Marjorie Dannenfelser’s father was in the Army and got his degree in medicine. After years of moving, the family wanted to plant some roots and decided to settle down in Greenville, NC where her father opened a private practice as a dermatologist. Marjorie’s mother went back to college and finished her master’s degree in library science. As Episcopalians, her family loved church liturgy and hymns. They were conservative Republicans in their economic and foreign policy views but thought abortion was a necessary evil and so did Marjorie. At the dinner table, they didn’t shy away from discussing the big issues facing our nation like the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, abortion, etc. As Marjorie grew, her interest in politics did as well and she decided to attend Duke University.
When she was at her freshman orientation at Duke, all Marjorie could think about was that she might be pregnant. She explains, “For me at that time, there was only one option, and it didn’t involve leaving school and having a baby. Thankfully, it was only a scare.” The fear she experienced while awaiting the results of her pregnancy test only strengthened her resolve as a pro-choice supporter. “I felt a fury that arose from the deepest part of me that anyone would believe that they had a role in my decision—that any self-righteous stranger thought they could plan my life,” she shares.
Early in her Freshman year, Marjorie joined the College Republicans and became their pro-choice chairman. During the summer between her junior and senior years, she worked as an intern for The Heritage Foundation, where her pro-abortion beliefs were questioned. Marjorie admits that it wasn’t just one conversation but seeds that were planted along the way that changed her perspective. She explains, “What finally got to me was when I was asked the question: ‘What is happening during an abortion? What is the object of that?’” Marjorie shares, “I couldn’t come up with an answer that didn’t feel or sound like killing a living person.” That conversation stuck with her and made her ask the question, “What if I’m wrong?” In addition, the conservative group house she was living in was comprised of all kinds of different viewpoints. One day, an argument ensued after one guy found a pornographic video in the house VCR. He was disgusted and threw it away. The libertarians in the house were appalled because to them it was a matter of destroying someone’s personal property. The guy who threw the porn away was a devout Catholic who believes pornography to be an evil that violates human dignity. His stand for God and righteousness made an impression on Marjorie. As people began to take sides, the house was at odds. She knew that the arguments “…were not rooted in politics but in deeper truths about the human person that came from their Catholic faith. I too was a Christian believer; I loved the Episcopal Church in which I was raised. But when I went looking for answers to the moral questions that confronted me that summer, it seemed my church had nothing compelling to say.”
Finding Her Calling
She found those answers in the Catholic Church and changed her views on abortion and after returning to school after the summer break, she started a pro-life club. As Marjorie continued to get further involved in politics and the pro-life cause, she was asked to be the SBA’s first executive director during its fledging days. As the organization grew, she became the president and the SBA List became a powerhouse with more than 900,000 grass-roots members nationwide. She was also asked by President Donald J. Trump to chair his pro-life coalition.
Susan B. Anthony List
SBA List is a nationwide network of more than 900,000 Americans. They combine politics with policy, investing heavily in voter education to ensure that pro-life Americans know where their lawmakers stand on protecting the unborn, and in issue advocacy, advancing pro-life laws through direct lobbying and grassroots campaigns.
Marjorie Dannenfelser is the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life group with a mission of ending abortion by electing leaders and advocating for laws that save lives. Dannenfelser has been profiled in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post, among others. She was named one of Politico Magazine’s Top 50 Influencers and is counted among The Washington Examiner’s top 10 Political Women on the Move, Newsmax’s top 25 Most Influential Republican Women, and among Newsweek’s top 10 Leaders of the Christian Right.
Annual March For Life
Another organization that fights to end abortion is March for Life. The 48th annual March for Life is scheduled to take place on Jan. 29, 2021, on the National Mall in Washington.