Women of the Anti-Choice Movement

Recently, The Washington Post ran an article about anti-choice women. “A Feminine Face for the Anti-Choice Movement” focused on several female anti-choice leaders, including Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List; Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life; and Penny Nance, chief executive of Concerned Women for America, among others.

According to Washington Post writer Lisa Miller, these women were representatives of a “major strategic shift in the abortion war” and not just because they put forth a warmer, less crotchety image than anti-choice leaders like Jerry Falwell. Because while older male leaders were unable to relate to “a poor woman with no support system and a bunch of kids at home” who was facing an unwanted pregnancy, these women are somehow able to relate, simply because they are working mothers.

The idea that no matter how much you disagree with a message, hearing it come from someone of your gender makes it better, is simplistic and sexist. If that really is the belief that the anti-choice movement is working under, then it gives women even less credit than I imagined. [Read more...]

Women’s History Month: Anti-Choice Women

Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life

As we move through Women’s History Month, it is interesting to look at the role that women are playing in the anti-choice movement. While there are a surprisingly large number of candidates to choose from, three women really caught my attention: Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life; Marjorie Dannenfelser, president and co-founder of the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA-List); and blogger Jill Stanek.

Americans United for Life is a public interest law and policy organization that works with anti-choice legislators to pass anti-choice laws and defend those laws in court. One of AUL’s stated goals is to help pass legislation that would inform women of the oft-discredited link between abortion and breast cancer.

In contrast, SBA-List has one overriding goal: to end abortion in the US. To that end, the organization works to elect anti-choice women to Congress; train and equip potential anti-choice candidates to run for office; and advocate for the passage of anti-choice legislation in Congress. Recently, the SBA-List fought to keep abortion out of health care reform and vote out anti-choice Democrats that voted in favor of reform. The organization was also was sued by Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) for claiming that Driehaus voted for “taxpayer-funded abortion;” in response, SBA-List filed a motion to dismiss the suit.

Ironically, Dannenfelser was once pro-choice. As an undergraduate at Duke University, she even served as the “pro-choice chair” for the school’s College Republicans. But then Dannenfelser spent a summer interning in Washington, DC, and she shared a house with other Republican interns. Dannenfelser began dating a man who was anti-choice, and as a consequence started to re-evaluate her own views about abortion. But Dannenfelser has also recounted another event that summer that was apparently also instrumental in shaping her political views. After a porn video belonging to a housemate’s friend was destroyed, a “bitter schism” broke out between the house’s libertarians and social conservatives over who should pay for the tape. Dannenfelser, along with the other conservatives, moved out.
[Read more...]

Prochoice and Antiabortion Advocates Square Off

Following the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, Russia Today featured a segment about the continued debate over abortion in the United States. Following the segment, RT hosted a debate between pro-choice and anti-choice advocates. I represented Feminists for Choice, and Anna Franzonello represented Americans United for Life.


We debated several aspects of the abortion debate, including whether the Supreme Court was the best mechanism for legalizing abortion, or whether states should have been given the opportunity to make the decision themselves. We discussed taxpayer funding for abortion, and also explained why we attended the March for Life. It was my first television appearance so naturally I was incredibly nervous, but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The show’s host was great, and the Ms. Franzonello was a good co-panelist.