8.30.2005

Turning In Her Grave...

Planned Parenthood has a news item cheering Elizabeth Cady Stanton and all she did for women's suffrage. Coline Jenkins, Stanton's great great-granddaughter, wrote the article and also granted Planned Parenthood the use of photographs from the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust to celebrate Women's Equality Day on August 26, which was the anniversary of the date that the women's right to vote was ratified into law in 1920.

Coline's mother, Rhoda Jenkins, who is Stanton's great-granddaughter, is quoted as saying:

"If you can't control your reproduction, you can't get a job and get enough money to be independent," she told me. "Now that reproduction is controlled, you can invest in an education and use it. At the present time there are more women in universities than men. During the time of my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in the early 1800s, the doors of universities were closed to women.

"A general belief was that the study of Greek and mathematics would render a female sterile. Education was dangerous; females were in constant danger of losing 'femininity.' Well, as a teenager, my great-grandma studied Greek, won the school prize, a Greek lexicon, and went on to birth seven kids.

"Obviously, if she had seven children, she wasn't practicing birth control. At the time many women didn't understand the mechanics well enough, other than abstinence. Large families were all the fashion, to populate the United States that was fairly empty at the time.

"Planned Parenthood is absolutely necessary. I support it very highly."


I find it difficult to understand why it is that Planned Parenthood equates the right to vote with the right to abort. Why is it that Planned Parenthood is celebrating Women's Equality Day? The right to vote was a great victory for women's rights - there's no doubt about that, but how is that right somehow linked with the right to abort? Why, on Women's Equality Day, would we want to view this as an abortion rights issue?

Of course, the answer is that Planned Parenthood wants us to view abortion rights as tied to women's rights. The right to abort is not the same as the right to vote. It does not make us equal. How many men do you know that have had to have an abortion? How many men have had to sacrifice their children in the pursuit of education, career, or the happiness of others. As Rhoda Jenkins put it, "If you can't control your reproduction, you can't get a job and get enough money to be independent...Now that reproduction is controlled, you can invest in an education and use it." Is that what it boils down to? We need to have abortion on demand available so that women can be successful?

Anyone can control reproduction without having an abortion by knowing the fertility cycle and abstaining on days that sex is likely to result in pregnancy. Not to mention, I know women who were able to go to school, get a job, and make enough money to be successful while they raised children. Stanton herself was able to become educated while she birthed 7 children, and she did it without having to resort to having an abortion.
  • Stanton is quoted as classifying abortion as a form of "infanticide." The Revolution, 1(5):1, February 5, 1868
  • She also is known for stating: ""When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit" Letter to Julia Ward Howe, October 16, 1873, recorded in Howe's diary at Harvard University Library
  • Concerning abortion she stated, "There must be a remedy even for such a crying evil as this. But where shall it be found, at least where begin, if not in the complete enfranchisement and elevation of women?" The Revolution, 1(10):146-7 March 12, 1868
Naturally, Planned Parenthood neglected to mention that Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the original pro-woman pro-lifers, and I can only imagine that she is turning in her grave knowing that her great-grandchildren are selling her out.

5 comments:

Rachael said...

I think they associate the right to vote with the right to have a voice in legislation on reproductive rights, and that's how that connection is made.

The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer said...

Good point Rachael. :) I think they also do want the public to view abortion rights as being as important as the right to vote as well. Kind of like "Elizabeth Cady Stanton paved the way for us to have abortion rights," which is untrue.

Rachael said...

Regarding Stanton's quote:
"When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit" Letter to Julia Ward Howe, October 16, 1873, recorded in Howe's diary at Harvard University Library

While I know this is a powerful pro-life feminism quote, I wonder if she ment it in the context of the unborn or if she were referring to infancide? Is there any indication of the intended context in any of her other letters or first person narratives?

The Pro-Woman Pro-Lifer said...

From what I understand, the context was concerning abortion. I don't have the proof to back that up, but if she had meant infanticide and not abortion, I think the quote would have been discredited by now.

LAmom said...

I believe that Elizabeth Cady Stanton was anti-abortion and pro-contraception. So it could be imagined that when they talked about "control of reproduction" they were talking about contraceptive use. But to use the words "control of reproduction" that way when referring to Mrs. Stanton when you've been using the words to mean abortion rights on the other 364 days of the year is misleading and a slap in the face to pro-life feminists.