The public statements of many early champions of women’s rights in the U.S. make clear their opposition. 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.”

Mrs. Pankhurst’s American counterpart, Susan B. Anthony, was a friend and heroine to many of these women. Along with Cady Stanton, she founded The Revolution newspaper, which served as a mouthpiece for the American women’s suffrage movement. Anthony funded the paper herself, refusing the capital that would have resulted from allowing advertisements for “restellism,” as abortion was then called. The Revolution published a piece, attributable to Anthony, that said abortion was a choice that would burden both a woman’s “conscience in life and soul in death” and also ultimately an exploitation of women.