The Faithful and Watchful Citizen (Life Insight)

Susan B. Anthony: Another Anti-Choice Fanatic

One of my favorite pro-life groups—and one of the most effective in my opinion—is Feminists for Life of America (FFL). According to its website,, FFL was established in 1972 as a "non-sectarian, non-partisan, grassroots organization that seeks real solutions to the challenges women face."

FFL’s "efforts are shaped by the core feminist values of justice, nondiscrimination and nonviolence…Feminists for Life recognizes that abortion is a reflection that our society has failed to meet the needs of women." FFL is "dedicated to systematically eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion—primarily lack of practical resources and support—through holistic woman-centered solutions."

If we believed the masterful verbal engineering of abortion advocates we’d think that pro-life feminism is an oxymoron. Feminists for Life, however, just as masterfully points out that early American feminists such as Susan B. Anthony were opposed to abortion.

"Without known exception," FFL President Serrin Foster says in The Feminist Case Against Abortion, "the early feminists condemned abortion in the strongest terms." Early 18th and 19th century suffragist writings regularly referred to abortion as "ante-natal murder," "child murder," "ante-natal infanticide," or "infanticide," reports Cat Clark in "The Truth About Susan B. Anthony: Did One of America’s First Feminists Oppose Abortion?"

"These early feminists regarded abortion as violence against women and their children, and attributed its practice to the denial of their rights and a dearth of nonviolent choices for women," Clark said. "Like Feminists for Life today, the early feminists saw abortion as a symptom of, not a solution to, the struggles women face. And the early feminists, like FFL, sought to eradicate abortion by addressing its root causes."

"The most important evidence regarding Anthony’s own stance on abortion", Clark says, "are those writings which may be attributed to her with certainty. Her comments relating to abortion are few, but considered in the broader context of early feminist writings, it is reasonable to conclude that Anthony was truly both pro-woman and pro-life."

In Anthony’s famous speech "Social Purity," delivered on March 14, 1875, abortion is listed with infanticide and other murders among the negative consequences of the "evils" perpetrated by men: "The prosecutions on our courts for breach of promise, divorce, adultery, bigamy, seduction, rape; the newspaper reports every day of every year of scandals and outrages, of wife murders and paramour shooting, of abortions and infanticides, are perpetual reminders of men’s incapacity to cope successfully with this monster evil of society."

"This speech," Clark says, "clearly presents abortion as a symptom of the problems faced by women, especially when subjected ‘to the tyranny of men’s appetites and passions.’"

Another quote attributed to Anthony was recorded by fellow suffragist Frances Willard. After Anthony was complimented by a man who said: "you, of all women I have met, ought to have been a wife and mother," Anthony replied: "I thank you, sir…but sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so that their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them."

A final quote that has been attributed, arguably, to Anthony appeared in her newspaper The Revolution in an article entitled "Marriage and Maternity". "Guilty? Yes. No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; But oh, thrice guilty is he who drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!"

Feminists for Life said in a recent e-mail that "Pro-life feminism is under attack on every website that supports abortion." This testifies to the effectiveness of FLA’s efforts to expose the abortion industry’s shameful and erroneous linkage of abortion advocacy to feminism. To counter these attacks, FLA urges pro-lifers to use the excellent resources found on its website to launch an educational effort beginning on February 15th (Susan B. Anthony’s birthday) and lasting through Women’s History Month in March.

You can contact Greg at The Nebraska Catholic Conference,

215 Centennial Mall South Suite 310, Lincoln, NE 68508; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Southern Nebraska Register:

Ver noticias y columnas en español  
Southern Nebraska Register | 3700 Sheridan Blvd Suite 10, Lincoln NE 68506-6100 | 402-488-0090 | Email Clergy Resources


Site by Solutio