What Did the Suffragists Really Think About Abortion?

Contrary to contemporary claims, Susan B. Anthony and her peers rarely discussed abortion, which only emerged as a key political issue in the 1960s

Treva B. Lindsey
May 26, 2022

In July 1869, an anonymously authored article appeared in the Revolution, a weekly newspaper run by suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Titled “Marriage and Maternity,” the essay deemed abortion a “horrible crime of child-murder,” albeit one practiced not out of malice, but desperation, “by those whose inmost souls revolt against the dreadful deed, and in whose hearts the maternal feeling is pure and undying.”

Signed only with the letter “A,” the article has long been used by anti-abortion advocates as proof of Anthony’s anti-abortion views and of a broader throughline within feminist thought and activism. This claim, however, ignores two key facts: first, that substantial evidence points to the author not even being Anthony, and second, that the essay argues against the criminalization of abortion, calling for “prevention, not merely punishment.”

Continued: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/what-did-the-suffragists-really-think-about-abortion-180980124/