UPDATED | Newsweek: Young Women MIA at the March for Life

Updated [14:30 EST, see bottom of post]: Nearly 6-out-of-10 young adults are pro-life a new survey finds.

Every January, hundreds if not thousands of busloads teeming with teenagers and college students, many of them young women, descend on the nation's capital for the annual March for Life.

But if one were to believe Newsweek's Krista Gesaman, the March is an aging senior citizen affair that is hurting for attendance by young women (emphasis mine):

Today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, and droves of women are prepared to face rainy weather to support their positions during the annual Washington, D.C., demonstrations. But there will be one major difference with the demonstration route this year—it’s shorter.

“The organizers are getting older, and it’s more difficult for them to walk a long distance,” says Stanley Radzilowski, an officer in the planning unit for the Washington, D.C., police department. A majority of the participants are in their 60s and were the original pioneers either for or against the case, he says.

So this raises the question: where are the young, vibrant women supporting their pro-life or pro-choice positions? Likely, they’re at home.

At this point, Gesaman turned to a feminist professor from the University of Maryland who sees an equal lack of energy among young pro-choice and pro-life women:

“Young women are still concerned about these issues, but they’re not trained to go out and protest,” says Kristy Maddux, assistant professor at the University of Maryland, who specializes in historical feminism. 

Instead of painting a sign and taking to the streets, the modern feminist is probably discussing her views on a blog or in a chat room, Maddux says. “I don’t want to frame young women as lazy, but they don’t have any reason to believe that it matters if they go out and protest. Instead, they talk about their positions to friends and neighbors.”

Yes, pro-life young women raised in the age of Facebook and Twitter and blogs are likely taking to those media daily to argue the merits of the movement, but that doesn't mean they have no use for en masse, in-person demonstrations of the presence and clout of the pro-life movement. What's more, as I and some of my colleagues can attest from personal experience, it is the pro-choice counter-protests in January that are sparsely attended and lacking for youthful vibrancy.

As with any opposition movement -- say anti-war protests on the left and the Tea Parties on the right -- much organizing is done electronically, but there's no matching the dramatic statement that on-the-ground rallies, marches, and organizing has for a given cause.

Nonetheless, Gesaman closed with Maddux hinting that the March for Life's days are probably numbered:

“I would say that memorializing Roe v. Wade will continue to happen, I just don’t know if it will always take the form of a march,” Maddux says. 

The pro-choice movement and Newsweek can only hope.

On a closing note, I'd like to update this post with pictures of attendees at the March for Life, particularly pictures featuring the young women Gesaman thinks are NOT there and/or pictures of counter-protesting pro-choicers that skew heavily towards the geriatric set.

Please send me a message to my inbox here at NewsBusters or e-mail me at managingeditor.newsbusters -at- gmail.com

Update (14:30 EST): A new survey finds that 56 percent of all Americans and 58 percent of persons aged 18-29 view abortion as "morally wrong." [h/t my colleague Colleen Raezler]:

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the eve of the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout the United States, a new survey shows a strong majority of Americans believe abortion to be "morally wrong."

"Millennials" (those 18-29) consider abortion to be "morally wrong" even more (58%) than Baby Boomers (those 45-64) (51%). Generation X (those 30-44) are similar to Millennials (60% see abortion as "morally wrong"). More than 6 in 10 of the Greatest Generation (those 65+) feel the same.

The most recent Knights of Columbus – Marist survey – conducted in late December and early January – is the latest in a series of such surveys commissioned by the Knights of Columbus and conducted by Marist Institute for Public Opinion. In October of 2008 and July of 2009, the survey has

been tracking an increasing trend toward the pro-life position – a trend confirmed by Gallup and Pew surveys in mid-2009. K of C – Marist surveys are available online at www.kofc.org/moralcompass.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters