Our Feminist Foremothers & Abortion (updated 3/07)

Susan B. Anthony called abortion "child-murder" [The Revolution 4(1):4 July 8, 1869] and further wrote: "No matter what the reason, if love of ease, or desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, a 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." Elizabeth Cady Stanton classed it along with the killing of newborns as "infanticide" [The Revolution, 1(5):1, February 5, 1868].  The Revolution and other feminist publications of the 19th century refused to print ads for abortifacients. "As law and custom give to the husband the absolute control of the wife's person, seh is forced to…outrage the holiest instincts of her being in order to maintain even a semblance of that freedom which by nature belongs to every human soul. 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."   [Mattie Brinkerhoff, The Revolution 1(18): 279, May 1868] "[This] subject lies deeper down into woman's wrongs than any other…I hesitate not to assert that most of [the responsibility for] this crime lies at the door of the male sex." [Matilda Gage, The Revolution 1(14): 215-16, April 9, 1868] "We want prevention, not merely punishment. We must reach the root of the evil…It is practiced by those whose inmost souls revolt from the...