The Battle for Their Hearts and Minds
Today is the thirty-first anniversary of the tragic Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. We all know what thirty-one years of legalized abortion have meant to this country: the deaths of millions of children and the remorse and pain of millions of mothers and fathers. But they mean something else. An entire generation—the survivors—has always known nothing but Roe as the law of the land.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the biggest abortion advocacy groups, isn't overlooking that fact. In fact, it has turned it into a slick marketing strategy. One of its websites, "Generation Pro-Choice," is geared directly to the under-thirty generation.
This site greets young viewers with these words: "If you support access to birth control, sex education, and abortion, and you've never lived in a time when abortion was illegal—then congratulations, you are Generation Pro-Choice. And we need your help getting other young people involved in the fight to protect the right to privacy and a woman's right to choose—or else, quite frankly, we're gonna lose it."
Visitors to the site can select a "sassy e-mail card" with a pro-choice message they can send to their friends. They can write to an advice columnist to learn how to protect their rights, or take the "Pro-Choice Personality Challenge" quiz, or learn to "organize on campus." In short, they can learn all kinds of "fun and cool ways" to push for abortion and to recruit their friends.
It's a savvy move on NARAL's part. The generation that fought for legalized abortion won't always be with us. If the pro-abortion side doesn't win the hearts and minds of the next generation now, its cause could fail.
And it's not surprising that there's a whiff of desperation about NARAL's efforts. In WORLD magazine, Lynn Vincent writes, "Teens, increasingly, just don't like abortion. In a November Gallup poll, 72 percent of American teenagers agreed that abortion is morally wrong. One-third said abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, compared with 17 percent of adults." A good trend, but don't be complacent.
As Suzanne Eller, author of the forthcoming book Real Teens, Real Issues, reminded WORLD, people don't always realize that "this is one of the most intelligent generations ever." She says teens and young adults appreciate being taken seriously and appealed to on important issues. So despite the hokey attempts to be hip, NARAL is striking the right chord by telling young people that they can make a difference and by emphasizing concepts like "choice" and "sexual freedom."
The good news is that the pro-life groups know how critical the battle is. If today's March for Life follows the patterns of the past few years, it will be what one friend described as "a big youth rally." We are reaching this generation. We need to help educate them. We need to help educate our own kids on how to make their case. We need to educate our kids how to fend off the NARAL kind of an appeal. We need to teach them about the basics of human dignity and encourage them to talk to their friends. After all, we were fighting for this generation's rights even before they were born. That's a claim NARAL can never make.