Vice President Mike Pence predicted earlier this week that legal abortion would end in the U.S. “in our time.”
“I know in my heart of hearts this will be the generation that restores life in America,” Pence said at a luncheon in Nashville, Tennessee, hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List & Life Institute, a pro-life organization.
Were the Vice President’s comments simply wishful thinking from a politician that has fought for restrictions on abortion for many years, or are there signs of change in American culture?
It appears something is indeed happening. In the past month there have been several references in the mainstream media to a growing opposition to abortion among millennials.
“But much attention should be paid to next generation of voters….a growing number of young Americans have become more vocal about their opposition to abortion.
“We are there every day on the campuses. Right where the culture is formed. Right where those future voters are being created and we’re changing their minds about abortion,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life, told the Christian Broadcasting Network.
On its website, Students for Life points out that “79 percent of Planned Parenthoods are 5 miles from a college. 52 percent of abortion seeking women are under 25. College and high school is a time when worldviews are challenged and formed. Culture is shaped by the young. If we want to end abortion, we have to start with the youth.”
On February 21, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was on the cable network to discuss the school shooting in Parkland, Florida when he took the conversation in an unexpected direction.
American youth support limiting abortion, he said, because of advancements in technology. “You are seeing poll numbers move on abortion for banning abortions after 20 weeks,” Scarborough said. “Because for the past decade, younger Americans have been going in and they have been seeing 3D imagery where they can look into the womb.”
The poll numbers Scarborough referenced came from a January 2017 Quinnipiac poll that asked Americans whether they would support a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy if it were enacted in their state. Nearly half—49 percent—of 18- to 34-year-olds said they would support it. The poll found that 35- to 49-year-olds were the only age group that supported the ban more.
A January op-ed piece by Eugene Scott in the Washington Post that highlighted the Quinnipiac poll appears to be what triggered the recent media interest in the documented and growing opposition to abortion among millennials.
The article’s title, Millennials Have a Surprising View on Later-Term Abortion, suggests a bias of its own but it impartially points out that after the US Senate voted in January to block a proposed federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks, “one of the constituent groups they may have offended is one that both parties are highly interested in winning: millennial voters…..After the ban was shot down…some of the loudest criticism among antiabortion advocates came from younger Americans.”
In the Senate debate over the proposed ban on late-term abortions, advocates pointed out that the US is one of only seven nations that allows abortions after 20 weeks putting the US in a group that includes North Korea and China. It could be argued, in addition to 3D imagery, that fact could be weighing on the minds of millennials.
Following the ban’s defeat in the Senate, Lila Rose, the 29-year-old founder and president of Live Action, tweeted “Today, 46 senators voted AGAINST protecting preborn children from abortion after 20 weeks. This is extreme and beyond heartless.”
In his address this week, Pence said “Life is winning….Americans — especially younger Americans — are choosing and embracing the sanctity of life more and more every day.”