Pro-Life Future chapters recently took the opportunity of Susan B Anthony’s birthday to reach new audiences with the pro-life ethic and message: young adult peers and the often radically pro-abortion women calling themselves feminists.
“We wanted to celebrate Susan B.,” said one chapter member in Boston. “And celebrate life. And show that women’s rights and babies’ rights go hand-in-hand, aren’t in conflict. You can’t let someone kill a child without hurting the mother.”
What chapters also set out to do was extend awareness of Susan B. Anthony’s pro-life feminism. Her legacy was one of fighting for women’s rights; and since she was consistent, she never included abortion – then called “Restilism” – in her definition of rights.
“How can killing another human person be a right? It can’t.”
One of the things chapters did to raise awareness, and reach people not generally in touch with the idea of pro-life feminism, or Anthony’s authentic legacy, was flood social media with quotes, articles, Facebook posts and tweets, all relating back to the theme “#SusanBProLife” and “#ProLifeFeminist”.
In Boston, a quote from the 1872 Revolution (Anthony’s feminist newspaper), was circulated widely. It comes from the article entitled “Babies”, and reads:
We love babies. We confess it without a blush, and experience a reckless satisfaction in thinking what a number of gentlemen there will be amongst our readers upon whom this unqualified assertion will come as a shock. Yet who could pity a man who does not love babies? Let ANY man object to the little plump precursors of posterity, and he places you at once in possession of the exact breadth and dimension of his mind. Dr. Johnson used to proportion the value of a man’s intellect to the quality of his humour. We go further, and proportion a man’s intellect to the capacity of his sympathies. The test of a man’s sympathies is his love for babies. He that has not this love in his soul let him not be trusted.
“Loving babies has to mean loving women too,” said Anna, from the Lehigh Valley Chapter.
The Boston Events Coordinator, Stephanie, quoted from Susan B. herself, in her typically steely style: “I deplore the horrible crime of child-murder…We want prevention, not merely punishment. We must reach the root of the evil, and destroy it.”
“Some of what Anthony wrote sounded a little guilt-ridden – but I love how she addresses the fault of men in the issue. That men force women into a place where they feel obligated [to kill their child],” said Stephanie.
Chapters, however, kept it both serious and light. Boston planned a pro-life feminist flash mob (unfortunately snowed out); in San Francisco, the team suggested wearing the red shawl (one thing Anthony was rarely seen without) and allowing it to spark conversation in the SF bar scene.
“Hosting this event gave me the opportunity to talk about Susan B. Anthony and her crucial role in the women’s suffrage movement,” said Terrisa, San Francisco PLF president. “So many of my friends were unaware of how instrumental she was in establishing equal rights for women under the law, and certainly did not know she was pro-life. It’s exciting to celebrate feminism in a way that’s totally inclusive and truly progressive. We must spread the word far and wide that the earliest feminists were consistent in their application of human rights and rightfully saw the lethal discrimination against the unborn to be in direct opposition to equality.”
Lehigh Valley also did a quick overview of how to write an op-ed, encouraging their members as well as all other chapters to send out pieces to their local or national newspapers this week, discussing Susan B. Anthony’s pro-life feminism. Even Phoenix, a chapter just taking off, took the chance to talk #SusanBProLife to the Arizona community, using momentum from their amazing Defund Planned Parenthood Rally last weekend.
At the end of the day, it is almost impossible to gauge just how many the nationwide Pro-Life Future event reached. But what was clear was just how much creativity and energy the Pro-Life Future network of chapters has – their ability to reach new audiences, act on the fly, and use innovative strategies for making abortion unthinkable in their regions. This event built relationships within chapters; but it also built them between chapter members and fellow young adults who might never have spoken with a pro-lifer in any other context.
I think Susan B. Anthony – in her own dogged, creative, and consistent dedication to defending the most vulnerable as an activist and a woman – would have been proud.