US Catholic Faith in Real Life

We need a year of the pro-life woman

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Getting pro-life women elected is one of the keys to ending abortion, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List writes.

By Guest Blogger Marjorie Dannenfelser

Political journalists called 1992 "the year of the woman." But, while watching the election returns that November, my friends and I realized that every woman elected embraced unrestricted access to abortion, a view that did not reflect our values as women. We decided to found the Susan B. Anthony List and dedicate ourselves to finding authentic pro-life women leaders who would represent our views--and those of the majority of women around the country--with the goal of ending abortion in America.

As 2010 emerges as "the year of the pro-life woman," the Susan B. Anthony List is poised to support a talented crop of authentic women leaders who believe that, without life, the gateway to all other rights is lost.

Our organization builds upon the spirit and tradition of the original suffragettes. Susan B. Anthony herself called abortion "child murder," but, as the feminist movement aged from the right to vote to the sexual revolution, feminist leaders lost sight of the true meaning of equality and the foundation of our identity that makes us uniquely women. The profound gift of bearing children became a burden, and the "right" to terminate those lives became the lynchpin of feminist politics.

But this election cycle is challenging that dogma. Strong, intelligent, successful, pro-life women are stealing the stage, redefining what it means to be a woman in politics. By electing pro-life women to Congress, we are poised to call on them to stand up for life. When an abortion bill is being debated, we can call on our women leaders to physically stand on the floor of the House or Senate to be a voice for the voiceless. And when legislators get elected using pro-life rhetoric, we can hold them accountable to vote that way. Otherwise, we work hard to make sure they know that their votes will have consequences.

Our response to the passage of a health care bill that lacked abortion-specific language is a perfect example of how the SBA List holds legislators' feet to the fire. Those health care votes had consequences and we are suffering them now.

So what can be done?

For starters, the SBA List is committed to unseating those legislators who call themselves "pro-life" but who voted for health care reform. We feel that these law makers are too dependent upon the false protection of an executive order. We have been working hard in those districts to educate voters about their representatives' votes, which we think handed us our most spectacular defeat since Roe v. Wade. Especially if they won their seats based on pro-life promises, we make certain their constituents know about it.

In "the year of the pro-life woman," our time has come, our work is about to pay off and we will reap the fruits of our labor. A turning point for the life issue draws closer and closer within reach with each national poll that challenges the radical pro-abortion agenda. We will not falter and we will not fail.

Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a nationwide network of over 280,000 Americans dedicated to mobilizing, advancing and representing pro-life women in the political process.

Posts from other pro-life advocates will be posted throughout Respect Life Month (October) at

Guest blog posts express the views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.