On Saturday, trail-blazing American political icon Geraldine Ferraro passed away at age 75 after a battle with a blood cancer called multiple myeloma. Ferraro made history when she became the first woman to be nominated to a major party presidential ticket in 1984. Accompanying Walter Mondale on the Democratic ticket in 1984, Ferraro charted new territory for women in American politics.
Unfortunately, Geraldine Ferraro held a pro-abortion position. Despite describing herself as “personally pro-life” due to her Catholic faith, Ferraro did not support legal protection for unborn children. The Mondale-Ferraro ticket ultimately lost in landslide to the pro-life Republican ticket of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
The New York Times, in a blatant display of pro-abortion media bias, could not publish an obituary for Ferraro without taking a jab at pro-life advocates. Author Douglas Martin wrote, “The abortion issue, magnified because she was Roman Catholic and a woman, plagued her campaign. Though she opposed the procedure personally, she said, others had the right to choose for themselves. Abortion opponents hounded her at almost every stop with an intensity seldom experienced by male politicians.”
There is no quantifiable way to justify that claim. Ferraro faced as much heat from pro-life advocates for her pro-abortion stance as any other political figure. Many of Ferraro’s key political allies also faced public backlash for their pro-abortion positions, including Walter Mondale, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Accusations of sexism on the part of pro-life advocates are unfounded. Pro-life advocates rightly press candidates on right to life issues in every campaign. The gender of a particular candidate is not important when human lives are at stake.
In accusing pro-life advocates of sexism, the New York Times overlooks the fact that pro-life advocates voted en masse for Sarah Palin. If the pro-life movement were sexist, would they have voted overwhelmingly in 2008 for the ticket with the female VP candidate? It was the pro-abortion side that launched reprehensible sexist attacks on Palin during the 2008 campaign.
Just recently, the National Organization for Women (NOW) came under fire when it failed to adequately rebuke sexist remarks made by comedian Bill Maher regarding Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann. Palin said in response, “I need NOW like a fish needs a bicycle.” The New York Times has yet to report on sexism on the part of abortion advocates like Maher and organizations that enable him like NOW.
It is unfortunate that in an obituary to honor the groundbreaking life of Geraldine Ferraro, the New York Times chose to sling unsubstantiated claims of sexism on the part of pro-life advocates. It is a great dishonor to Geraldine Ferraro to apply such partisan politics to a legacy that has inspired women from all political stripes.
Even though her bid for Vice President proved unsuccessful, Ferraro is widely credited for opening doors for future women leaders. Many of those who benefited from Ferraro’s strides have been some of America’s strongest pro-life women leaders, like former VP candidate Sarah Palin.
Sarah Palin, only the second woman to be nominated to a major party ticket, thanked Geraldine Ferraro in 2010 stating, “The opportunity I and other women following you have been able to seize has just been wonderful. It’s been great for our nation.”
On Facebook today, Palin commemorated Ferraro’s legacy saying, “She broke one huge barrier and then went on to break many more. The world will miss her. May she rest in peace and may her example of hard work and dedication to America continue to inspire all women.”
The Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization that works to mobilize pro-life women in politics, dubbed 2010 “The Year of the Pro-Life Woman.” In a remarkable display of the progress of women in politics, countless pro-life women leaders were elected on the state and federal levels.
Notably, Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Representative Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Representative Diane Black of Tennessee, Representative Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Representative Jaime Herrera of Washington and Representative Ann Marie Buerkle of New York were elected in 2010.
These newly elected women represent the majority of American women who oppose abortion-on-demand and recognize that abortion is a reflection that society has failed to meet the needs of women. Standing up for life-affirming, compassionate solutions for women, these new leaders are paving the way for an America that respects the rights of all women, born and unborn.