Is There a Catholic, Pro-Life Youth Vote?
Editor’s note. This article originally appeared on the blog of The Cardinal Newman Society (Blog.CardinalNewmanSociety.org).
Deal Hudson reports that a mother received a phone call from the Obama campaign asking specifically for her college-aged children. The caller reportedly told the mother that she was Catholic, and she didn’t understand how a Catholic could vote for a Mormon.
Now we learn that the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) has launched an internet-based voter drive to encourage Catholic college students to vote Nov. 6.
“We want to let people know there is more than one ‘youth vote’ and that a ‘vote for life’ isn’t just for older Americans,” Jeremy Rivera, communications director for FOCUS, told EWTN. “The pro-life vote is young, vibrant, and ready to confront the powers at work behind the culture of death with the gospel of life.”
FOCUS’s stated aim is “to elect a politician who will respect life and work to overturn Roe v. Wade, to create a culture that cares for the most defenseless among us, and to shape the future of our country and our world!”
So is there a Catholic, pro-life “youth vote”? It was standard political wisdom for years that the youth vote could essentially be ignored because young people don’t vote. But 2008 changed all that, when sixty percent of voters aged 18-29 showed up in startling numbers to elect our current president. Most now agree that the “youth vote” cannot be ignored.
Meanwhile, young people are becoming increasingly pro-life. Students for Life of America (SFLA) recently commissioned a survey to find out what young adults thought of abortion, and 44 percent of respondents said that abortions should be illegal, at least when not involving rape, incest, or threats to the life of the mother. That’s just about equal to the 45 percent who favored easy access to abortion.
Observers of the annual March for Life would not be surprised at these numbers, as the pro-life event has long seen thousands and thousands of young people, especially from Catholic colleges, flock from their campuses to our nation’s capitol in the coldest month of the year to stand up for the innocent.
Just last week, The Cardinal Newman Society reported that more than 100 students gathered in the Piazza dei Santi at The Franciscan University of Steubenville as part of a nationwide initiative spearheaded by an assortment of pro-life groups, urging college students to remember the importance of life when casting their ballots this November. It was part of a five-day college campus tour spearheaded by SFLA seeking to mobilize young people across the nation, recruit volunteers and educate voters before Election Day.
“We’re putting a lot of time into this,” SFLA President Kristan Hawkins told The Cardinal Newman Society. “Abolishing abortions is not going to be done only on the political level but it’s going to be part of it. We have to get engaged in all areas.”
Hawkins said her organization has established “I Vote Pro-Life First,” a website encouraging young pro-lifers to vote pro-life.
Hawkins said there’s a difference in how pro-life college students looked at ‘08 and the way they’re looking at this election. “In ‘08 it was hard to get people excited. Kids just weren’t that excited. We’re definitely seeing a difference this year.”