In fall 2006, Feminists for Life hosted the first ever e-tutorial of its kind: Pro-Woman Answers to Pro-Choice QuestionsSM.
In celebration of Women's History Month 2007, FFL developed a new e-tutorial about our feminist foremothers. As you get to know these courageous women a bit better, I hope that you will plan on sharing our rich pro-woman, pro-life history by forwarding FFL's "Herstory of the Week" to your family and friends.
Feminists for Life proudly works to realize the unfulfilled vision of Susan B. Anthony, who urged the feminist movement to address the root causes that drive women to abortion.
Sarah F. Norton
Little is known about
the life of 19th century suffragist Sarah F. Norton beyond her writings. She
was a public speaker, writer for feminist publications, and member of the
Working Women's Association who advocated for the education of women and girls
and equal opportunity in the workplace and equal pay for women.
Together, Sarah Norton
and Susan B. Anthony agitated for the admission of women to Cornell University,
"that stronghold of feminine prejudice," and won the support of the university's
founder, Ezra Cornell. Norton wrote to Anthony's newspaper The Revolution:
After speeches by [Anthony] and myself, the house became noisy,
at her suggestion, for a speech from Mr. Cornell. With inimitable grace
he walked to the platform and turning so as to command a view of both the
audience and ourselves as much as possible, said: "...I would say in reply
to Mrs. Norton's expressed wish to enter the University, that if she does
not enter it, it will be her own fault." ...Mr. Cornell assured us that women
are to be admitted... how far his personal influence or wishes will avail
against the power [of the trustees and directors], remains to be proved....
A year later, in 1870,
Cornell became one of the first universities in the United States to admit
But equal education and
employment opportunities were not Norton's only concerns. In another feminist
newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, Sarah Norton harshly
decried the "Tragedy—Social and Domestic" of infanticide and "the fast increasing
crime of fúticide," or abortion.
[C]hild-murder is an easy and every-day affair.... [C]hild murderers
practice their profession without let or hinderance, and open infant butcheries
unquestioned, establishing themselves with an impunity that is not allowed
to the slaughterers of cattle.... Scores of persons advertise their willingness
to commit this form of murder, and with unblushing effrontery announce their
names and residences in the daily papers. No one seems to be shocked by
the fact.... [C]irculars are distributed broadcast, recommending certain pills
and potions for the very purpose, and by these means the names of these
slayers of infants, and the methods by which they practice their life-destroying
trade, have become "familiar in our mouths as household words." ...Is there
no remedy for all this ante-natal child murder? ...Perhaps there will come
a time when... an unmarried mother will not be despised because of her motherhood...
and when the right of the unborn to be born will not be denied or interfered
Norton was particularly
concerned that double-standards regarding the sexes should be eliminated,
and that men should be held responsible for the "instigating" role they so
Feminists for Life is
proud to share our rich pro-life feminist history with the next generation
of pro-woman, pro-life leaders. We invite women and men from various perspectives
to participate in creating solutions that meet the needs of pregnant women
and parents in the workplace, on college campuses and at home.
"Herstory: Sarah F. Norton
and Eliza Bisbee Duffey" by Mary Krane Derr
Fall 1999: Back on Campus, pg. 20
Cat Clark is author of
"The Truth About Susan B. Anthony: Did One of America's First Feminists
Oppose Abortion?" the feature story in the Spring
2007 issue of The American Feminist,®
on Pearl Buck (http://www.feministsforlife.org/taf/2004/spring/Spring04.pdf),
and has served as a past editor of The