Kathryn Lopez

As the former governor of Alaska tends to do, Palin rallied the people about the future and their role in it. Referring to the recent health care debate and the failure of nearly every so-called pro-life Democrat to step up to the plate, Palin talked about how a "new pro-life, pro-woman majority will actually be pro-life when it counts, when those votes are needed."

And so for days after, there was the usual anti-Palin march of derision. On the Washington Post's website, two Anthony aficionados asserted: "Sarah Palin is no Susan B. Anthony." They lamely criticized Palin for not providing enough footnotes in her speech to prove that Anthony cared all that much about abortion.

As they worked to demonstrate that Anthony was indifferent on abortion, the Palin critics managed to conveniently skip over the other suffragettes and their writings in newspapers and letters. Like the letter Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote to Julia Ward Howe in 1873 in which she explained, "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."

The Post article dismisses anonymous editorials in the newspaper Anthony was intimately involved with. But to do so is to ignore the attitudes that were a natural part of the activism for which early feminists are most well-known. Attitudes that are truly reflective of so many pro-life groups today -- including the much derided and hated Catholic Church and evangelical activists who for decades now have labored to keep the fight active

One respondent to Palin argued: "Her usual rhetoric extolling the values and importance of freedoms doesn't extend to women." In the rhetoric and reality of the liberal feminist movement from which a comment like that is born, freedom doesn't extend to the unborn child. Increasingly, Americans are not tolerating this. In the tradition of the suffragettes, women, increasingly, will have none of it.

And so I understand why women of the left react early and often to Palin. It's not about her, it's about the threat to their power she represents. They've based so much of their political activism on the tenets of the sexual revolution, which have been such a disaster for women, men, children, and families. But the jig is up. It didn't fly with the likes of Anthony and Stanton. And it's increasingly not flying now. It's not the pro-lifers who went rogue in the first place.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.