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. You can help share our message (and your sense of humor!) with our Susan B. Anthony and other feminist foremother mugs.
Among her many forms of
activism, Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) was the proprietor and business manager
of the early feminist newspaper The Revolution. From the very beginning,
The Revolution had a known policy that "no quack or immoral advertisements
[for patent medicines] will be admitted," though these ads were a large
source of revenue for periodicals of the time.
The women and men who
produced the newspaper were not opposed to alternative and self-help medicine,
nor advertisements for medical doctors, but refused ads for "quack medicines"
because "Restellism has long found in these broths of Beelzebub, its
securest hiding place."
a period term for abortion, was named for Ann Lohman, who became notorious
for advertising and selling abortifacient medicines and performing surgical
abortions under the name "Madame Restell."
policy undermines the contention of some advocates of abortion that the early
feminists' opposition to abortion was because it was a dangerous procedure
performed late in pregnancy. In fact, the patent medicines that The Revolution
refused to advertise were often abortifacients designed to induce early miscarriage.
published advertisements from women physicians like Dr. Clemence Lozier,
fellow women's rights activist and mother-in-law of Dr.
Charlotte Lozier, but refused ads from abortion providers.
Parker Pillsbury, co-editor
of The Revolution with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, explained the newspaper's
policy in the context of criticizing less principled publishers. In an article
titled "Quack Medicines," he wrote:
Thoreau, one of the
profoundest of the Concord philosophers, used to say the most instructive
part of a newspaper is its advertisements…. Was it Goethe who said that
to understand an author, you must read between the lines of his book?
be read between the lines more carefully than newspapers. Nothing
they contain reveals so much to those who have eyes to see, as their
advertisements. Through these, the press and its patrons advertise themselves
to an extent they do not know…. Quack advertisements may lie never
so fearfully about the stuffs offered for sale; but they speak truly
of those who make and sell them, and not less truly of their accomplices
of the press that for gain and greed, will advertise and puff their
foul preparations. When conductors of public journals are so poor in
pocket and principle as to lend themselves to so foul a work, they should
be read always between their lines. They and their advertising patrons
in such business should be read out of their occupation by a wholesome
regard for the moral and material health of the community…. Sword,
pestilence and famine combined, are to be preferred to such a presence….
venders, however rich, proud, and pretentious, Foeticides and Infanticides,
should be classed together and regarded with shuddering horror by the
whole human race. And yet in every large city they hold more control
over the public health and public morals, than all the regular medical
schools and the pulpit combined. And by arts the most wily and diabolical,
they continue through the newspaper press to beguile the wise and prudent,
the high as well as the low, the rich, the poor, the religious, the
reprobate, and levy upon them all the most fearful contributions….
Thoreau and Goethe
were right. Let us learn to read authors between their lines, and to
judge of newspapers largely by their advertisements. Thus we shall get
an autobiography of all the authors, and learn the true quality and
character of our newspaper press.
ad policy could only be implemented with Susan B. Anthony's approval.
Her responsibilities included selling ads, and the policy remained in place
despite the newspaper's financial problems. When the newspaper went bankrupt
in 1870, Anthony assumed responsibility for the $10,000 debt, which she paid
off through "terrible struggle" over a period of seven years.
To read more 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, please visit
for more information.
- Mary Krane Derr, Rachel
MacNair, and Linda Naranjo-Huebl, ProLife Feminism Yesterday &
Today: Expanded Second Edition (Xlibris, 2005)
- The Revolution
(suffragist newspaper, New York, 1868-1870)
- Lynn Sherr, Failure
Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words (New York: Random
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,® and "Herstory"
on Pearl Buck (
and has served as a past editor of The
your heart while sipping a hot drink in one of our Feminist
Foremother mugs. Order two or more—share a cup with a friend or
just buy them for yourself, $12 each. Order four or more for $10 each.
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