Get this! Pro-choice and pro-life activists agree on something: the tactics and messaging of the pro-life movement are better than they ever were. And the battle is on.
Here’s another shocker. ABC Nightline devoted a 10-minute segment of fairly objective journalism to “what the pro-life movement looks like at its strongest in the United States today.”
Showing video footage from the March for Life, ABC reporter Gloria Riviera explained that the young women portrayed were “the new wave in America’s most controversial and enduring culture war.”
“Gone are the images of middle aged men quoting Bible verses about eternal damnation,” Riveria recounted. “Now, two determined, energetic young women at the forefront of the movement.”
Riviera let them give their side, discussing Rose’s early work as an undercover activist and her current “media war against Planned Parenthood.” Footage showed Hawkins giving speeches to groups of students and empowering collegiate pro-life clubs.
Hawkins was not expecting this. "I was surprised by how fairly ABC presented our side,” she said. “They had a lot of footage to sort through and what the viewer saw in the end was a good behind-the-scenes look at activism like at the March for Life and love from young pro-lifers.”
ABC also interviewed NARAL President Ilyse Hogue on her views regarding the current pro-life movement. Hogue admitted that “the new leaders of the anti-choice movement look great” and are “charismatic,” but said their core beliefs are “old and outdated and still out of touch with mainstream Americans.”
Hogue claimed that the pro-life movement’s numbers have remained stable and that most Americans are pro-choice. According to Gallup, this isn’t exactly true. In fact, in 2006 and 2015, pro-choice supporters led pro-lifers by a 10 percentage point majority. However, in 2009 and 2012, those statistics reversed, with the pro-life movement in the lead. Since 2006, the gap between each side has been constricting.
It is also important to note that although 50% of Americans currently identify as “pro-choice,” only 43% believe that abortions should be legal under any or most circumstances. The largest percentage of the population believes that abortion should be legal in only a few situations.
Hogue concluded with an urge to “mobilize the silent majority in this country.” And yet, as Hawkins reflected, “I thought it was telling that the only comments they [ABC] could get from the other side in person was with NARAL president Ilyse Hogue in a sterile office, not in the midst of a sea of young people supporting their position."
Despite Hogue’s ideological disagreement, she has to resonate with the words of collegiate pro-life activist Sam Serrano: “We are not your Grandpa’s pro-life movement.”