“Free abortion on demand and without apology.”
This is the rallying cry of today’s staunchest abortion advocates.
Self-identifying as feminists, these activists demand unfettered abortion rights, and they uphold abortion as a human right and social good. Without abortion, they argue, women would not possess equal opportunities for education, career advancement, or happiness. In short, women cannot progress or meet their full potential unless they can end the life of the child in their womb. For them, abortion on demand is the achievement par excellence of the feminist movement.
The rub is that history and empirical data tell a radically different story about women’s progress.
Abortion is not a modern phenomenon. In fact, laws related to preborn life go back thousands of years to the ancient Babylonians. In the early days of the women’s movement, long before Roe v. Wade, women seeking abortion turned to abortifacient drugs and procedures. Then as now, many women were driven to seek abortions by systemic problems such as poverty, lack of partner support, and sexual subjugation to men. Yet, history’s most well-known feminist activists did not rally for abortion rights.
[bctt tweet=”History’s most well-known feminist activists did not rally for abortion rights” username=”HumanCoalition”]
Abortion hasn’t solved the problems women have faced throughout human history, and modern feminists are remiss to fantasize that unrestricted access to abortion could solve any problems today. The 44 years that have lapsed since Roe v. Wade have proven once and for all that unfettered abortion access does not contribute to women’s well-being. In fact, early feminists viewed abortion as a symptom of the broader problems women faced – not a solution to their struggles. This is a key difference between first-wave feminism and today’s abortion movement.
Susan B. Anthony, who dedicated her entire life to improving the lives of women, said she found her fulfillment in making changes that would allow pregnant women to thrive: “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 that their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them.” This desire to address women’s obstacles, rather than remove the child through abortion, was the unanimous hope of the feminist foremothers.
[bctt tweet=”Susan B. Anthony found fulfillment in making changes that would allow pregnant women to thrive” username=”HumanCoalition”]
The findings of modern science and research suggest that our feminist foremothers were startlingly insightful. Data now provides evidence that abortion hurts women and kills magnificent human beings. Medical science illustrates the breathtaking humanity of the preborn child. And longitudinal studies have proven that abortion has devastating effects on women, ranging from an exponentially greater likelihood of tragedies such as substance abuse and suicide, to jarring medical risks like preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies. Today’s data, like yesterday’s feminist foremothers, suggest that women would be better served by having their problems addressed, not by violently and permanently removing their child from the equation.
When it comes to defending preborn lives and standing up for the rights of women, pro-life advocates have every advantage, including history, data, and the original feminists America knows and loves.