Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why are Young Americans More Pro-Life? Just Ask Them.

The news is out. A recent Gallup poll shows that young Americans age 18-29 are more strongly pro-life than polls showed in past years. This same poll in the mid 1970’s showed the same age bracket as one of the most supportive of abortion in all circumstances.

While pondering these findings, I found myself ecstatic! And then I asked the all important question of WHY? What is it that has changed these past 30 years to show a decrease in support of abortion?

One could look at the same findings for an elderly age bracket and say, “Well, as one gets older and finds himself in the care of others, the value of life takes on a whole new meaning.” But that’s not the case. This is the youngest age bracket polled.

So, I decided to conduct my own little poll of peers who fall into this age 18-29 category. What I found is not necessarily backed up by scientific statistics... yet, this is the authentic view from some people who actually fall into the “younger generation” category. It seemed only natural to go directly to the source in order to find out what really has changed the mindset of abortion since the mid 70’s. Here’s what they shared with me...

Many changes have occurred in our nation since the 70’s, but one drastic change has been seen with the technology of ultrasound. While ultrasound can be traced back to 1880 (the SONAR days), it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that computer software was merged with ultrasound technology. Since that time, we have seen vast improvements in image quality, as well as the introduction of 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds. By now, you can look at the screen and decipher whose nose, eyes, or even lips your baby has received. And, with the baby’s heart beginning to beat around week 5-6, ultrasound technology has shifted our culture to “seeing and hearing” the baby in person, instead of just hearing from the doctor where the baby is developmentally.

Another drastic change since the 70’s has been the introduction of the worldwide web, and in this specific case, we didn’t see mainstream public use until the 90’s. But in the past two decades alone, the internet has grown from something you heard about from your neighbor who happened to be a computer enthusiast, to something that, if you’re like me, you can’t live without. With today’s accessibility to internet through venues like the iPhone, you can look up any and all questions with instant answers - literally at your fingertips. That’s not to say that the answers will always be right, but there is a wealth of information out there to judge for yourself.

Finally, another shift since the 70’s is the presence of the Church. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times: “What the younger generation wants in the Church is authenticity.” They don’t want the truth to be sugar-coated, they just want the authentic truth. In the midst of that authentic truth is the topic of abortion. It’s no longer the third rail of ministry group discussions - it’s now such a widespread topic of conversation across our nation. More and more young people are speaking out about abortion, and the Church is starting to rise to the occasion through small groups and Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, just to name a few.

So what does all of this have to do with the Gallup poll? Well, it would seem evident that ultrasound is giving us more hard proof that there’s a baby inside and not just a clump of cells.. And it would seem evident that young people have more access to information at their fingertips, which only causes more hunger for more information. And it would seem evident that the Church is beginning to impact young people as the topic of abortion is more prevalent.

These answers weren’t shocking or surprising, but in fact they were comforting. That comfort was knowing that Care Net and the ministry of pregnancy centers are in the midst of all three of these answers. Whether it is ultrasound machines in our more than 1,190 pregnancy centers, internet ads for Option Line where answers and support can be found 24 hours a day, or an ever-growing compassionate outreach to meet these young women where they are, Care Net is present in the answers. There might still be a long road ahead, but it’s definitely a move in the right direction.


cindy said...

I wonder how many are thankful that their parents chose life for them knowing that they had a choice to abort them. I know as a young teen I was faced with this terrible decision and was convinced by my only form of support my boyfriend that it was just tissue I fought trying to prove my case yet without the support of a pregnancy center I caved in to the desires of someone much older and made a decision that I have regretted everyday of my life. When I see pro choice it just disgusts me because mine and many others pro choice was someone else forcing what they think is right down our throats until we finally break and cave in to an abortion. When you are scared and confused and the one person or two that you are counting on to give you support attack you and you are so fragile anyway, how can one see clearly to make a choice. I thank God everyday for the growing ministrys to support the mothers who have nooone to turn to.