Feminist Susan B. Anthony: Anti-Abortion Crusader

Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906) has been celebrated as a feminist icon by the modern feminist movement because of her tireless work in bringing women into the political mainstream. Feminists pushed hard to get her image on the almost-never-used Susan B. Anthony coin. Anthony got involved in the women’s rights movement when she joined a temperance society but was denied the right to speak at meetings because she was a woman. Temperance societies were the precursors to the prohibition movement (1920–1933). Her anti-alcohol position makes her a religious fundamentalist, hardly an invitee to Democrat and Republican gatherings where the stuff flows in ample portions!

It may surprise a lot of people that there are pro-life, anti-abortion Democrats. What won’t surprise anyone is that the Democrats keep anti-abortion Democrats hidden from public view. You won’t hear pro-life Democrats speaking on the topic Democrat National Conventions. (It’s getting that way at Republican conventions as well.) The former governor of Pennsylvania, Robert Patrick “Bob” Casey, Sr. (1932–2000) was not permitted to speak at the 1992 convention because of his outspoken pro-life, anti-abortion views.

Because he considered abortion a key social issue for the 1992 presidential election, Casey sought a speaking slot to give a minority plank on the topic at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. He was not given a speaking slot and in a series of news conferences he said the party was censoring his pro-life views since he agreed with the party on nearly all other issues. . . . Several pro-life Democrats spoke at the convention, but they did not focus their remarks on their opposition to abortion, and the issue was not debated the way Casey had wanted.

Democrat leaders want pro-life votes for the party but not pro-life views or policy advocates visible to their base. This means that Anthony would not have been given a voice at any Democrat function because she was pro-life. In The Revolution, the paper she published with Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902), Anthony referred to abortion as “child murder” and “infanticide”:

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, for selfish gratification, heedless of her prayers, indifferent to her fate, drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime.1

And we can add to this, also guilty are those in the medical profession who get rich from the blood that is spilled in the name of a woman’s right to choose. Choose what? Choose to kill her pre-born baby. The next time someone says “I’m pro-choice,” ask “Pro-choice about what?” Everybody is pro-choice. The question is, What are you choosing to do? Rapists, bank robbers, and murderers are pro-choice. Those of us who don’t like the way we are taxed and how that money is being spent are pro-choice. We choose not to be taxed beyond the prescribed limits of the Constitution. We choose for our property not to be taxed to support a school system that teaches a worldview contrary to what we believe. Being pro-choice as it relates to abortion is a cover for what is actually happening to a pre-born baby. The same tactic is used by homosexuals who have defined same-sex sex as being “gay.” When “liberal” became a dirty word, liberals started calling themselves “progressives.”

Stanton, a founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869, held a similar anti-abortion view:

When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit. There must be a remedy even for such crying evil as this (abortion). But where shall it be found? At least, where begin, if not in the complete enfranchisement and elevation of women.

Civil libertarian and pro-life advocate Nat Hentoff points out that when PBS aired “Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony” (1999), there was no mention of their anti-abortion views. Ken Burns, best known for his masterful documentaries on the Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, Thomas Jefferson, the National Parks, Lewis and Clark, and Prohibition knew the anti-abortion views of Stanton and Anthony but decided not to include them because he did not want his documentary to be “burdened by present and past differing views on choice.”2

In an on-line discussion forum, Burns was asked by “Maggie” from California why he omitted “all the compelling and well documented information about Susan B. Anthony’s and Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s profound anti-abortion stances.” Here was Burns’ response: “The omission was primarily because of time constraints. To have stated their complicated position would have been quite difficult to be comprehensive.”

There is nothing complicated about their position on abortion. What Burns really means is that he didn’t want PBS to reject the project and bring the wrath of the pro-abortionists down on him.

None of these types of historical cover-ups are unusual. The strategy is practiced every day among the various media groups. Compare the coverage of the Occupiers with the Tea Party.

  1. The Revolution, July 8, 1869. []
  2. Quoted in Nat Hentoff, “Revisionist Her-Story.” []