Dannenfelser: ‘Active antagonism’ on International Women’s Day

Dannenfelser: ‘Active antagonism’ on International Women’s Day
© Getty Images

One hundred and three years ago, on March 1, 1913, thousands of women converged on Washington, D.C., to express their support for equal voting rights for women. The Women’s Suffrage Parade marched from the Capitol to the White House and marked a turning point in the 60-plus year battle to secure a woman’s right to vote. Within seven years of the suffragettes’ march on Washington, the 19th Amendment was ratified and women began to take their rightful place in the political life of the nation. Among the women in the crowd in 1913 was Jeanette Rankin. She would go on to be the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.


Today, many successors to Rankin and her “sister suffragettes” are working with the same tenacity and vision as their forebears to secure an even more fundamental right — the right to life itself. Susan B. Anthony, the founding mother of the movement for women’s rights, said that abortion filled her with “indignation, and awakened active antagonism.” The organization I lead, named in her honor and inspired by her witness, is privileged to work with and provide crucial support to women who share her “active antagonism” to the violence abortion does to women and their children. We are tirelessly working to end it.

Through their efforts, I am confident we will pass national legislation to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the time at which an unborn child feels pain. We will also end taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, whose trafficking in the body parts of unborn babies was exposed last year. The women leading the fight on these and other pro-life initiatives are the true heirs to the movement represented by the Women’s Suffrage Parade of 1913, and they should be honored as such on this International Women’s Day.

Among them are:

•  Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who, in her first year in the Senate, led the effort to strip Planned Parenthood of taxpayer funding via the budget reconciliation process, a move that sets the stage for passage if a pro-life president is elected this November.

•  Carly Fiorina, whose presidential campaign was distinguished by her passionate and articulate prosecution of the case against Planned Parenthood and its barbaric trade in baby body parts.

Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Trump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' MORE (R-Tenn.), who as chairwoman of the House Select Investigative Panel is leading the congressional effort to expose the negligent and abusive practices of the abortion industry nationwide, including Planned Parenthood.

•  Rep. Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackBottom line Overnight Health Care: Anti-abortion Democrats take heat from party | More states sue Purdue over opioid epidemic | 1 in 4 in poll say high costs led them to skip medical care Lamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee MORE (R-Tenn.), a member of the Select Investigative Panel and a consistently courageous voice for the unborn who draws on her 40 years of experience as a nurse to witness to the tragic consequences of abortion for women and their unborn babies.

•  Rep. Martha RobyMartha Dubina RobyThe Go-Go's rock the stage at annual 'We Write the Songs' DC concert The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill MORE (R-Ala.), a longtime champion of pro-life, pro-woman policies, who was the first to speak out on the floor of the House of Representatives against Planned Parenthood’s harvesting the body parts of aborted babies for profit.

•  Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), a first-term congresswoman who has used her position in Congress to effectively prosecute the case against Planned Parenthood, exposing the fiction that they are a provider of mammograms.

In January 2016, at the 43rd March for Life since abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, Ernst, a veteran of the War in Iraq, underscored the message that to be pro-life is to be pro-woman, saying: “Many of those fighting against us have claimed that our efforts to defend and protect life at all stages of development constitute a ‘War on Women.’ I reject that. I am a woman, and I have been to war, and let me be clear, pro-life policies are no ‘War on Women.’ ” 

This theme was echoed in a video by members of Congress, including Reps. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann Foxx58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill The GOP's commitment to electing talented women can help party retake the House When disaster relief hurts MORE (R-N.C.), Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersLawmakers celebrate 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote The GOP's commitment to electing talented women can help party retake the House McCain and Dingell: Inspiring a stronger Congress MORE (R-Wash.) and Sen. Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump and House Democrats resume battle The Hill's Morning Report - Trump and House Democrats resume battle Steve King denied seat on Air Force One for Trump trip to Iowa: report MORE (R-Neb.).

The women who marched in 2016, like the women who marched in 1913, know that to be pro-life is to be pro-woman. One of the organizers of the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade, Alice Paul, was known to have called abortion the “ultimate exploitation of women.” Securing the right to life for the unborn is truly the unfinished work of the women’s rights movement. The women who are leading the way today are worthy heirs to that movement’s ideals. 


Dannenfelser is president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which is dedicated to electing candidates and advancing legislation to reduce and ultimately end abortion.