New York Times Op-Ed Claims Susan B. Anthony Not Pro-Life

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 17, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New York Times Op-Ed Claims Susan B. Anthony Not Pro-Life Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 17
, 2006

New York, NY ( — The New York Times is coming under fire from pro-life groups for claiming that woman’s suffragist leader Susan B. Anthony was not pro-life despite numerous quotes and other indications she resolutely opposed abortion.

The attack comes from Stacy Schiff, who chose to write about the women’s rights advocate because Carol Crossed, a longtime Feminists for Life leader, recently purchase Anthony’s two-story house in which she grew up.

"There is no question that she deplored the practice of abortion, as did every one of her colleagues in the suffrage movement," Schiff writes, but she goes on to question Anthony on abortion anyway.

Feminists for Life has routinely cited an 1869 article in her newspaper denouncing “child murder,” labeling abortion “a most monstrous crime,” and advocating its end.

Anthony even talks about post-abortion problems when she says an abortion "will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death.”

But, Schiff claims Anthony did not believe into making abortion illegal and she claims that editors of Anthony’s papers say she did not write the article in question.

Schiff points to Anthony, who didn’t care for the number of children her suffragette colleagues Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Antoinette Brown Blackwell had, as more evidence for her claims.

"The bottom line is that we cannot possibly know what Anthony would make of today’s debate," she concludes about Anthony’s thinking.

Serrin Foster, the president of Feminists for Life, defends Anthony’s pro-life views in a statement sent to and says they are certain. She points to other quotes from the women’s leader in other publications.

In a biography of women written by Frances Willard in 1889, Anthony is quoted as saying, “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."

Foster also says 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.

Ultimately, Foster said Schiff’s summary of the early feminists’ beliefs parallels her own previous analysis that "Without known exception, the early American feminists condemned abortion in the strongest possible terms."

"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," Foster concludes.

Related web sites:
Feminists for Life –