Yesterday was Susan B. Anthony’s birthday. My Women’s Studies class celebrated her birthday, and to my surprise, it appeared that others were celebrating on campus too. Walking out of a later class, I saw fliers plastered in the Dennison stairwells with Susan B. Anthony’s quaint photo tag-lined with the message “another anti-choice fanatic: The woman who fought for the right to vote also fought for the right to life. We proudly continue her legacy.”
Who’s “we?” The flier was created by an organization called Feminists for Life. Their slogan – “Refuse to Choose. Women Deserve Better” – caught me off guard. Despite my radical feminist tendencies, I don’t harbor a lot of hostility towards people with pro-life beliefs, but this flier evoked something.
I had never heard or seen people– feminists for that matter– who actively promote denying womyn the right to choose (anything). Moreover, I’d never heard or seen any pro-lifers self-identifying as “anti-choice.”
Even if by some stretch of the imagination, Susan B. Anthony would fall in the pro-life camp (see this article), her position (1) needs to be historically contextualized – the medical practice and political implications were very different, and (2) we must recognize her politics as fundamentally advocating for womyn to be able to make choices (i.e., womyn should be able to vote).