A new generation of pro-life activists reflects growing disapproval of abortion, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Pew Research Center polls for a decade have consistently shown that 18 to 29-year-olds are more likely than the general population to favor strict limits on abortion. A Pew survey during the Summer of 2007 found that 22 percent of young adults support a total ban on abortion, compared with 15 percent of their parents’ generation.
A 2003 Gallup survey of teens found that 72 percent called abortion morally wrong, and 32 percent believed it should be illegal in all circumstances. Only 17 percent of adults surveyed that year supported a total ban.
Though a majority of Americans favor legalized abortion in at least some circumstances, and 600,000 women under age 25 abort their children each year, young people are forging ahead for the pro-life cause.
"You look at pictures of marches [over the years] and the crowds just keep getting younger and younger and younger," said Derrick Jones, an advisor to National Teens for Life.
A Colorado teenager has led the drive to define a fertilized egg as a person under the state’s constitution. A 17-year-old California girl last week filed a federal lawsuit to defend her right to start a pro-life club at her high school. A Virginia teen recently took similar action, after which her school dropped its objections.
A sense that millions of their peers are missing motivates many young activists.
Claire Levis, a 17-year-old Pennsylvanian with the group Generation Life, said, "I feel like we're all survivors of abortion."
"Abortion feels more personal for us," said Kristan Hawkins, who supervises 400 college clubs through the group Students for Life of America.
In a speech last week, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Nancy Keenan spoke of the pro-abortion movement’s failures. "Our reluctance to address the moral complexity of this debate is no longer serving our cause -- or our country -- well," she said. Referring to her own movement’s leaders as the “menopausal militia,” she suggested her allies concentrate on less controversial issues such as the rising cost of birth control on college campuses.
Abortion-rights supporters also engage in outreach to youth, using Facebook, MySpace, text-messaging, and YouTube videos.
But far more viewers have visited YouTube’s pro-life videos, which include a UCLA sophomore’s undercover footage of an abortion clinic clerk suggesting a teen lie about her age on a form so that her much-older boyfriend would not be charged with statutory rape.