At least two religious schools said they will stop buying uniforms from the clothing company Lands’ End this week because it honored abortion activist Gloria Steinem in its spring catalog and created a campaign to donate to Steinem’s organization.
Tolton Catholic High School and the College of the Ozarks, both in Missouri, said they were disgusted that the company would honor the well-known abortion activist who once said women “need” abortion.
Earlier this month, Lands’ End published an interview and photo-shoot with Steinem on its website (see images below) and in its spring catalog, highlighting Steinem’s work to pass an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which could expand abortion in the U.S. Lands’ End labeled Steinem as one of its “Legends,” individuals who have made a difference in both their respective industries and the world at large and have paved the way for others to follow.
Just a few hours after LifeNews broke a story about Lands’ End honoring Steinem and collecting donations for her organization, a flood of criticism from pro-lifers prompted the clothing company to removed all references to Steinem from its website. On Wednesday afternoon, the company issued a statement apologizing.
Lands’ End released a statement on Wednesday, “We understand that some of our customers were offended by the inclusion of an interview in a recent catalog with Gloria Steinem on her quest for women’s equality. We thought it was a good idea and we heard from our customers that, for different reasons, it wasn’t. For that, we sincerely apologize. Our goal was to feature individuals with different interests and backgrounds that have made a difference for our new Legends Series, not to take any political or religious stance.”
However, the issue pro-life advocates have with Land’s End is not limited to the interview or the potential political stance the company took, but rather with the company’s decision to sell a tote-bag and donate proceeds of the sales to Steinem’s organization.
The apology statement makes no mention of whether Land’s End would halt the donation campaign or what happened to the funds it has raised so far or would raise in the future through sales from its print catalogs mailed to customers.
Tolton school administrators sent a letter home with parents this week saying it will no longer use Lands’ End for student uniforms because it honored the pro-abortion feminist, according to ABC 17 News. The school had used the company for uniforms since 2011, the report states.
“We believe unequivocally that all life is sacred, from conception until natural death. It would be contrary to our school’s very identity to support a company who celebrates the work of someone so opposed to our beliefs,” Tolton administrators wrote in the letter to parents.
The College of the Ozarks Vice President of Cultural Affairs Sue Head wrote a letter Wednesday to the company to express her school’s outrage at the company’s actions, according to the News-Leader.
“I find it ironic that your cover features young children and their families having an Easter egg hunt when Ms. Steinem stands for ending life in the womb,” Head wrote. “We will not be part of advancing your agenda or hers.”
Head said the school used to provide scholarships to students with financial needs so that they could buy uniforms from Lands’ End. She said the school now will send its 300 students to a different company for uniforms.
Facing backlash, Lands’ End apologized for the campaign in a statement Wednesday afternoon: “We understand that some of our customers were offended by the inclusion of an interview in a recent catalog with Gloria Steinem on her quest for women’s equality. We thought it was a good idea and we heard from our customers that, for different reasons, it wasn’t. For that, we sincerely apologize. Our goal was to feature individuals with different interests and backgrounds that have made a difference for our new Legends Series, not to take any political or religious stance.”
However, the apology statement makes no mention of whether Lands’ End would halt the donation campaign or what happened to the funds it has raised so far or would raise in the future through sales from its print catalogs mailed to customers.
The company advertised an ERA Coalition logo monogram “in honor of Gloria’s work” and said it would donate $3 to the coalition’s Fund for Women’s Equality, Inc., for every monogram ordered now through Jan. 31, 2017.
“In honor of Gloria’s work, we’ll donate 50% of the monogram fee to the Fund for Women’s Equality for every ERA logo ordered. Add it to your choice of styles. Learn more at landsend.com,” the catalog reads.
The pro-abortion website Jezebel reported Wednesday afternoon that the ERA monogram was still available on the company’s website. However, when LifeNews checked the website Thursday morning, the ERA monogram option appeared to be gone.
The Lands’ End interview with Steinem did not mention abortion but focused on Steinem’s national effort to pass an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
Steinem’s description of the ERA sounded simple and uncontroversial in the interview. The amendment originally was introduced by pro-life feminist Alice Paul in 1923 to write women’s equality into the Constitution; but pro-lifers say new versions of the amendment could expand abortion.
He says the sweeping language of the 1972 ERA would be used as a legal weapon against virtually all laws that regulate abortion.
“In other states, major national pro-ERA organizations have argued that laws limiting tax-funded abortions or requiring parental consent for minors’ abortions violate ERAs,” Johnson explained.
Should the ERA be adopted, it would invalidate the federal Hyde Amendment and all state restrictions prohibiting tax-funded abortions. Likewise, it would nullify any federal or state restrictions even on partial-birth abortions or third-trimester abortions (since these are sought “only by women”).
Johnson said laws that allow government-supported medical facilities and personnel — including religiously affiliated hospitals — to refuse to participate in abortions would likely be in jeopardy as well.
ACTION: Email Land’s End here or call 1-800-963-4816 to complain.