How the Abortion Tide Turns
August 3, 2015
This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Kenneth Blackwell was published August 2, 2015 by The Washington Times.
A new Facebook profile photo is beginning to spread on the Internet, especially among members of the rising millennial generation. It’s a picture of a baby within the womb. Superimposed on the baby is an equal sign.
Equal rights for the unborn. Now there’s an idea whose time has come.
America is undergoing a major cultural shift in favor of life. While the abortion rate has been falling for more than 20 years, the trend is accelerating sharply; according to an Associated Press survey last month, the abortion rate dropped by 12 percent since 2010.
The shift is seen most clearly when you look at statistics by generation. While pro-abortion sentiment is dropping in all age groups, the most strongly pro-life generation is the seniors, born before 1948, who came of age before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973. The next generation in line, the baby boomers, born between 1949 and 1964, is more pro-abortion than the seniors. Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, is the most pro-abortion generation of all. But the trend has reversed among the millennials, people born after 1981, who are more pro-life than generation x, and roughly as pro-life as the boomers.
More to the point, a 2010 National Abortion Rights Action League study found a huge “intensity gap” between pro-life and pro-abortion millennials, with pro-lifers considering the abortion issue “very important” by a 25 percent margin over pro-choicers. Leaders of pro-abortion organizations tend to be graying boomers, while many vibrant new pro-life groups have been founded by millennials, and pro-life rallies are populated disproportionately by the young.
So why has the pro-abortion cultural momentum been reversed? Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life, offered the Christian Post two reasons: advances in technology — ultrasound — and the human side, the stories of people who’ve been harmed by abortion.
The millennials are the generation that has been most damaged. Kathyrn Brown, a college student who traveled from Kansas to Washington D.C. to lead the 2014 March for Life demonstration, told the Christian Post, “I think one big reason is because our generation is the one that’s missing so many people because of abortion. There are many people, college aged, who have siblings who were aborted. There are people missing in our lives because they were never given the chance to live.”
Then there is the damage done directly to women, who were given the false promise that abortion would solve their problems only to suffer lifelong regret and in some cases severe physical complications.
The only reason the abortion movement was able to turn terminating pregnancies into a profitable business in the first place is because they made us callous to the human dimension of life in the womb. This task is far more difficult in the age of sonograms and ultrasound. Thanks to ultrasound, the humanity of babies in the womb, and the unspeakable pain they endure while they’re being put to death, can no longer be denied. People have been confronted with how grotesque and horrible abortion really is, especially the late-term ones.
I would add one more reason: the abortion battle has a spiritual dimension. The “pro-choice” movement has reduced abortion to a political and economic proposition. What they don’t understand is that they’re also engaged in a spiritual battle, and that’s why we’re winning. Conscience is a powerful thing. Folks know in their souls that killing a child is morally wrong. It’s inhuman.
The ongoing Planned Parenthood baby parts scandal is revealing the spiritual dimension of the battle in all its power. Planned Parenthood has worked doggedly over the years to cultivate its PR image as a provider and defender of women’s health, but the toxic videos of top Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the price of babies’ kidneys has laid Planned Parenthood’s benign image permanently to rest. The horror of watching “health professionals” pick through a baby’s remains to “harvest” prized organs casts Planned Parenthood permanently as victimizers, the moral descendants of Nazi Dr. Mengele.
What does it profit a woman if she gains a Lamborghini, but loses her soul?
Planned Parenthood’s pathetic denials and justifications are being drowned out by angry protesters demanding the defunding of the organization, which receives hundreds of millions in taxpayer subsidies every year. More ominously, Republican lawmakers are demanding investigations — selling fetal body parts is illegal, and Planned Parenthood has been exposed as up to its elbows in the grisly business.
The new movement to recognize the equality of the unborn is the one silver lining in this dark, dark cloud. Perhaps if we acknowledge that unborn babies are fully human, we’ll all become a little more human ourselves.