Yglesias

Was Susan B Anthony Anti-Abortion?

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I’ve known for years that people who want to make abortions illegal, especially women who want to make abortions illegal, have claimed Susan B Anthony as one of their own. And I suppose that’s something I always took their word at—politics change a lot over time, and even though no leading feminists of the past several decades favor banning abortion different configurations of views could easily have been possible in the past.

Now it seems that this may simply be mistaken. “Generally the works ascribed to Anthony come from a newspaper she owned following the Civil War,” explains Kay Steiger, “but the article in question was simply signed by “A.” and there’s no historic evidence to suggest that Anthony was the author or that she ever used such a signature.” Ann Gordon and Lynn Sherr, two historians who’ve research Anthony’s life and writings extensively, say Anthony appears to have left no evidence of ever having thought about this question. Now she may or may not have formed some kind of private opinion, but evidently she didn’t see it as important one way or the other.