- - Sunday, June 9, 2019

The feminist movement was first and foremost about seeking legal equality for women. The argument was that women are people, too, and should have equal rights and protection.

Early feminists, such as Susan B. Anthony, knew that it was immoral for women to be considered the property of their husbands or fathers. The truth of the argument was undeniable, the logic perfect, and the need for rights and protection obvious.

Still, women remained second-class citizens, struggling until the 19th Amendment was ratified, which enshrined women’s suffrage. For the next 12 months, America will celebrate the centennial of that milestone.

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Of course, many decades passed until women finally achieved full equality and protection under the law through the enactment of legislation guaranteeing equal pay and non-discrimination in the workplace.

For black people in America, achieving equality under the law was a more arduous task. Once treated as chattel, they suffered for years while yearning for the basic right to be recognized and protected as full persons. Beatings and hangings were inflicted by greedy slave owners out of self interest, or for no reason at all.

Black people and abolitionists were simply seeking equality under the law. The truth of the argument was undeniable, the logic perfect, and the need for rights and protection obvious.

Yet they struggled for many years, finally reaching a major milestone with the abolition of slavery. Many more decades passed until they finally achieved full equality and protection under the law.

Two groups of human beings, two similar stories of struggle to live as persons fully protected under the Constitution.

Today, we shake our heads in disbelief at the arrogance, stupidity and cruelty of an earlier culture that said some groups of people are superior to others. We wonder how anyone — even otherwise good men and women — could have believed that some people are the property of others.

But even as we wonder at the earlier atrocities, America still lives under a cloud of oppression. The soul of our nation remains burdened by the innocent blood of a category of humans who are still treated as chattel, who can be disposed of at will.

These are the preborn.

We live in a country where black people were once treated as less than human and where women were second-class citizens.

But Americans became enlightened. We grew in our understanding of human dignity — of the intrinsic value and limitless potential of every human life.

Or did we?

While several states have taken legal steps to protect the most innocent and vulnerable among us, there are oppressors who call for boycotts and threaten the livelihoods of not just the abortion abolitionists, but of all businesses in an entire state.

The often violent oppressors are very strangely led by women who identify as feminists — the very movement that once fought for equality of all people.

Others are elitists — Hollywood types who arrogantly believe they are better than others, who declare they have the right to kill the young based on economic reasons, or convenience, or no reason at all.

In this 12-month celebration of the centennial of women’s suffrage, we must recommit ourselves to the age-old fight to provide protection to all classes of humans, regardless of sex, race or age.

I’m grateful for the women warriors who understand this battle, who will not stop fighting for human lives.

Among the members of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission who will not rest until all humans are recognized and protected as persons are Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America; Cleta Mitchell, one of America’s most brilliant attorneys; Kay Coles James, president of The Heritage Foundation; and Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List.

It’s past time for America to ensure that the law protects all of God’s children.

Once again, the truth of the argument is undeniable, the logic perfect and the need for rights and protection obvious.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at [email protected]

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