Youth and Technology Revitalize the Pro-Life Movement | Mary Beth Smith | Homiletic & Pastoral Review
Why are college campuses “ground zero” for pro-life activism? Because Gallup Poll statistics report that upon entering college, 47 percent of women were pro-life, but by graduation 73 percent said they were pro-choice.
The equation “40 = 50m.” was the theme of the 2013 March for Life. The numbers are significant as they represent the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, causing the loss of millions of lives due to abortion. Reflected in the numbers is the lack of respect for the life and dignity of the human person. My intention here is to look at the new momentum in the pro-life movement found in both the “March for Life” and “Students for Life of America” organizations through the lens of different generations, motivation factors, impact of technology, and messages of hope, interwoven with the themes of human dignity and intergenerational solidarity.
Since the landmark case of Roe v. Wade in 1973, pro-life groups have been active on college campuses. While many of the activists from those early days retain their pro-life position, they are now in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, part of an “aging” population. Due to work, family commitments, and age, most have limited their involvement in the pro-life movement to making donations to pro-life organizations, voting in favor of pro-life issues and for pro-life candidates, forming human chains to show respect for life, and occasionally participating in sidewalk awareness campaigns and prayer vigils. Involvement in these pro-life activities, regardless of age, reflects the characteristics of faithful
One exception to age slowing down a person in political activism against abortion was the founder of the March for Life, Nellie Gray, who died in August 2012, at the age of 88. A Washington Post article states that she organized the annual March for Life almost single-handedly from her home right up to her death. 2 Perhaps, Nellie’s legacy will be her “example of connections between generations, (as) a resource for the well-being of the family and the whole of society.” 3
Nellie’s successor is 40-year-old Jeanne Monahan, who resigned from the Department of Health and Human Services Council as head of the outreach on abortion and issues of “human dignity.”