Five pro-life women in history that everyone should know

pro-life women

Abortion advocates frequently claim that the pro-life movement is run by “old white men” working to oppress women. The truth, however, is quite different. As previously noted by Live Action News, it was pro-abortion men who convinced the women’s movement of the 1960s to add ‘abortion rights’ to its platform. As a result, the women’s movement splintered; women have always been a driving force in the battle to protect children in the womb.

Here are some women who, from the very beginning, have fought to save the lives of the most vulnerable.

Ellen McCormack

Ellen McCormack pro-life presidential handout

Ellen McCormack, pro-life presidential handout

McCormack not only made history when she became the first woman to receive matching federal funds for a presidential race along with the protection of the Secret Service, but she achieved this while running as the 1976 Democratic presidential candidate for the Right to Life Party. It was the first presidential race since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of legal abortion, and McCormack was determined to expose abortion for what it is.

As previously reported by Live Action News, in one of her campaign commercials, McCormack told Dr. Mildred Jefferson, co-founder of the National Right to Life, “I’m disturbed the Democratic Party is becoming the party of abortion.” The modern-day organization Democrats for Life echoes the same sentiment. In additional commercials, McCormack sought to educate Americans on fetal development and how abortion kills — through dismemberment (D&E) abortion (demonstrated in the video below) and through the use of a saline solution. These commercials so angered her opponents that they had the election rules changed during the primary campaign in order to prevent McCormack from receiving additional matching funds.


McCormack helped to show millions of Americans the truth of life inside the womb at a time when ultrasounds weren’t readily available, and she was a founding member of New York’s Pro-Life Action Committee. She also organized the 1971 Women’s March for Life in New York City.

Dr. Mildred Jefferson


Dr. Mildred Jefferson

Jefferson was a co-founder and president of National Right to Life. She was also the first Black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School and the first woman to work as a general surgeon at Boston University Medical Center. A staunch pro-life advocate, Jefferson was one of the first people to warn Americans that abortion would be used to directly target the Black community. She believed the abortion industry would use poor women and their pregnancies as an excuse to make and keep abortion legal, and she was right.

“Blacks suffer more from abortion because what looks like help is actually striking against them,” she said in 1977. “Blacks are fewer. They will disappear sooner.”

Today, more than half of preborn Black babies are killed by abortion in New York City, and Black women have the highest abortion rate among women. The majority of Planned Parenthood facilities are located inside minority neighborhoods.

READ: Pro-lifers are motivated by the idea of human rights for all, not by religion or hatred of women


Eunice Kennedy Shriver

eunice shriver, pro-life feminist

Eunice Shriver

Shriver was the sister of President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert and Edward Kennedy. She founded the Special Olympics and dedicated her life to helping individuals with disabilities. She was also strongly opposed to abortion. An early supporter of Democrats for Life and Feminists for Life, Shriver spoke out against abortion in honor of her sister Rosemary, who had a disability, and whom Shriver said was “treated with unbearable rejection.”

In the year leading up to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, Shriver wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times, saying:

The lack of any discussion about the ethical implications of the Rockefeller Commission’s recommendations concerning abortion, sterilization and the disseminating of contraceptives to all individuals regardless of age, is disturbing to those of us parents who know that our children have great potential for ideals, sacrifice and belief in God.

When pro-abortion group National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) used a quote from Shriver’s brother John F. Kennedy to help further their abortion agenda, Shriver publicly rebuked them for it. She and her husband Sargent Shriver also worked to educate Americans, adding their names to a full-page ad in The New York Times that called for society to care for both women and preborn children. “Today, the sonogram has given us a veritable window into the womb and has enabled us to observe, in detail, the complex life of the child prior to birth,” the ad stated. “Advocates of unrestricted abortion do not want the public to focus on these undeniable facts of fetal development…. They make plain that abortion is a violent act, not against ‘potential life,’ but against a living, growing human being….”

Benazir Bhutto

Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007), Islamabad, Pakistan, 1993. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

Bhutto was the prime minister of Pakistan — the first female leader of a Muslim country. While she was accused of corruption by Pakistani Islamist factions, she was also celebrated by Western leaders for her work to advance democracy. Bhutto was an advocate for women and children, including preborn children. In 1994, as one of only two women to address the Cairo population conference, she helped to lead a delegation opposing abortion advocates who were working to advance abortion throughout the world.

Feminists for Life notes that during her address to the U.N. Fourth World Conference in Beijing, China, Bhutto said, “To please her husband, a woman wants a son. To keep her husband from abandoning her, a woman wants a son. And, too often, when a woman expects a girl, she abets her husband in abandoning or aborting that innocent, perfectly formed child. As we gather here today, the cries of the girl child reach out to us.”

Bhutto dreamed of a world “where we can commit our social resources to the development of human life and not to its destruction.” She was assassinated in 2007 while campaigning for the elections set to take place the following month.

READ: Black pro-life woman inspired by abolitionist Harriet Tubman to rescue babies from abortion

Wangari Maathai

Kenyan environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights. Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as assistant minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005. (Photo by Wendy Stone/Corbis via Getty Images)

An environmental and political activist, Maathai was the first African woman to receive a Nobel Prize “for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” She was also pro-life and pushed for the reinstatement of a Kenyan law that ensured fathers would be financially responsible for their children. The law had been undone and Maathai believed that without it, women would feel forced into abortion, reports Feminists for Life.

“Both [the woman and her child] are victims,” she told Norway’s Dagen newspaper. “There is no reason why anybody who has been conceived shouldn’t be given the opportunity to be born and to live a happy life. The fact that a life like that is terminated is wrong. When we allow abortion, we are punishing the women… and we are punishing the children whose life is terminated…. I want us to step back a little bit and say: Why is this woman and this child threatened? Why is this woman threatening to terminate this life? What do we need to do as a society? What are we not doing right now as a society?”

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