#minorsextrafficking | Fact check: Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote on pedophilia is made up 

A quote attributed to the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg has resurfaced online following her death on Sept. 18, 2020. The quote is unfounded.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The posts, portrayed as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat misinformation, attribute the quote, “Pedophilia is good for the children” to Bader Ginsburg. Examples can be seen here , here and here .  

Some posts and comments mention child trafficking and present Bader Ginsburg as seeking to normalize pedophilia ( here ). They fit a narrative put forth by conspiracy theorists from the group QAnon.  

Conspiracy theories by the group QAnon often allude to a “secret campaign” waged by U.S. President Donald Trump against a sex trafficking ring, known as Pizzagate. This stems from a fake online report that a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant was cover for a child sex trafficking ring (here). The New York Times explains the conspiracy theory in depth (here) . Some social media users are reviving these theories in the run-up to the November election.  

The New York Times reported in August that followers of the conspiracy theory have been sharing the hashtag ‘SaveTheChildren’ and ‘SaveOurChildren’, taking resources away from genuine child trafficking hotlines and groups working to tackle this issue (here).

These posts offer no date or source for their quote. Fact-checkers have debunked this false quote in the past (here, here, here), usually noting it was presented in conjunction with or built on the false claim that Bader-Ginsburg sought to lower the age of consent to 12 years old.  

Crowdtangle says the pedophilia quote was first shared on public Facebook pages in early July 2020, while the age of consent quote was first shared around November 2019.

Reuters debunked the age of consent claim in detail, here. Social media posts claimed Bader Ginsburg said: “The age of consent for sexual acts must be lowered to age 12 years old.” This was not a direct quote by Bader Ginsburg and stemmed from a mistaken interpretation by third parties of legal recommendations presented by Bader Ginsburg in the 1970s to make definitions of rape more gender-neutral. 

VERDICT

False. Ruth Bader Ginsburg never said “pedophilia is good for the children.”

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .  


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