HomeoldBuilding a Bridge to a Pro-Life Future

Building a Bridge to a Pro-Life Future

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The 40-year legacy of Roe v. Wade has resulted in the tragic loss of over 55 million lives due to abortion. Additionally, the existence of abortion survivors for 40 years has made it more likely for those born into a world of legal abortion to question its necessity. Furthermore, the cultural landscape of the post-Roe generation is one where nearly everyone has seen the ultrasound image of their pre-born niece or brother tacked onto the fridge, and has some awareness of the 10-year national debate over partial-birth abortion which for the first time permeated the media’s filter about the reality of abortion.

The polling data indicates that young people are becoming more pro-life. A 2010 Gallup poll revealed that, when comparing data from 2007 to 2010, all age groups had become more attached to the pro-life label since 2005, with particularly large increases observed among young adults. A 2012 Gallup poll revealed a 7% decline among 18-34 year olds identifying with the “pro-choice” position from the periods of 2001–08 to 2009–12.

It is important to note that these findings are not merely an attempt to paint a rosy picture in order to boost post-election morale. Pro-abortion advocates are aware of this trend and view it as a threat to their continued existence. It is noteworthy that when Nancy Keenan, the outgoing president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, announced her retirement, she highlighted her concern about the discrepancy in the intensity of support for abortion between pro-life and pro-abortion young people (her side was losing). Keenan has jokingly referred to her fellow ageing pro-abortion advocates as the “postmenopausal militia.” However, it is reasonable to conclude that she was not jesting when, upon observing the multitude of young people in Washington, D.C., at a recent March for Life, she famously observed, “There are so many of them, and they are so young.”

It is evident that the numbers are on our side, yet there is a significant gap between being personally pro-life and effecting global change. National Right to Life has been engaged in the construction of this bridge through the implementation of distinctive outreach programmes, in particular the Life and Leadership Camp Initiative and the National Right to Life Academy.

The Life and Leadership Camp Initiative

Joleigh Little, director of Teens for Life of Wisconsin, initiated the organisation of pro-life camps on the basis that an interactive and dynamic camp environment would facilitate pro-life teenagers to assume ownership of their beliefs and be empowered to disseminate their convictions in the world. Her assertion proved to be accurate. Joleigh Little, director of Teens for Life of Wisconsin, described the unique atmosphere created at pro-life camps, stating, “Where else but camp can you learn about life and death, defend the weak, speak for the voiceless, stand for truth, and then two hours later be defending your team in a rousing game of Humans vs. Zombies?” Where else but at camp can one combine the most effective pro-life education on the planet with an array of other activities, including delicious food, campfires, volleyball, Living Clue, and an iced mocha at The Baby Bean? “Such a location does not exist.”

Since the inception of the Wisconsin camps, their model has been emulated in states across the country, including New York, Louisiana, Texas, Oregon, and Indiana. The popularity and efficacy of pro-life leadership camps led to the establishment of the Life and Leadership Camp Initiative by the National Right to Life, with the objective of establishing pro-life camps in every state across the country. The individuals responsible for the successful youth outreach in Wisconsin, Louisiana, and Rhode Island developed a model “camp in a box” package to assist NRLC affiliates in more easily replicating the pro-life youth camps. Since the inception of this initiative, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Virginia have hosted camps, with a further number of states expected to launch similar programmes in 2013.

For further information on pro-life camps and to locate one in your area, please visit http://www.prolifecamps.org/.

National Right to Life Academy

In 2007, National Right to Life inaugurated a new programme for college students, the National Right to Life Academy. The Academy differs from a traditional internship in that it provides college student leaders with a comprehensive and academically challenging course on the life issues. The Academy, which lasts for five weeks, is held at the NRLC’s D.C. office and comprises both lecture-based courses and an integral component called “practicum”. During these daily oral exercises, students are required to articulate and defend the pro-life position in a confident manner to NRL staff who role-play the opposition’s perspective. One student commented on her experience at the Academy, stating that the practicums were the most valuable aspect of the programme. She explained that the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in a practical setting had helped her to consolidate her understanding and feel confident in its application in a real-world context.

Academy alumni from the five previous graduating classes convened at the 2012 National Right to Life Convention in Washington, D.C., for a reception and reunion. They are engaged in the creation of a culture of life in a variety of ways. Some work professionally for the movement as employees of NRLC state affiliates and other pro-life groups, while others work through their chosen fields of education, law, medicine, and ministry. One alumna provided a succinct summary of the experience: “Following my participation in the Academy, I am compelled to act in a manner that protects the dignity of life, as I have acquired the knowledge and skills to do so.” “I am extremely grateful for this knowledge and the skills I have acquired.”

Those who advocate for abortion rights are correct to be concerned that the prevailing attitudes among young people are shifting towards a pro-life perspective. Through initiatives such as the pro-life youth camps and the Academy, National Right to Life is facilitating the dissemination of the pro-life message to younger individuals, thereby facilitating a transformation of the nation.

Journalist

Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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