WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH: Pro-Life Women in the Spotlight

March 4, 2009

  Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. Her family was a large Quaker family, with eight children all together. When Susan was 6 years-old, her family moved to New York, where she enrolled in a local school. The teacher refused to teach Susan math, so her father pulled her out of the school and decided to educate her at home.

It was here Susan first came across the image of a strong woman. Her father hired a teacher named Mary Perkins, an independent woman, working in what was then a profession reserved for men.

Susan was quickly drawn to the anti-slavery movement. Starting in 1854 Susan became a good friend of Frederick Douglass and worked tirelessly to abolish slavery. During this time and in her work with the temperance movement, she met another early feminist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

In 1868, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton joined together to publish The Revolution, a newspaper on women’s rights. In 1869, Susan wrote an article on abortion, which she called the, “horrible crime of child-murder.” She also wrote,

 “Guilty? 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!”

Susan realized that abortion was not a solution for women. Her work sought to gain equality for women, which she believed eliminated the need for abortion.

After the Civil War, Susan turned her focus toward gaining women the right to vote. She traveled across the country, speaking about women’s rights and gaining petitions asking for the right to vote. She appeared before Congress every year from 1869 to 1906. In 1872, Susan cast a ballot in Rochester, NY. She was subsequently arrested, tried, and found guilty. True to her convictions, Susan never paid the $100 fine for voting illegally.

Susan B. Anthony died in 1906, 14 years before women got the right to vote. Without her dedication, however, the 19th Amendment would have never come to pass.

Sources: Biography of Susan B. Anthony, Susan B. Anthony House

Susan B. Anthony, University of Rochester


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