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Roe Babies And Reagan Babies

Hans Zeiger

January 23, 2006

The rising generation of Americans has been shaped profoundly by two events that have anniversaries this week. The first event was the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade 34 years ago. The second event was the inauguration of Ronald Reagan 25 years ago.

Because of the first event, one fourth of our generation is no longer alive. Roe Babies, 45 million of them since 1973, are missing.

But there are some positive signs on the cultural horizon. In recent years, public opinion regarding abortion has continually shifted toward the pro-life position. The number of Americans calling themselves pro-choice has declined by 10 points since 1995, while the number of Americans calling themselves pro-life has increased 16 points. According to a Gallup poll, a decade ago, 56 percent of Americans considered themselves pro-choice and 33 percent said they were pro-life. Today, according to a Zogby poll, 49 percent of Americans say they are pro-life, compared to 46 percent who say they are pro-choice.12

The most important reason for this shift is the survivors of abortion. Reagan Babies, born between 1981 and 1989, number about 30 million. Reagan Babies are presently in high school, college, on the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan, and emerging in the workplace. A growing collection of evidence indicates that Reagan Babies are more conservative than our parents. This is especially evident in the issue of abortion.

First, Reagan Babies are the most pro-life group in the nation. Gallup found that the highest support for restrictions on abortion was held among eighteen-to-twenty-nine-year-olds. According to a 2003 Gallup poll, 32 percent of thirteen-to-seventeen-year-olds are in favor of a complete legal ban on abortion, compared to only 26 percent of adults. Teens who attend church were more likely than those who do not to support an abortion ban, at 40 percent compared to 26 percent. Seventy-two percent of teenagers consider abortion morally wrong.

A Pace University/Rock the Vote survey of new voters taken before the 2004 election revealed that 54 percent were pro-life (believing that "all abortions should be made illegal" or "abortion should be legal only in the most extreme cases, such as to save the life of the mother, incest, or rape"), compared to only 44 percent who were pro-abortion. An amazing 61 percent of Latino and 59 percent of black first-time voters were pro-life. Among first-time voters, 52 percent of self-identified moderates were pro-life and 45 percent were pro-abortion.

And a 2004 Zogby poll shows that 60 percent of eighteen-to-twenty-nine-year-olds support complete restriction of abortion or minimal exceptions for the life of the mother, rape, or incest.

Second, the pro-abortion constituency is aging rapidly. A comparison of membership lists between Planned Parenthood and the National Right to Life Federation reveals that the average pro-abortion activist is ten years older than the average pro-life activist. The face of the abortion industry in the twenty-first century is the rapidly aging "liberated" radical.

Reagan Babies don't see abortion as liberation. "When I was their age, I thought abortion meant liberation for women," boomer ex-radical feminist Frederica Mathewes-Green wrote. "For them, abortion means violence against children. The meaning of abortion is changing, and as it does, minds change as well. It's not surprising that this change would begin with the young. After all, it is their generation that is under attack: anyone under the age of twenty-eight could have been killed this way. A fourth of their generation was." So it's not just another political issue for Reagan Babies; it is a matter of life and death. Sarah McKalips of the pro-life group Rock for Life says that youth "don't see abortion as just a women's rights issue, they also see it as a human rights issue."

Many of the faces I saw when I went to the annual March for Life in the nation's capital a couple years ago were young and vibrant. Young marchers wore T-shirts printed by Rock for Life that read, "You will not silence my message. You will not mock my God. You will stop killing my generation."

Reagan Babies are standing up for Roe Babies. Slowly, young Americans are helping to rebuild a culture of life. Doing so means more than merely overturning Roe v. Wade--it means that hearts and minds must be changed. Soon, we must pray, they will stop killing our generation.


Hans Zeiger is author of Get Off My Honor: The Assault on the Boy Scouts of America, and the forthcoming Reagan's Children: Taking Back the City on the Hill. He attends Hillsdale College.



Copyright 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved