Victoria Claflin Woodhull, born this day in 1838, was a suffragist, abolitionist, publisher, and the first woman to run for President of the United States.
Woodhull and her sister, Tennessee Claflin, opened Woodhull, Claflin & Company, in New York in 1870. Their radical political reform newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, began publication the same year and continued for six.
Woodhull was nominated as a presidential candidate by the Equal Rights Party in 1872. The party nominated former slave, abolitionist, women’s rights advocate, statesman, and author Frederick Douglass for vice president. Though Douglass did not acknowledge his nomination, Woodhull actively campaigned for the presidency — despite not being able to vote for herself — arguing that women already had the right to vote according to the 15th and 16th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. (Women's right to vote was not officially recognized until passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920.)
Like her first wave feminist counterparts, Woodhull was steadfastly opposed to abortion. In an editorial on children's rights, she stated, "The rights of children, then, as individuals, begin while they yet remain the fœtus." In an October 8, 1870 "special editorial," "When Is It Not Murder to Take Life?" she asserted, "Many women who would be shocked at the very thought of killing their children after birth, deliberately destroy them previously.... They do even more than murder, they virtually commit suicide, for no woman can practice this crime without in part destroying her own life."
Five years later, Woodhull condemned the conditions that drove women to abortion, declaring, "Men must no longer insult all womanhood by saying that freedom means the degradation of woman. Every woman knows if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth."
Feminists for Life carries on the legacy of Victoria Woodhull and our other feminist foremothers, who sought better circumstances for women and worked, just as we do, for a world in which abortion is unthinkable. #Feminism #Feminist #Feminists #ProLife #WomenDeserveBetter #FeministsForLife