The L.A. Times, too, has an article today about the pro-life youth movement.
Three things stood out.
Today’s students and young adults have grown up in a time when abortion was widely accessible and acceptable, and a striking number are determined to end that era.
Pew Research Center polls dating back a decade show that 18- to 29-year-olds are consistently more likely than the general adult population to favor strict limits on abortion. A Pew survey over the summer found 22% of young adults support a total ban on abortion, compared with 15% of their parents’ generation.
Looking specifically at teens, a Gallup survey in 2003 found that 72% called abortion morally wrong, and 32% believed it should be illegal in all circumstances. Among adults surveyed that year, only 17% backed a total ban.
“I feel like we’re all survivors of abortion,” Claire said.
She has five sisters and a brother; most of her classmates, she said, come from much smaller families. The way Claire sees it, they’re missing out on much joy — and she blames abortion.
“I look at my friends,” she said, “and I wonder, ‘Where are your siblings?’ ”
This sense that millions of their peers are missing motivates many young activists.
They are also the first generations to grow up seeing images from inside the womb displayed like prized family photos — tacked to the fridge, posted on the Web, pasted into scrapbooks. Ultrasound videos even interrupt their TV shows; the conservative advocacy group Focus on the Family bought ad time to air fetal pictures during “American Idol Rewind” and a college football all-star game.
“Abortion feels more personal for us,” said Kristan Hawkins, who supervises 400 college clubs through the group Students for Life of America.
At St. John the Evangelist, a Catholic church in Philadelphia, Father David Engo encourages the passion he sees in young adults for social justice.
Engo organizes volunteer work at an AIDS hospice and among the homeless. Then he explains that he sees the antiabortion cause as part and parcel of such work — yet another way to fulfill Christ’s commandment to serve the least among us.
That connection inspired Bill Gonch, a 23-year-old administrative assistant.
“I didn’t know any pro-life people before I joined the church. All I knew was what I saw on the news — a lot of noise, a lot of anger,” Gonch said. “It surprised me how caring and loving they were. . . . And it’s more of a youth movement than I expected.”
The next time the church’s young-adult club gathers for peaceful protest outside an abortion clinic, Gonch plans to be there, praying.