From its early beginnings, feminism was a young women’s movement. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, Charlotte Lozier and so many others began their suffragist work in their 20s. These women — the original feminists — understood that the rights of women cannot be built on the broken backs of unborn children. Anthony called abortion “child murder.” Paul, author of the original 1923 Equal Rights Amendment, said that “abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.”
So the pro-life movement hasn’t changed the meaning of feminism, as has been suggested. It was the neo-feminists of the 1960s and ’70s who asked women to prize abortion as the pathway to equality.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, along with a group of mostly Democratic women, started the Susan B. Anthony List in 1992, the so-called Year of the Woman, when numerous pro-choice women were elected to Congress. Dannenfelser, then in her mid-20s, saw a need to support more pro-life women running for elected office. Twenty years since the organization’s founding, we now have two pro-life women in the Senate, 17 in the House, four in governorships and hundreds more in state legislatures.