My buddy Michael New at NRO wrote an interesting piece yesterday detailing that while there are less self described "pro-lifers" among young adults, the number of those wishing to see restrictions on abortion has increased.
It's no surprise that the "pro-life" label is anathema to many young people. On college campuses all over the country students learn that saying one is pro-life is like saying "power to the patriarchy!!!" (Yes, you have to include the exclamation points.)
But New points out in NRO's The Corner that pro-lifers should not completely despair about this even though the media loves to rub it in our faces.
Last week Students for Life of America (SFLA) released a series of surveys conducted by the Barna Group which show that young adults are actually more opposed to abortion than many realize. It found that 53 percent of Millennials (individuals between 18 and 31) think that abortion should be either illegal or legal only in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
This is a nine-point gain from a similar survey SFLA commissioned four years ago. There SFLA survey also indicates that only 47 percent of Millennials think that Planned Parenthood should receive taxpayer funding. The results of these surveys are similar to the results of the General Social Survey (GSS) which is released every two years and is widely used by social scientists. The GSS has asked the same six survey questions on abortion since the early 1970s. It asks whether abortion should be legal option: 1) if the woman is raped, 2) if there is a strong chance of a fetal defect, 3) if the pregnancy poses a risk to the woman’s health, 4) if the woman is low income, 5) if the woman is unmarried and does not want to marry the man, and 6) the woman is married and does not want more children.
During the 1970s and 1980s, young adults were more likely than other demographics to think that abortion should be a legal option in these circumstances. However, starting around 2000 the opinions of young adults shifted. The GSS surveys taken after the year 2000 consistently show young adults are more likely to oppose abortion as a legal option in these specific circumstances.
Some believe this is an example of what some call the "Roe effect" which posits that religious pro-lifers tend to have more children than secularist pro-abortion people and so therefore will eventually make up a larger demographic. I believe this "effect" is vastly overstated mainly because religious pro-life parents insist on sending their children to schools and universities which indoctrinate students into secularist thinking (even many so-called "Catholic" colleges and universities.)
I believe the shift in opinion among young people is a testament to the amazing work done by pro-lifers in waking the country up to the reality of life in the womb. The labels thing would be taken care of if we stop sending our children to secularist pro-abortion radicals to be "educated."