21st Century SuffrageMar 28, 2012
I am a woman, an educated woman, a woman who has strong opinions and cannot keep them to herself. I am a woman who is tired of being told that there is a war going on and that it is waged upon me. I cannot sit idly by while Rome burns. No more than high heels are a prop men invented to subjugate women, neither is the reduction of abortion an affront against me as a woman. How have we as women forgotten that abortion globally is killing those of our gender by the millions? A June 2011 Wall Street Journal article reports, “There have been so many sex-selective abortions in the past three decades that 163 million girls, who by biological averages should have been born, are missing from the world.” Tell me, where are the candlelight vigils to mourn this tragic loss, this elective loss?
How have we as women ignored the ills that the regret over abortion wreaks on our souls? A 2003 Elliot Institute study of California Medicaid patients shows that post-abortive women were 160% more likely than other pregnant women to receive hospital treatment for psychiatric disorders in the first 90 days after either an abortion or delivery. And research shows, post-abortive women are much more likely to commit suicide than their peers. Why do we ignore these desperate cries for help?
How do we as women not see how the affirmation of abortion, limits women’s freedom? Andrew Bair of LifeNews correctly opines, “When a woman opts to get an abortion she is not doing so under the banner of women’s liberation. Far too often, she is driven to the abortion facility because it appears to be her only way out. In such cases, it is clear society is not meeting women’s needs. Legalized abortion has provided society an excuse not to provide the full range of resources to pregnant women. Society would much rather offer abortion than confront the very real issues faced by mothers trying simultaneously to advance themselves and care for their children. The pregnant college student, for instance, is often forced to decide between the life within her and her education. The availability of abortion on demand removes the pressure for universities to provide resources on campus for pregnant students or those already raising children. The women’s movement has not fully succeeded if society continues to tell pregnant women that they must decide between their children and their occupational aspirations.”
How have we as women forgotten where the women’s suffrage movement began? In the late 1800s and early 1900s, women graduated from their second class citizenship to receiving parity with men. Lest we forget, the rights of children (namely the unborn) were cherished by the movement’s leaders. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in 1873, “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.” Victoria Woodhull said in 1875, “Every women knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth.” Susan B. Anthony in 1889 wrote, “Sweeter even than to have had the joys of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so that their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them.” Mattie Brinkerhoff in 1869 wrote, “When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society – so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged.” Suffrage leaders of centuries past admit the incongruity of abortion with women’s rights. How have we gone so far astray to consider abortion an enhancer to women’s autonomy?
Instead, we beat our drums to the chant of “reproductive freedom” believing that we as women are liberating ourselves from a male-dominated tyranny reigning over us. We fall in line and opine our trampled rights – our right to live however it pleases us most. Women, wake to the truth! Until every member of the family, young and old alike, is granted dignity, only then, will women achieve true equality.