Analysis

Top Democrat under fire for saying young women “complacent” about abortion

“Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided.”

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz appears to be taking some heat for uttering those words in a recent interview with The New York Times Magazine. Abortion rights advocates responded swiftly, claiming that while they respect Wasserman Schultz, she’s just wrong – young women are fired up about defending their ‘reproductive rights,’ they said.

Wasserman Schultz attempted to clarify her comments almost as quickly. According to The Hill, she sent out a statement that said:

We need women of every generation — mine included — to stand up and speak out, and that is the main message I sought to convey in that interview.

For many in my generation who lived the majority of our lives with the right to make our own health care choices, there wasn’t a sense of urgency after Roe v. Wade settled our right to a safe and legal abortion. Since then, opponents worked aggressively to chip away at women’s reproductive freedom and they have awakened a sleeping giant in the millennials leading the fight in defense of the progress we’ve made.

In reality, Wasserman Schultz didn’t say anything that others of her abortion persuasion haven’t said before. Politico reminds us:

… Wasserman Schultz’s original comment touched on a theory commonly discussed in abortion rights circles — that women born after the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion, do not know what it’s like to live in a world where abortions are less accessible, and therefore take that access for granted.

It was echoed when the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion rights group, stepped down in 2012 to make room for a younger leader who could rally the next generation over what she saw as an “intensity gap” with millennials.

“There’s an opportunity for a new and younger leader,” 60-year-old Nancy Keenan told The Washington Post in May 2012. “Roe v. Wade is 40 in January. It’s time for a new leader to come in and, basically, be the person for the next 40 years of protecting reproductive choice.”

But Wasserman Schultz’s comment touches on a stark reality: there would be many more young people around to support Roe – if it weren’t for Roe itself. The movement that eliminated one-fourth of the younger generations is now upset that there aren’t more people in those younger generations to support their cause. Go figure! Abortion advocates tend to shoot themselves in the proverbial foot with their own agenda. The “complacent” women who have lived their entire lives since Roe were the fortunate ones – they actually got to live their entire lives.

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It is difficult to ascertain how many of the younger generations are really pro-choice – and I don’t mean in the sense that they’re “pro-choice” because supporting “choices” is what all the cool kids do, or because they wouldn’t ever want to tell anyone ‘what they can’t do with their bodies.’ How many enthusiastically support advancing the cause of abortion by celebrating Roe or by attending rallies in support of Planned Parenthood or by ‘shouting’ their abortions?

According to the latest Robert Morris University poll, not many. 53.5 percent of those polled either oppose all abortions or oppose abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or life/health of the mother. (That’s right… most polled would support an end to nearly all abortions.) Just 38 percent identified as “pro-choice.” And among the young (ages 18-34) people, the “pro-choice” number dropped to just 29.2 percent.

Could this be because their generation has grown up seeing their and their siblings’ (and now, their own children’s) first baby pictures thanks to ultrasound? Could it be because the science is truly on the side of those who are pro-life?

Whatever the reason, it seems that Debbie Wasserman Schultz and friends may have reason to be alarmed, after all.

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