One of the most common asides in the midst of a discussion about abortion policy is that a cult of misogynistic old men are driving the activism from the anti-abortion side—this is often implied, and sometimes explicitly said, to be proof positive of the insidious anti-women agenda at the core of the pro-life movement. Even if you were to concede (which I don’t) that men shouldn’t have any say in the abortion debate, it wouldn’t really matter: Despite Planned Parenthood’s best efforts, there’s no way to erase the pro-life women leading the way in the fight against abortion.
First, the nation’s leading anti-abortion groups are virtually all headed up by women. Secular Pro-Life itself was founded by one! The President of the March for Life is Jeanne Mancini, (who has, by the way, put in wonderful and effective work over the past decade to expand the movement’s reach and unite activists across the political and religious spectrum in the quest to end on-demand abortion for good), and some of the most prominently featured speakers in recent years during the weekend of the March itself have included Louisiana State Rep. (and later State Sen.) Katrina Jackson (D) and former U.N Ambassador Nikki Haley. Lila Rose was a teenager when she founded LiveAction, which aims to educate young Americans about the violent nature of abortion procedures. Home to the nation’s top pro-life scorecard, Susan B. Anthony List’s (SBA List) president is Marjorie Dannenfelser. Combined, SPL, March for Life, LiveAction, and SBA List have followers that number in the millions across social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. When you think about it, refusing to recognize the leading role that women play in the anti-abortion activist movement might actually be the very thing that the abortion apologists claim to be fighting against: sexism.
Second, we turn to Washington D.C. Yes, there are many men who have advanced the cause of life in Congress, but there are many women, too. And, according to an analysis cited by SPL in 2019, female anti-abortion legislators are the most vocal contributors to the abortion debate online. Regardless of your political affiliation, it’s impossible to ignore the staunch pro-life stances of Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). In 2020, a record pro-life wave swept the house, and at its forefront were women like Reps. Young Kim (R-Calif.) and Kat Cammack (R-Fla.).
Finally, pro-life women continue to dominate state politics across the country. Governors such as Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa) and Kay Ivey (R-Ala.) have proudly signed bills to protect the unborn since taking office. In Arkansas, Republican AG Leslie Rutledge has committed to defending life in state and federal court. Jackson authored the sucessful 2020 ballot measure declaring that there is no constitutional right to abortion in Louisiana. And Democrats also elected a slate of Planned Parenthood foes to state offices: Democrats for Life of America reports that over a dozen endorsed female candidates won down-ballot elections in November. These are just a few examples (the list goes on, and on, and on…).
The bottom line is that even if every pro-life man were removed from the conversation, the cause would continue to have countless champions who recognize the need to protect the right to life of every human being, born or unborn. Shame on anybody who tries to discount their contributions.