Is Being Pro-Life the New Thing?

Okay, we have to admit…this took us by surprise.

This past week, the very pro-choice, online news source, Slate, published a piece by Ruth Graham titled, The New Culture of Life.”

Looking past the political commentary, what we came to read was really quite interesting, and seems to shed light on a changing culture in our society.

“In the era of Trump and Whole Woman’s Health,” said Graham, “The future of pro-life activism is young, female, secular, and feminist.”

Could this be the case? In her article, Ms. Graham tackles three questions:

Are the youth of today more pro-life than generations before?

Are pro-life values being adopted into secular society?

Is pro-life becoming the new face of the feminist movement, and vice versa?

Here’s what Ms. Graham contends,

“Despite recent setbacks…the demographic outlook for the pro-life movement looks anything but bleak. On issues from race to sexuality to drug law, Americans are used to seeing each new generation become more progressive than their parents; with abortion, it’s not happening: In a 2015 Public Religion Research Institute survey, 52 percent of millennials said the label ‘pro-life’ describes them somewhat or very well, a number that roughly mirrors the general population. A 2013 poll showed that 52 percent of people aged 18 to 29 favored bans on abortion after 20 weeks, compared with 48 percent overall. Pro-choice activists now worry about the ‘intensity gap’ among young people: A poll commissioned by NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2010 found that 51 percent of anti-abortion voters younger than 30 considered the issue ‘very important,’ but for pro-choice voters the same age, only 26 percent said the same.”

Wow. So the statistics are showing a generational shift. Young people are more pro-life than ever. But are these pro-life values being entwined with secular, new-day issues and trends? Ms. Graham writes,

“With these numbers in mind, it’s possible that the pro-life movement is in a moment of transition, not retreat. This impression is only reinforced by talking to the leaders of the movement’s next generation, who look very little like their elders….they are using the language of feminism, human rights, and the Black Lives Matter movement to make their case for a new culture of life.

‘There’s a little bit of truth to the old pro-choice saying that the movement is a bunch of old conservative white men,’ activist Aimee Murphy [Life Matters Journal] told me. ‘But I really have seen a massive shift with the youth, to ensure that our solutions are women-centered and that we’re being consistent and nonpartisan, inclusive and opening and welcoming.’”

So the pro-life movement is moving full-force ahead, transitioning, and adopting a new inclusive attitude? Graham continues,

“One stereotype of the pro-life movement is that it is dominated by men, and old men at that. Last year, when the popular conservative site Newsmax compiled a list of the Top 100 most influential pro-life advocates, only five of the Top 20 were female, and one of those was the soon-to-pass-away Phyllis Schlafly. But that’s starting to change. There’s Kristan Hawkins, the 31-year-old president of Students for Life of America. Lila Rose, now 28, is the founder of Live Action, a brash organization that has produced several news-making exposés of Planned Parenthood; Rose is now arguably the most famous young pro-lifer in America. (David Daleiden, the 27-year-old who filmed last year’s undercover video of a Planned Parenthood executive discussing tissue donation, got his start at Live Action.) The Susan B. Anthony List, Concerned Women for America, and the National Right to Life Committee are among the other prominent groups led by women. Many of the campus leaders and other young activists I spoke with are women.

Women aren’t just leading the next generation of the pro-life movement—many of them are doing it using the language of feminism, which would have been anathema to the old guard of pro-life activists. If you believe, as sociologist Kristin Luker suggested in her influential 1984 book Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood, that opposing abortion is really just a stealthy way of controlling women, the notion of an anti-abortion feminism will sound either absurd or morally outrageous. But the idea that pro-lifers are simply out to oppress women was always an oversimplification, and it’s especially imprecise as a description of the next generation of activists.”

Referring back to pro-life feminist, Aimee Murphy, Graham says,

“Murphy likes to say that the future of the pro-life movement is feminist, and the future of the feminist movement is pro-life. ‘I see this movement going in a direction that is a lot more women-centered,’ she said. ‘What are we doing to help women in need? What are we doing to empower women? What are we doing to promote equality among all persons?’ The fact that women are expected to bear the consequences of pregnancy alone, and that pregnancy often seems incompatible with success, is ‘a grave form of injustice that we are passing on to women,’ she said.”

Hence, according to one of the most pro-choice news sources today, there is evidence of a culture shift: being pro-life is becoming more popular and taking on a new, secular, feminist look – a new culture of life.

To read more of this article, visit the link here.