I wish to say my word on the theme of the day — Abortion and the Abortionists. . . Abortion [is]one of the fixed institutions of the country, one of the marked characteristics of the age, one of the indicative symptoms of the ripening and the rottening of our prevalent state of society! Who proposes to disturb Madame Restel [underground abortion practitioner]? Who really wants that there should be no opportunity to secure an abortion under peculiarly trying circumstances? . . . But the great revenue of these practitioners is from the married women among the wealthy. They have become unfit to have children, and abortion is the sewerage for this wretched stagnation of feminine life. . . . Abortion before marriage and especially after marriage are the rule rather than the exception—in the wealthy and fashionable classes, and to a great extent among workingwomen who say they 'can’t afford to have children'. . . Abortion is only a symptom of a more deep-seated disorder of the social state. It cannot be put down by law. Normally the mother of ten children is as healthy, and may be as youthful and beautiful, as a healthy maiden. Child-bearing is not a disease, but a beautiful office of nature. But to our faded-out, sickly, exhausted type of women, it is a fearful ordeal. Nearly every child born is an unwelcome guest. Abortion is the choice of evils for such women.
- Victoria Woodhull, first woman to run for U.S. President, member of the Equal Rights Party, in Woodhull's and Claffin's Weekly (September 23, 1871).