Sunday, October 15, 2006

Feminists for Life of America Responds to Attack on Susan B. Anthony

10/14/2006 10:32:00 AM

To: National Desk
Contact: Valerie Schmalz of Feminists for Life, 415-571-8373
WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following is a statement by Feminists for Life of America President Serrin M. Foster in response to an Oct. 13 New York Times guest opinion piece by Stacy Schiff, "Desperately Seeking Susan," which questions whether Susan B. Anthony's pro-life feminism would continue in the 21st Century:
At Feminists for Life of America, we proudly claim Susan B. Anthony as one of our feminist foremothers.
In her Oct. 13 New York Times opinion piece, Stacy Schiff admitted that Susan B. Anthony opposed abortion and devoted herself to fighting for women's rights: "There is no question that she deplored the practice of abortion, as did every one of her colleagues in the suffrage movement."
Schiff's summary of the early feminists' beliefs parallels my own statement: "Without known exception, the early American feminists condemned abortion in the strongest possible terms."
Our feminist foremothers sought to consistently defend human beings through their efforts for suffrage and for abolition of slavery. The basic tenets of feminism, which we have received from the early feminists, are nondiscrimination, nonviolence, and justice for all. Abortion violates all three.
The spirit of FFL's mission to create holistic solutions to the challenges faced by pregnant women and parents is perhaps best expressed in Anthony's own words: "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 their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them." (Susan B. Anthony, quoted in Frances Willard's Glimpses of Fifty Years: The Autobiography of an American Woman, Chicago: Women's Temperance Pub. Assoc., 1889, 598)
As Mattie Brinkerhoff wrote in Anthony's newspaper: "When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society—so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged." (The Revolution, 4(9):138-9 September 2, 1869)
Feminists for Life's goal is to eradicate the root causes that lead to abortion, because women deserve better.
Schiff's portrayal of Anthony as a "killjoy" and as "the drillmaster of the suffrage movement" seems to be personality rather than philosophical analysis, irrelevant to Anthony's views.
Today Feminists for Life is proud to continue the tradition of our feminist foremothers, including Anthony. Since we opened our office in Washington, D.C, in 1994:
-- FFL was the only pro-life group active in a unique coalition of women's groups to successfully fight child exclusion provisions in welfare reform. (The "family cap" was later tested on poor women and teens in New Jersey and proven to significantly increase abortions.)
-- FFL was the only pro-life and women's group to actively champion the New York state model program to help working poor pregnant women receive prenatal care through the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
-- FFL was the only pro-life group to successfully advocate for the Enhanced Child Support Enforcement Act.
-- FFL was the only pro-life group in the National Task Force on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence to work successfully for the Violence Against Women Act.
-- FFL was the only feminist group to support Laci and Connor's Law, also known as the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
-- FFL was a charter member of a coalition against sex trafficking.
Susan B. Anthony devoted her life to improving American society for its most disempowered members -- slaves, women and children. No revisionist history or claims of not knowing what a historical figure would think about a current issue, no matter how amusingly worded, will erase the clear legacy of this heroic woman.
/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


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