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Quote Quiz: Women’s Right to Vote or Women’s Reproductive Rights?

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If you’re not careful with your search terms, you could easily confuse quotes that originated during the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the United States with quotes from today’s debates surrounding female reproductive rights in the United States. We know what’s being said by those who don’t think women should/do have full rights over their bodies and access to legal goods and services with regard to their reproductive health. We also know what was said by those who were opposed to the 19th amendment, which constitutionally recognized a woman’s right to vote.

Or do we? See if you know which quote is about which issue:

1) All nature is against it. The laws of man cry out against it. The voice of God cries out against it and so do I.

2) More talk and less thought is expended on the subject of sex today than on almost anything else.

3) The great body of American women are true to themselves, to the nature God has given them, and to the service He has allotted to them — the direct ministry to life — and will neither be forced nor enticed from it by their restless, well-meaning, but mistaken sisters.

4) All socialists are opposed to anything Christian, but they bitterly hate and attack Catholics.

5) It strikes me that a Catholic should hesitate to support a movement whose leader expresses such sentiments against authority, when the fundamental point of our belief is the divine authority which Christ gave to His church.

6) The things which people do not wish to do, or which they are compelled to do, are always badly done.

7) Talking will not change matters, nor argument eradicate the fact that as long as the race has a mother, that mother will have to be a woman, and if a woman is not a mother she has failed, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to do the only thing for which, in the original scheme of creation, she was intended.

8) Contributions, mainly drawn from a few rich women, have enabled them to send professional speakers into every district of the state, to distribute tons of “literature,” to supply the press with a constant stream of “news” written from their point of view, and in general to advertise their claims in the most lavish way.

9) It is not a “woman’s rights” question.

10) What I have maintained, and still maintain, is the deliberate tendency of modern legislation and of modern administration, backed by an influential public opinion to separate women as a privileged class from men.

Before you look at the correct answers, I’d like you to take a moment and reread the quotes for those words or phrases that triggered your answers. I suggest this because many of the arguments and justifications offered up by those who were opposed to women’s suffrage and those currently opposed to a woman having full rights over her reproductive system are very similar. It would be understandable if you thought any of these quotes were current, but if you answered as much you are mistaken. Every quote originated before 1920 and all of them were written by those who were opposed to women having the right to vote in the United States.

1) Marie Jenny Howe, “An Anti-Suffrage Monologue

2) Mrs. William Lowell Putnam, “Suffrage and the Sex Problem,” Anti-Suffrage Essays, 1916

3) Lyman Abbott, “Why Women Do Not Wish the Suffrage,” Sep 1903

4) 5) Mary Nash Crofoot, “Lest Catholic Men Be Misled,” Omaha, Nov. 2, 1914

6) 7) Grace Duffield Goodwin, Anti-Suffrage: Ten Good Reasons; 1912

8) J.A. Haien, Introduction, Anti-Suffrage Essays, 1916

9) Mrs. Herbert Lyman, “The Anti-Suffrage Ideal,” Anti-Suffrage Essays, 1916

10) Ernest Belfort Bax, Why I Am an Anti-Suffragist May 1909

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • Glenn Contrarian

    Fabulous article, Diana!

    What frustrates me no end is that on BC we’ve got several libertarians who are supposedly heavily pro-choice…

    …but the past several elections show that up to 80% of all libertarians vote Republican – which, these days, is anything BUT pro-choice. Why is that? Do libertarians somehow hold a woman’s right to choose as less important than tax policy or EPA regulations?

    I’ll be so glad when this November’s over with and the Republicans find out the hard way that it’s hard to win an election if you alienate 53% of the voting public!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Diana –

    Here’s a piece from slate.com that I think you’ll like.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I had a feeling that all or most of the quotes would turn out to be from the anti-suffrage movement.

    But what really struck me was that most of them were written by women.

    That’s a significant difference from what’s happening today. Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems very much as if almost all of the most vocal opponents of women’s reproductive rights (up to and including abortion) are conspicuously not female.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/diana-hartman/ diana hartman

    Dr. Dreadful, it does seem that way to me, too, at least in the media. Among my friends and relatives (who are female), the same isn’t true. I wonder if the same wasn’t true of the Suffrage era also. Some good reading, you might find, could be found in Cracked.com’s latest, “5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women. I don’t think you’ll disagree, but might find it worth sharing.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Spotted that article earlier today, as it happens, Diana, and meant to read it. It’s an uncomfortable read that hits quite a lot of targets, like all good satire, but Wong does have to do a heck of a lot of cherry picking to make his case.

  • jamminsue

    Wong must have grown up in the 1980’s…