Early Feminist Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell Speaks

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first American woman to earn and M.D. She was active in abolitionism and other women’s causes.  She was also pro-life.  Here she describes the unborn baby and why it should be protected:

12 weeks

“Look at the first faint gleam of life, the life of the embryo, the commencement of human existence. We see a tiny cell, so small it may be easily overlooked; the anatomist may examine it with scapel or microscope, and what does he discover? Nothing but a delicate, transparent membrane, containing one drop of clear water; the chemist may analyze it with the most scrupulous care, and find nothing but the trace of some simple salts. And yet there is in that same germ cell something wonderful – life – it is a living cell; it contains a power progressive growth, according to laws, according, towards a definite type, that we can only regard with reverent admiration. Leave it in its natural home, tended by the rich life of the healthy maternal organism, and it will grow steadily into the human type; in no other by any possibility. Little by little the faint specks will appear in the enlarging cell, which marked the head, the trunk, the budding extremities; tiny channels will groove themselves in every direction, red particles of inconceivable minuteness will appear in them – they move, they tend towards one central spot, were little channel has enlarged, has assumed a special form, has already begun to palpitate; finally the living blood in the small arteries joins that in the heart, and the circulation is established. From every delicate incomplete part, minute nerve threads shoot forth, they tend invariably towards their centres. They join the brain, spinal marrow, the ganglia. The nervous system is formed. The cell rapidly enlarges, it attaches to the maternal organism become more powerful… The human type is surely attained, and after a brief period of consolidation the young existence, created from that simple cell, will awake to further development of independent life.”

12 weeks

“Look at the First Faint Gleam of Life…” By Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D., the Laws of Life, with Special Reference to the Education of Girls, (New York: Putnam and Sons, 1852) 70 – 73

Rachel McNair, Mary Krane Derr, and Linda Naranjo-Hubbl. Pro-Life Feminism: Yesterday and Today (New York: Sulzburger & Graham Publishing, Ltd.) 28 – 29

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Author: Sarah

Sarah Terzo is a writer for Live Action and a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians and Consistent Life. She lives in NJ.

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