedy fled the scene of a car accident in which his female companion, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned when he drove off a bridge.

Jack Caulfield, an assistant who carried out investigations of Nixon's foes¸ reported that "our investigator" observed Robert Kennedy Jr going to see the car that his uncle had driven off the Chappaquiddick bridge two weeks earlier.

A Kennedy family bodyguard, he added, might be a useful source of information. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

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