Anna Belle Pfau, an amateur historian specializing in American women’s history, penned this opinion piece, which we found at David Horowitz's NewsReal Blog:
Ann Gordon, editor of The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and Lynn Sherr, the noted biographer of Susan B. Anthony, have co-penned an article lambasting Sarah Palin for her speech before the Susan B. Anthony List, a prominent pro-life group. The gist of their article is hard to discern, as it really does come across as a disorganized diatribe against Palin for no other reason than that her name appeared in print next to Anthony’s.Ms. Pfau's unabridged op-ed is available here and here.
Gordon and Sherr do attempt to make a cogent argument about the accuracy of historical scholarship, but they are unable to hold themselves to that same standard. They claim that no one knows if Susan B. Anthony was pro-life and that, at any rate, she didn’t think the subject belonged in politics. They also say there is no evidence from Anthony herself that she was pro-life, and provide contradictory evidence to that claim by citing a letter which clearly suggests Anthony had moral qualms about a terminated pregnancy she knew about. Gordon and Sherr make no mention of the fact that Anthony’s newspaper, The Revolution, clearly articulated anti-abortion or pro-life views on a regular basis.
My biggest issue over the outbreak of this argument, however, is the short-sightedness of women like Gordon and Sherr, who purport to support progress for women, and yet attack one of the biggest symbols of that progress simply because their belief in left-feminism allows them to dictate who can and cannot be a feminist. The breakfast Palin spoke at has been covered by the media ad nauseam, and this new debate only serves to titillate the media pundits who thrive on this kind of thing. This is a function of our fractured politics.
Left-feminism is so caught up in preserving itself as a brand for the Democratic Party that it can’t see, or support, progress – not even when it happens right in front of them. This sets the worst example for those newly minted feminists on the Right, who have, perhaps, only started their own partisan version of feminism because they have been shunned and rejected by their short-sighted progressive counterparts. It’s worth noting that Gordon and Sherr have both made significant contributions to the modern women’s rights movement, and that should not be forgotten. But it’s a shame they have allowed partisanship to trump what they know are the righteous goals of equality and opportunity for all women. And it’s a lost opportunity for us all when we breed partisan division among women and groups who could otherwise work together and achieve progress for all women.