What Did Suffrage Leader Alice Paul tell FFL Co-Founder Pat Goltz about the ERA and Abortion?
On Women’s Equality Day, August 26th, we celebrate the day women won the right to vote in 1920. Three years later, Alice Paul would draft the original Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), seeking to end the legal distinction between men and women in terms of divorce, property, employment and other matters.
On the fateful night of November 18, 1967, at a NOW (National Organization for Women) meeting in a Washington DC hotel, feminists debated legalizing abortion for hours, following a resolution in support of the ERA. The pro-life feminist representatives gave up and left when they realized the deck was stacked against them. In the end, just 57 women voted for a resolution in support of legalizing abortion.
Afterwards, President of NOW, Betty Friedan, called a press conference, telling the world that women wanted legalized abortion.
During her time at the helm, Feminists for Life co-founder, Pat Goltz, acquired Alice Paul’s phone number and spoke with her directly. She recalls:
“I don’t remember all that much. It was close to a half-century ago! And the conversation may have lasted all of five minutes. I remember the following things clearly: She said that all the suffragists were staunchly pro-life. The ERA was never intended to make abortion legal. She saw that using the ERA to promote abortion was destroying its chances for ratification, and she was deeply grieved that her life’s work was being destroyed in this way. You could hear her grief in her voice. She didn’t tell me specifically that the suffragists had worked together with the AMA to outlaw abortion in the states, but I already knew that. The quotes you have from the suffragists show clearly why they thought abortion was the antithesis of women’s rights.”
FFL President, Serrin M. Foster
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