Yesterday, when posting a piece from two experts on Susan B. Anthony who stated that there was little to no evidence that Anthony “strongly pro-life,” I speculated that any anti-choice organization that would name itself after Anthony on the grounds that she was a pioneering pro-life activist would have copious evidence to support said claims.
Today, the Susan B. Anthony List responds to the experts’ claims … and just let me say that the SBA’s “evidence” is not particularly overwhelming:
Susan B. Anthony was passionate and logical in her arguments against abortion. The Revolution was her brainchild, co-founded with Elizabeth Cady Stanton as a weekly women’s rights newspaper that acted as the official voice of the National Woman Suffrage Association and in which appeared many of her writings alongside those of her like-minded colleagues. Most logical people would agree, then, that writings signed by “A” in a paper that Anthony funded and published were a reflection of her own opinions.
In one house editorial, signed “A”, she 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!” [The Revolution, 4(1):4 July 8, 1869]
That is the entirety of the evidence provided by SBA regarding Anthony’s anti-choice views: one house editorial, signed “A” … this, despite the fact that the experts addressed this very issue in their original piece, noting that no data exists these house editorials or ever used that shorthand for herself.
The rest of the SBA’s response is dedicated to explaining the thoughts of “Anthony’s compatriots” on the issue, as if that somehow provides evidence of Anthony’s views on the subject.
To make matters worse, the SBA’s response ends with this:
And, in case there’s still lingering doubt about where Susan B. Anthony’s convictions lie, her words to Frances Willard in 1889 speak for themselves: “Sweeter even than to have had the joy of children of my own has it been for 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 might be seen as supporting their claim … if Anthony hadn’t been talking about inheritance laws:
Anthony neither married nor had children, but when a leading publicist told her he thought she would make a wonderful mother, she took the occasion to comment on the unfairness of inheritance laws as they related to child custody: “I thank you, sir, for what I take to be the highest compliment, but 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.”