Why I’m hopeful about 2017
For the first time in our nation’s history, we have a President who has made very specific promises in writing to the pro-life movement. He’s pledged to end taxpayer funding of abortion, defund Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, sign a bill banning abortions when babies have proven to feel pain, and appoint pro-life Supreme Court Justices.
Savor the meaning of those words for a minute. At this very moment in time, any American who believes abortion is a moral evil that should ultimately become unthinkable, demoted to a relic of history, and an unimaginable concept for future generations, should be waking up every morning with an unparalleled optimism about the future.
But it’s not just about a new Congress and Administration. Laws and government are changed by culture and, indeed, the culture is changing.
For the past several years, a pro-life undercurrent has been slowly moving the American public. This current generation of Millennials holds positions that are more pro-life than their parents and grandparents. In recent polling from the Institute for Pro-Life Advancement (IPA), 53% of Millennials agreed that abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances, with the exception of rape, incest and life of the mother. A Knights of Columbus/Marist poll over the summer confirmed those findings. Only 17% said abortion should be legal for any reason at any time in the pregnancy, which is the present platform of the Democratic Party.
The IPA poll only confirms a recognized trend. According to the National Journal, in 2012 Millennials were the largest age group (52%) that favored a ban on abortions at 20 weeks, when science tells us the fetus is able to feel pain. Also in 2012, only 37% of Millennials believed abortion was morally acceptable.
But beyond the polls, what are the tangible signs that the nation is moving in a more pro-life direction?
Students for Life of America started with 181 high school and college groups in 2006. Today, there are over 1,100 college, high school, middle school, young adult, medical and law school Students for Life groups covering all 50 states. They are actively engaged in educating their peers about abortion, helping student mothers who are facing unplanned pregnancies, and being a voice for the pro-life generation.
In contrast, Planned Parenthood just celebrated its 100th anniversary. They currently have around 670 facilities, and they proudly boast 275 campus pro-choice groups.
This is the hope that does not disappoint.
Planned Parenthood has been in existence 10 times longer than Students for Life, has spent billions more dollars than anyone can possibly imagine, and has friends in very high places. Yet, for all its pink, it cannot hide the fact that they are losing this generation, that they are losing the fight to win the hearts and minds of young women and men, the next leaders of this great nation.
There are countless stories on campuses from California to Virginia, from Alaska to Michigan and everywhere in between that are affecting real change. There are passionate young pro-lifers that sidewalk counsel no matter how cold or hot it is outside the abortion facility. There are groups of young adults that have organized event after event to benefit mothers in need. There are students who have had their pro-life chalkings erased and washed away in the middle of the night only to go back, re-chalk, and hold civil conversations with the vandals, planting the pro-life seeds of thought in their hearts. There are brave high school students who have publicly called out their school administrators for not allowing their pro-life clubs in their schools.
This is happening everywhere, and this is why abortion will become unthinkable in our lifetimes.
Millennials are blazing the path towards abolishing abortion. It was Millennials who initially exposed Planned Parenthood’s cover-up of child abuse and rape. It was a Millennial who released undercover videos that forced the president of Planned Parenthood to issue a widely criticized “apology” when her organization was caught selling aborted baby body parts for profit. I myself am a Millennial, and I’m honored to be a Legatus member serving as the leader of one of our movement’s largest grassroots networks.
This is why I have hope in 2017.
KRISTAN HAWKINS is a member of Legatus’ Twin Cities Chapter and president of Students for Life of America.