I started this blog because of the many articles about young women’s supposed disengagement with the feminist movment, specifically when it comes to abortion rights. Does it suprise me that Newsweek printed this piece with that very same thesis without talking to any real live young people? No. Does it still get me smoke-out-the-ears mad? Hell yes.
Let’s start out with a few gems from the piece.
“[Nancy] Keenan considers herself part of the ‘postmenopausal militia,’ a generation of baby-boomer activists now well into their 50s who grew up in an era of backroom abortions and fought passionately for legalization. Today they still run the major abortion-rights groups, including NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and the National Organization for Women.”
Hey NARAL, Planned Parenthood, NOW, et al: If you’re interested in supporting young women, hearing our voices, and incorporating us into the movement, how about letting us run your organizations? If you want us to be professional feminists, give us jobs! How about giving up your seats of power and letting us take over for a while?
“And what worries Keenan is that she just doesn’t see a passion among the post-Roe generation—at least, not among those on her side.”
Where has she been looking? We’re writing for this blog. We’re bowling for abortion access. We’re part of the Pro-Choice Education Project. We attended the CLPP 2010 conference on reproductive justice. We’re all over twitter, debating antis and demystifying abortion and reproductive health. Most of us don’t have the big bucks to donate to our favorite pro-choice organizations, but we’re out there volunteering for them. If that’s not passion, I don’t know what is.
I’m hesitant to tackle the NARAL research. I want to know what kinds of questions NARAL asked, where they selected people from, and exact survey answers (not generalizations) to determine what attitude to take towards their findings. For now, I want to tackle this:
“Millennials are more likely than their boomer parents to see abortion as a moral issue.”
If this is true, I don’t think it’s a negative thing. It doesn’t mean that we don’t also see it as a personal, private, political, radical, or human rights issue. Young women started 45 million voices, a campaign for sharing abortion stories. We win grants to change the way our communities think about sexual health. We see abortion as nuanced, as part of a commitment to reproductive justice that includes a woman’s right to abortion and also the right to parent, to adoption, to education, to health care, to a job that doesn’t strand her in poverty.
As Jessica Valenti at Feministing.com points out, the pro-choice movement would fail without young women. Who else will take an unpaid summer internship stuffing envelopes for NARAL? Who else will stand outside Planned Parenthood, escorting patients into the clinic among hoards of anti-choice protestors? Who else answers the phones of the NAF hotline, assisting women in accessing safe, affordable abortions?
I don’t know how many times I have to yell to be heard by older feminists. Turn up your hearing aids! Are you listening? We’re here.