Patti Armstrong: What Did Wearing White at the SOTU Really Represent?

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Suffragettes march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Fifth Avenue on March 27, 1921. (Paul Thompson, The New York Times photo archive, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Many early champions of women’s rights in the U.S. made their opposition to abortion clear.

By Patti Armstrong, EWTN News, 2/10/19

“A bold statement” is what CNN called the coordinated effort for dozens of lawmakers to wear white as a sign during the State of the Union Address (SOTU). It was called “suffragette white,” symbolizing the white worn by early suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote.

Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida told CNN that wearing white was a “declaration that we will not go back on our hard-earned rights.” Since conservatives also support the equality of women, what are the “hard-earned rights” of which Democrats speak?

Of course, we all know, it is about abortion—that radical, obsessive, take-no-prisoners-and-allow-no-restrictions issue. Of late, one of the inconvenient restrictions is birth. Strangely there was no democratic outcry over Virginia Governor Ralph Northan’s and Democrat Kathy Trans recent revelation of being in favor of infanticide.

Race is an Issue

In a show of compassion, Gov. Northam assured us that the baby would be “kept comfortable” while the mother and doctor decide whether to take the baby home or put it down. In the next chapter a few days later, Democrats were stirred up by discovering a medical school year book photo of Northam either dressed in a white hood as a KKK member or wearing blackface.

He apologized then later claimed: Oh wait, I forgot, that wasn’t me. Now I remember, I wore shoe polish on my face once dressed up as Michael Jackson—but just a bit because that stuff is hard to get off. And how would he know that?

The KKK is abhorrent. Ironically, however, abortion is killing far more black people than they ever did. Yet, the Democrats are more upset over racist costumes than targeted racial killings. For instance, black women are disproportionately impacted by abortion in New York City, home of the new abortion law that allows abortion from conception to birth.

It is that reason that Walter Hoye is a big hero of mine. Given that many Black leaders have risen to power through Planned Parenthood money, many switched from prolife to pro-abortion. Although there is a growing number of black prolife leaders, the book Black and Prolife in America explains how Hoye went against the racial grain and even went to prison and lost his job as a pastor for defending life. During the two hours he showed up every week at an abortion facility in a Black Oakland California neighborhood, business dropped. Pro-abortion advocates ultimately made him pay.

Here are some numbers for those against racism to ponder:

  • Nationwide, more than 19 million black babies have been aborted since Roe v. Wade made it legal in 1973.

  • Non-Hispanic black women have a significantly higher abortion rate (25.1 per 1000 women of reproductive age) than that of non-Hispanic whites (6.8) and Hispanics (11.2)

  • 36.0 percent of all abortions in the U.S. in 2014 were performed on black women, however, only about 13.3 percent of the total population is black

  • Today, Hispanics have outpaced blacks as the largest minority.

Opposite Values

Regarding those who showed up to the SOTU in suffragette white, aside from racism, their cause is contrary to the values of the suffragettes.

The suffragettes paved the way for women to fully participate economically, socially and politically, but they did not agree with today’s pro-abortion feminists. In a Time opinion piece, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life political action group, Susan B. Anthony List, explained that many of the suffrage leaders expressed that the rights of mother and child are inextricably linked and that the right to life and the right to vote are rooted in the inherent dignity of each human person.

Many early champions of women’s rights in the U.S. made their opposition to abortion clear. Dannenfelser explained, “Elizabeth Cady Stanton referred to abortion as ‘infanticide’ and wrote that ‘when we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.’ Victoria Woodhull, the first female candidate for president, wrote: ‘Every woman knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth.’ And Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S., wrote: ‘The gross perversion and destruction of motherhood by the abortionist filled me with indignation, and awakened active antagonism.’”

Susan B. Anthony, a friend and heroine to many of these women, said that abortion was a choice that would burden both a woman’s ‘conscience in life and soul in death’ and ultimately exploited women. She understood that the rights of one group could not be built upon the broken rights of another, according to Dannenfelser.

“That’s why, for example, she worked so closely with her friend Frederick Douglass to advance not only women’s suffrage but voting rights for African Americans as well. ‘Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less,’ she said.”

The women who insist that feminism requires the right to abort their children in order to be equal, appease those who discriminate against women for child bearing and they discriminate against blacks by promoting and facilitating their disproportionate abortions.

The KKK is just fine with that but the suffragettes would not be. So, what did wearing white really represent?