When Elizabeth Cady Stanton was penning the Declaration of Sentiments, she was imagining a future in which women had the right to own property and to vote, as well as the ability to participate in legislation. She was picturing a life in which women were viewed as equal to men, able to earn an income, able to speak their mind, and treated with respect. But in that vision, did Stanton see a world with abortion on demand? Did any of the major players in early feminism aim for such a thing? No, the early feminists fought for women’s rights, and they did not include abortion.
The first feminists of the United States of America didn’t want what today’s liberal feminists spend their time fighting for — total and complete ‘reproductive freedom.’ They saw abortion for what it is: the oppression of women and children. Stanton said:
When we consider that women have been treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.