The questioning of Susan B. Anthony’s pro-life beliefs

In Abortion by Joshua Tijerina0 Comments

Source: Slate

The article starts with an assertion: The pro-life movement has very little evidence that Susan B. Anthony was actually pro-life . . . and then spends several paragraphs laying out really solid evidence that Susan B. Anthony was, in fact, pro-life. For instance, “The primary documentary evidence for Anthony’s ‘opposition to Restellism,’ a 19th-century euphemism for abortion, are a few diary entries; a newspaper editorial; and the fact that her short-lived feminist newspaper, the Revolution, declined advertisements for ‘quack medicines’ including abortifacients. From that thin gruel, the museum makes a feast. Anthony wrote in her diary in 1876 that her sister-in-law, recovering from an abortion (‘tampering with herself’) would ‘rue the day she forces nature,’ for example. She was friendly with women who wrote about abortion in much harsher terms. An excerpt from a speech Anthony delivered in 1875 spans the entirety of the wall: ‘When the office of maternity shall be held sacred … then, and not till then, will this earth see a new order of men and women, prone to good rather evil.‘”

The author then quotes a historian who states: the pro-life movement has “got almost nothing to hang it on.”

In the end, the author offers this argument from a Susan B. Anthony museum president: “Was Susan B. Anthony pro-life or pro-choice? The answer is easy: neither. Those are 20th-century movements, and she was a 19th-century person.” But that argument is a manipulation of the real question, which is this: Did Susan B. Anthony support abortion? And the answer is that everything we know points us to believe that she did not support abortion.

Read more: The Battle Over Susan B. Anthony | Slate

Leave a Comment