Skip to comments.Susan B. Anthony would never have joined the Women’s March on Washington (WaPo!)
Posted on 01/19/2017 7:39:48 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o
Statutes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Amelia Bloomer overlook the Seneca River in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
Those of us at the Susan B Anthony Birthplace Museum in Adams, Mass., are saddened that the museum honoring this American iconic heroine and tireless worker for womens rights will not be among the organizations marching in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Some would, perhaps, think that Anthony family descendants and board members of the great suffragist birthplace would be leading the Womens March, especially as the centennial marking the Susan B. Anthony Amendment for womens suffrage has begun in some states. But they would be wrong: Anthony would never have joined a march in favor of abortion access.
The unifying theme of Susan Brownell Anthonys life was to speak up for those without a voice. Anthony fought for temperance, the abolition of slavery and especially the enfranchisement of women. She also spoke up for the voiceless child in utero, opposing Restellism, the term that Anthonys newspaper and others at that time used for abortion. Its easy to chalk up Anthonys (and other early feminists) opposition to abortion as a relic of their day and age. But these women were progressive and independent; they did not oppose abortion because they were conditioned to, but because they believed every human life has inherent and equal value, no matter their age, skin color or sex.
The Womens March platform does include some issues Anthony would have agreed with: Concerns about racial equality, tolerance and equal pay for equal work are problems Anthony would have marched for in her day and would support in her contemporary surrogates this month. However, major group sponsors, like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, have decided that this event is so central to the expansion of abortion rights that they have excluded pro-life women from the marchs platform and partnerships.
Anthonys newspaper, the Revolution, had a policy of not advertising abortion like other mainstream papers furtively did. Revolution editors like Elizabeth Cady Stanton were explicit in denouncing child murder, infanticide and foeticide, descriptions they used interchangeably for abortion. Indeed, a recent Smithsonian Magazine article discussed news coverage of infanticide in the 1860s, a common subject for early investigative reporters of the suffrage era, many of whom were women writing about their concerns under pseudonyms.
It is not hard to imagine that these early feminists and suffragists, Anthony among them, were opposed to the most fundamental human abuse: degrading another human being by claiming to own and destroy it. In her autobiography, Elizabeth Blackwell, a suffragist and the first U.S. female doctor, went into medicine to denounce abortionists: Women who carried on this shocking trade seemed to me a horror, she wrote. It was an utter degradation of what might and should become a noble position for women. Another suffragist physician, Charlotte Denman Lozier, said, We are sure most women physicians will lend their influence and their aid to shield their sex from the foulest wrong committed against it, that is, abortion. In her famous 1875 talk on social purity, Anthony condemned abortion as a consequence of liquor consumption. Pussyhat protesters headed to D.C. for post-inauguration rally Play Video1:45 Women wearing woolen 'pussyhats' will be rallying at the Womens March on Washington the day after the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. (Reuters)
History, particularly American history, is not always conveniently in sync with todays popular views and culture. Neither should the suffragist movement be co-opted into joining a cause that they universally condemned. The Womens Marchs vision and principles, just released this week, speaks to honoring the legacy of the suffragists. But they do not.
Many women and womens groups who will march next week have good reason to do so, and they should be respected. However, we ask that abortion rights not be misappropriated to Anthony and the critical work of the suffrage movement. Anthony and many of her fellow suffragists were anti-abortion feminists, the contemporary existence of which even Hillary Clinton has acknowledged. If the Womens March truly wants to honor the suffragist legacy, they will acknowledge their existence, too.
Carol Crossed is the Board President of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum.
Eric Anthony is a Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum Board member and Anthony family descendant.
BTW I've had the privilege of knowing Carol Crossed for almost 40 years. She has been facing down howling, spitting contemporary pussyhat-type feminoids for decades, and doing it not only with a smile but with a sharp intelligence that cuts like a razor through their twaddle. She is a true long-distance runner for the cause of traditional, historic pro-life feminism.
Tough call seeing as how many black womyn are likely to be there.
Somebody posted a pic someplace yesterday of the sufferagettes(?) marching way back when trying to compare that to the raucous crap that may occur tomorrow. Uh, I somehow feel that the two ain’t quite comparable.
Just think about these women getting enough power to have prohibition as a constitutional amendment. How'd that work girls??
Susan B. Anthony was also a very devout Christian. That’s why the Federal Reserve under Obama’s influence shelved the idea of Susan B. Anthony on the back of the US$20 bill.
Snaps for these women!
Very brave and informative - thanks!
Sanger fits in with today's pussyhats (although a great deal more self-aware and so more knowingly evil than these foolish twits) --- but she didn't fit in with her contemporary feminists of 100+ years ago, who were intelligent, self-respecting,and pro-life.
She was consistent in an age (like ours) when consistency was rare: she had respect for all humans male and female, enslaved and free, born and unborn. For that I will always consider her a heroine, not just for America but for the whole world.
Of interest, I think!
Of interest, I think!
I like the statue of the ladies in their bloomers.
I think only the one in the middle is in bloomers, i.e. Mrs. Bloomer.
She also has the protective sunhat, like I wear in the garden. Tres sportif!
I did not know this. I read about Elizabeth Blackwell when I was a girl, but the elementary-school or junior-high level biography I had did not, unsurprisingly, mention abortion.
I used to have a hat with a veil that tied under my chin. I called it my “Katharine Hepburn on a yacht” hat, but I looked more like my grandmother on the tractor.
The lady on the right is in a shorter skirt and ... trousers?
Pajama bottoms? -— would be my guess, based on unspecified personal fashion experience.
Great article. Hard to believe the Compost published it.
Thanks for posting it.
Interesting thing about Sanger is she was for birth control, was a eugenicist, was happy to align with KKK and Nazis and to try and eliminate inferior races and people. But she was anti-abortion and said so clearly.
In a way, this is another Planned Parenthood secret, something about Sanger they hide.
Like long johns?
Iirc, the “short” skirt and ... er, leggings? ... outfit was called “rationals.”
I would call them “winterals”.
Wasn’t that a brand of hosiery?
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