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Who Really Speaks for Women?

By Editorial Staff
Published September 1, 1992

The National Women’s Coalition for Life – with more than 1.5 million members – now dwarfs the National Organization for Women’s claimed membership of 280,000.

When the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Fund for a Feminist Majority, and other women’s rights organizations began planning their March for Women’s Lives, they never anticipated the level of opposition they would encounter from the very people they claim to represent.

On April 3, just two days prior to NOW’s march, the National Women’s Coalition for Life (NWCL) became the largest pro-women’s rights coalition in the nation, dwarfing NOW’s claimed membership of 280,000. This new coalition, with groups from all sides of the political, religious, social, and ethnic spectrum, is united by a belief in the dignity of womanhood and in the sanctity of human life.

According to Beth Luteran, Communications Coordinator of NWCL, “We are here to reclaim the women’s movement. NOW is nothing more than an abortion advocacy group. They have sacrificed women’s concerns to the abortion ‘rights’ lobby. The foundresses of the women’s movement were pro-life. We consider ourselves to be the true successors of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Put simply, NOW does not represent American women. We do.”

In addition to reclaiming the women’s movement, Luteran sees a need for NWCL to act as an “umbrella group” for diverse pro-life women’s organizations. Membership includes groups ranging from the conservative Concerned Women for America to the liberal Feminists for Life.

NWCL shows the media that the pro-life movement is as diverse as America. The fact that groups that disagree on many other issues can come together as a coalition speaks volumes about the significance of the pro-life position,” stated Luteran.

NWCL wants to show America this diversity and the staunch opposition of many women’s rights organizations to legalized abortion on demand. Thus it is working to coordinate public discourses about abortion with representatives from NWCL and pro-abortion women’s groups. These discussions, which will likely take place on university campuses, are but one tier of NWCL’s plan to reclaim the women’s rights movement.

With the continued pro-abortion bias of the media, NWCL has its work cut out. However, there are some signs of change among the media. The Washington Post printed a story pointing out that the April 5th pro-abortion marchers were “out of touch” with mainstream America. Luteran theorizes that this recognition was inevitable: “Most women care about womanhood, motherhood, and life. We feel that womanhood and motherhood are intertwined … Our message is one which almost any woman in America will agree with.”


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