Elizabeth Cady Stanton on Abortion

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“When we consider that woman 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.”

Letter to Julia Ward Howe, October 16, 1873, recorded in Howe’s diary at Harvard University Library

She classified abortion as a form of “infanticide.” The Revolution, 1(5):1, February 5, 1868

Also from Stanton:

“Dr. Oaks made the remark that, according to the best estimate he could make, there were four hundred murders annually produced by abortion in this county alone….There must be a remedy to such a crying evil as this. But where should it be found, at least begin, if not in the complete enfranchisement and elevation of women?”

The Revolution 1(10) 146-147 March 12, 1868

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

Note: although Elizabeth Cady Stanton emphatically believe that abortion was murder, she was compassionate towards women who were in desperate circumstances. She successfully advocated for the release and pardon of a woman convicted of infanticide in the death of her newborn baby.


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