“Guilty? Yes. No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life; it will burden her soul in death. . “
Susan B. Anthony
We have many freedoms that we take for granted as women today. No one thinks anything of women going to universities to pursue degrees in any area of life that they wish. Women vote, own property, go wherever they want, and actually do pretty much anything that men do including participate in the vices that were traditionally male habits such as smoking.
We would really scream and holler if we were denied any of these rights. But one hundred and fifty years ago there were restrictions on all of these activities for women. One person who gave her life to the cause of women’s suffrage was Susan Brownell Anthony.
Susan was born in South Adams, Massachusetts, on February 15, 1820. Her family was Quaker. She was home taught in her early years and then finished schooling at a Friends’ boarding school.
When she took a job as a substitute teacher for a male colleague and received only one fourth of the pay that he did, she realized that women were suffering great wrongs. She quit teaching and became active instead in trying to right those wrongs.
There are many interesting biographies of Susan B. Anthony. Here are just a few things that she achieved:
1. She began to fight for women’s suffrage in the early 1850’s. When she was refused admittance to a temperance convention because she was a woman, she organized the Women’s New York State Temperance Society. Thanks to her tireless efforts women began to be admitted to other conventions with the right to speak, vote, and serve on committees. They were beginning to be admitted to educational institutions as well.
2. Susan began to challenge the New York state legislature to pass laws giving the right to women to own property. She also fought for and won the right for married women to keep possession of their earnings and have the guardianship of their children. We cannot imagine that these things were the norm for women 150 years ago.
3. In 1872, in an attempt to claim that the constitution already permitted women to vote, Susan B. Anthony cast a test vote in Rochester, New York, in the presidential election. She was found guilty, though she refused to pay the resulting fine (and the order was never enforced).
4. She continued to fight on for the rest of her life. For many years she averaged over 100 lectures annually. She helped out in the campaigns for the enfranchisement of women in eight different states. After 1869, Congress granted her the right to appear and speak before committee hearings almost every year.
5. While the right to life for unborn babies is not the main thing that people remember Susan B. Anthony for, she understood that fighting for the rights of women included those same rights for unborn women.
Those of us, including yours truly, have much to thank the women who bravely went before us. We take education, writing, equal employment, and all of the other constitutional rights for granted. But we did not have them at one time. We can’t help but admire the courage of Susan B. Anthony. Imagine what it must have been like for Susan to try and get the attention of people in her society in a day when it was truly a “male” world.
In looking at the things that Susan fought for in the late 1800’s, modern women would not consider her an extreme feminist. We believe that the privileges that women enjoy now are only right. How was Susan B. Anthony a feminist?
Today there are many who shudder as soon as they hear the word “feminist”. I understand that, but I would urge readers to think about what the word really means. If it only means that women would like to be treated with the dignity that they were given at creation, then it is a positive description. Femininity includes all of the things that define a woman, including the fact that she is an image-bearer of God. Truly feminine women understand their role in the world that God has given them.
Unfortunately, a counterfeit image of “feminism” for women has emerged. These rebellious, obnoxious, selfish women have stolen the term for themselves, but there is truly nothing “feminine” about them. They are far removed from the true nobility of women – the privilege of being able to give life, not take it.
In the years since Susan B. Anthony fought for women’s suffrage, “abortion rights” have become synonymous with women’s rights. For some reason women have been told that they are not truly free unless they have the right to do away with their unborn children. This seems to be the defining issue. But, is the ability to end someone else’s life what truly makes a woman free? Does killing a helpless, unborn baby make a woman “feminine”? I think not.
Susan’s friend and co-worker, Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, “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.” Apparently these early pioneers for women’s rights could see how hypocritical it is for women to demand their “rights” but deny them to unborn women. Elizabeth Stanton referred to abortion as “infanticide”. That is truly what it is. It is not just a “pregnancy that didn’t work,” as a congresswoman recently said.
This is really one of the biggest lies that Satan has ever put over on women.
In 1869, when Susan B. Anthony wrote the quote at the beginning of this post, it was plainly known that abortion was wrong, even though, at that time, women had fewer options for making a living and supporting themselves. In the years when women could not easily get an education, or control their own money or lives, the decision to keep an unplanned baby was very much more difficult than in today’s welfare society. As tough as the decision was, the feminists of the nineteenth century believed that abortion was wrong. Though Susan gave her whole life to gaining equal rights for women, she would probably be rejected by today’s “feminists” simply because she would reject their abortion agenda.
Susan B. Anthony had an opportunity to marry a fine man, but chose instead to devote her life to righting the wrongs against women. She often stood alone. It is wonderful what one woman can do when she acts on the courage of her convictions. I am sitting here, enfranchised, college educated, and able to write a story on my own computer because of women like her. I am thankful for all of the privileges that I have.