Marjorie Dannenfelser

Here's the problem: if women's rights are undermined by outlawing a procedure that allows us to choose to mutilate and suction out the brains of a baby, mid-birth, then women's rights deserve to be trashed. I would suggest that there is more to women's rights than this. We need go no further than women's rights trailblazer Elizabeth Cady Stanton to dismiss the idea that women's rights and abortion rights are synonymous. "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," she wrote in a letter to her friend Julia Ward Howe.

And Susan B. Anthony's newspaper The Revolution reinforces Justice Kennedy's assertion about the burden an abortion could have. Her editorial warned, "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..."

Further, if denying the choice of this particular procedure is a threat to every choice to abort as our current women leaders claim, then their position cannot be maintained in legislatures. These women are indeed on the wrong side of history – or herstory. Not because of some "ancient" notions of the subjugation of women returning inexplicably to haunt modern women. As if! No, it is because women have intelligence and consciences and are capable of making informed, moral decisions to pass laws that provide the protections of unborn children they support. All the while, they can safeguard their own legitimate human rights.

The old guard's only hope is in the dictatorship of the Supreme Court. That is because Americans, and women in particular, do not agree that the "right" to abortion is absolute. As a group, they are grappling with which restrictions they support, not whether they support any. Since the so-called right to abort is not absolute, then perhaps it is time the democratic process and the majority of American women who support some restrictions on the procedure be allowed to pass laws in which they believe.

It is past time that women as a "movement" use power for noble and life-giving purposes – rather than for mounting legal arguments to safeguard such a hideous procedure. There is enough suffering and violence in the world.

Honestly, it is past time to throw out this old guard of so-called "women's leaders," and it is time to elect women to public office who truly represent women on this issue.

With Ms. Gandy, I could not agree more on one point. November 2008 cannot come soon enough.


Marjorie Dannenfelser

Marjorie Dannenfelser is President of the Susan B. Anthony List.

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