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Jean Schmidt

From the Congressional Record, 1-19-11

Watch a video of this speech

Rep. Schmidt discusses the legacy of pro-life women who fought for the Right to Life

Mrs. SCHMIDT. Thank you so much for those kind words from my friend from New Jersey.

You know, Mr. Speaker, when we talk about abortion, we think of this as a 40-year-old movement. We think about 1973 and Roe v. Wade, and that that was the catalyst to move this movement forward. We think about people like Barbara and Jack Wilke from Cincinnati, Ohio, pioneers and leaders who actually coined the phrase, right to life.
Mr. Speaker, we forget that this is not a 21st century issue. This is a centuries-old issue.

You know, it was actually the suffragists, those women over 150 years ago, who talked about women's rights, the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to speak, the right to run for public office, who also talked about the right to life.

To these women, the very concept of feminism demanded that the basic human rights be extended to everyone without exception, including the unborn. And feminism meant rejecting the use of force to control or destroy one another, particularly among the most vulnerable and defenseless of the population.

So to suffragists, the act of abortion was much more than harm imposed upon a woman and her child. It was a frontal assault on womanhood and feminism, and an insult to the philosophical underpinnings of their cause.

And how do we know this? Well you know, Mr. Speaker, all we have to do is look at their writings. All we have to do is look at people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and ``The Revolution.'' They both wrote extensively about abortion, calling it infanticide and child murder.

Susan B. Anthony also wrote, ``Guilty? Yes. No matter the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering from the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits abortion. It will burden her conscience in life; it will burden her soul in death.''
Victoria Woodhull, the first female candidate for President, stated similarly that ``Every woman knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth.''

Sarah Norton, who first challenged Cornell University to admit women, also pondered whether there would ever come a time when ``the right of the unborn to be born will not be denied or interfered with.''

And Alice Paul. We all remember Alice Paul, the author of the Equal Rights Amendment. Mr. Speaker, it may surprise you. She stated abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.

You know, I could talk all night about this, but we have women's history month in March, and I hope that I can be invited back again to speak more on the history of women and the human rights pro-life movement, because it's not just about human rights for one individual, it's about human rights for all individuals, the unborn, the born, and the elderly.

So I thank my colleague from New Jersey for hosting this forum tonight. I really appreciate his leadership in the pro-life movement, and we are going to continue to forge ahead until everyone in America has the right to life.


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