House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told the Texas Tribune on Saturday that she felt famous feminists “crowding” her in her chair during her first meeting with President George W. Bush at the White House after becoming part of the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives.
“I’d never had this experience before, but I was just crowded in in my chair and I was like, What is happening here?” Pelosi told an audience at the Sept. 29 interview.
“And then I realized," Pelosi said, "that, sitting on the chair with me in that White House meeting while President Bush was speaking, was Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, they were all right there on the chair with me. And I heard them say, ‘At last we have a seat at the table.’”
All the women Pelosi mentioned are known for their leadership in the women’s rights movement.
Three of these women – Anthony, Stanton and Paul – were also pro-life, in contrast to Pelosi’s pro-abortion views.
In her interview, Pelosi suggested that a woman’s “right” to have an abortion was non-negotiable. “One place you can’t find common ground, I can just tell you this, is on the issue of a woman’s right to choose. That is the thing that is an absolute,” Pelosi stated.
According to Feminists for Life, a nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots organization which opposes abortion, Paul held a very different point of view. When feminists began to link the Equal Rights Act (ERA) with abortion, Paul “opposed” this trend, saying, “’Abortion is the ultimate in the exploitation of women.’”
Feminists for Life President Serrin M. Foster told CNSNews.com that her organization works to “educate Americans of our rich pro-life feminist history. The first wave feminists were pro-life, but we didn’t know this until our co-founder, Pat Goltz, met Alice Paul.”
Anthony and Stanton also opposed abortion. The Revolution, the paper that Anthony and Stanton published together, “editorialized against abortion, terming it ‘child murder’ and ‘infanticide’ while compassionately addressing its root causes in women’s oppression and advocating family planning,” Feminists for Life wrote.
In addition, Anthony made an anti-abortion comment in a speech in 1875. According to Feminists for Life, in the speech, “abortion is listed with infanticide and other murders among the negative consequences of the ‘evils’ perpetrated by men.”
“The newspaper reports every day of every year of scandals and outrages, of wife murders and paramour shooting, of abortions and infanticides, are perpetual reminders of men’s incapacity to cope successfully with this monster evil of society,” Anthony said in the speech.
Anthony also refused to publish ads promoting abortion, even though the ads would have been an important source of income.
“Anthony, the paper’s proprietor, spurned a lucrative revenue source for most periodicals of the era: ads for patent-medicine abortifacients. The lost income eventually forced her paper into bankruptcy,” Feminists for Life wrote.
Despite the pro-life leanings of these first wave feminists, Pelosi mentioned them in her interview.
Also, despite supporting legal abortion of American pre-born children, Pelosi told the audience that her biggest motivation for working in politics is “children in America.”
“Why? Because of children in America. That’s my motivation,” Pelosi said. “That’s why I pray for them morning and night, I work for them all day. One in five children in America lives in poverty.”
“So when people ask me what are the three most important issues facing the Congress, I always say the same thing: our children, our children, our children,” she added.
Foster says that women deserve better than to “choose between women and children.”
“We proudly walk in the shoes of our first wave feminist foremothers who refused to choose between women and children. They knew, as we do today, that women deserve better and every child deserves a chance at life,” Foster said.