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:: Thursday, April 15, 2004 ::

A Wake Up Call from Serrin Foster, President of Feminists for Life (emphasis added by me):

"How Men Convinced Women To Be Pro-Abortion

(It's Women's History Month. Why isn't anyone telling the story about feminists and abortion?)

by Serrin M. Foster

Once upon a time, feminists worked for the rights of women and the unborn. Sound like a fairy tale? Not really. The now revered feminists of the 19th century were strongly opposed to abortion, because of their belief in the worth of all humans.

They opposed abortion even though they were acutely aware of the damage done to women through constant childbearing. They opposed abortion despite knowing that half of all children born died before the age of 5.

They knew that women had virtually no rights within the family or the political sphere, but they did not believe abortion was the answer.

All of the early feminists condemned abortion in the strongest possible terms. In Susan B. Anthony's newsletter "The Revolution," abortion was described as "child murder."

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who in 1848 organized the first women's ­rights convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., classified abortion as a form of infanticide:

"When you consider that women have been treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit."

Most people are unaware that antiabortion laws enacted in the latter half of the 19th century were a result of advocacy efforts by feminists, who worked in an uneasy­ alliance with the male ­dominated medical profession and the mainstream media.

These women, who had no rights of their own, were equally concerned about the rights of other oppressed groups, such as slaves, children and the unborn.

Ironically, these anti­abortion laws were the very laws that were destroyed by the Roe vs. Wade decision 100 years later and hailed by the National Organization for Women (NOW) as the "emancipation of women."

The aversion of the early feminists to abortion was based upon then new scientific knowledge about embryology. Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham, a feminist physician, believed educating women about family planning and fetal development would eliminate the "fearful crime of feticide."

Although the early feminists agreed it was necessary to provide legal protection for the unborn, they disagreed sharply with doctors and the media on why women had abortions-and they disagreed in their proposed remedies.

Male physicians active in the anti-­abortion campaign attributed the rising incidence of abortion to feminism because feminists questioned the limits on women's rights.

Feminists were infuriated by this analysis. They said women resorted to abortion primarily because of their lack of autonomy within the family and within society.

Many angry rebuttals to the presumption that women sought abortion for frivolous or selfish reasons appeared in feminist writings.

A passage in Anthony's "Revolution" states:

"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 drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!"

With respect to abortion, the goals of the modern women's movement, led by NOW, would have outraged the early feminists. What Stanton called a "disgusting and degrading crime" has been heralded by Eleanor Smeal as a "most fundamental right."

It is important to note that Betty Friedan, credited with reawakening feminism in the 1960s with her landmark book "The Feminine Mystique," did not even mention abortion in the early edition.

And it was not until 1966 that NOW included abortion in its list of goals, and even then it was a low priority.

It was a man- abortion­ rights activist Larry Lader, who remains active today- who credits himself with guiding a reluctant Friedan toward making abortion an issue for NOW. Lader had gone around the country trying to repeal abortion laws, and he wasn't getting anywhere. State legislators were horrified by his. ideas.

Lader then teamed up with a gynecologist named Bernard Nathanson to co­found the National Alliance to Repeal Abortion Laws, the forerunner of today's National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL).

Lader suggested to NOW's leadership that all feminist demands, such as equal education, jobs and pay, hinged on a woman's ability to control her own body and procreation.

Employers don't want to pay for maternity benefits or lose production when a mother takes off for maternity leave or to care for a sick child, Lader insisted. So, in other words, if women wanted rights comparable to those of men, women would have to be able to control reproduction as if they were men.

Lader convinced NOW's leadership that legalized abortion would level the playing field in a male ­dominated work­force.

Dr. Nathanson, who later became a pro-­life activist, states in his book "Aborting America" that he and Lader were able to convince Friedan that abortion was a civil­ rights issue.

Later, he admitted that he and Lader simply made up the numbers of women dying from illegal abortions, which had been a major point in their argument.

Making abortion a civil­ rights issue quickly transformed it into the very symbol for women's equality. What Nathanson and Lader had been unable to do in years of lobbying state legislatures was accomplished by labeling abortion a civil right and successfully selling this concept to NOW.

Since then, NOW has made the preservation of legal abortion its No. 1 priority. Its literature repeatedly states that access to abortion is "the most fundamental right of women, without which all other rights are meaningless."

Many years ago, however, very Cliff Brent statements typified the feminist movement, statements such as: "If women were in positions of power, there would be no war. Problems would not be solved by violence."

But once NOW bought into the concept of superiority of women over their own children by the violence of abortion, they replaced a patriarchal system that the early feminists chose to reject with a modern­ day matriarchy. That is quite different from feminism that respects the basic rights of all human beings.

Yet, while members of the women's movement of the '70s continue to promote abortion, another movement is going forward with real solutions. This movement, a renaissance of the original American feminism, is built on a progressive ethic that challenges the status quo.

Pro­-life feminists recognize abortion as a symptom of-not a solution to- the continuing struggles women face in the workplace, at home and in society.

Rather than having to succeed in the workplace by passing as men, women should be accepted for themselves-and our life­giving capacity should be celebrated.

Like Susan B. Anthony and other early American suffragists, today's pro­-life feminists envision a better world, where no woman would be driven by desperation into the personal tragedy of abortion.

(Feminists for Life was started 25 years ago when two women were thrown out of a NOW meeting in Ohio for distributing anti­-abortion literature. Early American feminists fought for a women's right to vote and for our right to life. We proudly continue their legacy.)"

Supplementary Reading
Direct From the Horse's Mouth:
Abortion and the Lying Liars Who Lie About It

:: ashli 9:20 AM # ::

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