- - Thursday, January 22, 2015

They say that ladies never reveal their age, but for once, I will reveal mine in hopes of making a point. I was born in 1973, the year that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. As much as I don’t like the name, I’m a member of “Generation X,” whatever that means. I’d suggest that we might be earning ourselves a new name soon, and it has to do with the “Right to Life” movement.

This week, more than half a million people are expected to participate in the 41st annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., and most of those attending will be young people - better known as millennials. It wasn’t like that in the beginning, but the amount of young people involved in the movement today is documented fact. They come by the hundreds of thousands from every state in the nation, braving the bitter cold of January. Why January? Because that’s when the Supreme Court made its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, nationally legalizing abortion.

At that first march, there were about 20,000 people in attendance and they began what has become a 41-year journey to regain every American’s right to life, both born and unborn. In the first few years of the movement, we saw non-violent demonstrations resulting in some arrests across the country. There were a few acts of violence in the 1980s, but the huge majority of those involved in the pro-life movement have faithfully worked to undo the Roe v. Wade decision through legal, respectful marches, rallies and lobbying efforts.

In 2010, I had the distinct privilege of standing on the main stage where the organizers and speakers were speaking to the massive crowd before the march and I will never forget the sight I saw that day. An endless sea of very young, energetic, committed faces, straining to hear those speaking from the stage, as they clung to signs and flags with pro-life messages on them. There were T-shirts of every color and design with messages like, “Ohio Students for Life”, “Catholics for Life” “I Survived Roe v. Wade,” “I Am the Pro-Life Generation,” “Pro-Woman, Pro-Baby, Pro-Life,” or “Justice for All - Born and Unborn.”

The energy was irresistibly contagious, and as my husband and I brought our kids to the microphone, we were overwhelmed by the enormity of the young crowd and their determined, hopeful commitment to the cause of life. We were filled with hope and encouragement for the future because of what we saw that day on the National Mall. Because we’ve worked with the organizers, we knew that some had ridden on buses through the night or even for several days in order to get there, but they were undeterred by the long hours of driving. As our family stepped close to the microphone, my husband told the crowd where we were from and the crowd from Indiana let out huge cheers. Then he stated we were strongly pro-life and the entire crowd broke out into cheers and applause. He then asked if he could take a picture of the crowd, so our own kids would always remember the sight we were witnessing that day and he was answered with elated cheers of “YES!! YES!!!”

Statistics say that this new generation of Americans is leaning heavily pro-life. In 2013 there were a reported 650,000 who attended. This week, they will probably come close to or even exceed their goal of 1 million in attendance. I’m hearing reports from all over the country that there are a record-setting number of college groups attending. Many college students are actually taking leading roles in the movement, and more high school students are attending pro-life summer camps and training seminars than ever before.

Where is this pro-life trend coming from? It’s not taught in our schools. It’s not promoted by the media. It’s not encouraged by our government. Have you ever seen your local or national news report lead with a story on the March for Life? Have they ever spent more then a minute of reporting on it?

It’s just an opinion, but I believe part of this trend is coming from the young parents of Generation X, the generation on whom legalized abortion was first unleashed. One-third of my generation was lost to abortion, but the two-thirds that survived are making a definitive statement by the way we’re rearing our children, promoting neo-natal care and improving the understanding of prenatal development. With easy access to the latest information and scientific evidence, there’s even more reason millennials are choosing to be vocal about their support of life. When parents emphasize it and the readily accessible facts and data back it up, the choice becomes easy.

I recently heard a lecture on the differences between the generations, and one unique distinction about Generation X is that we don’t want to be identified with our own generation! My initial thought was, “Well, who would want to be identified with a name like Generation X? As a young college student, I remember writing a poem challenging the name and wanting to prove it wrong. I wrote that my generation would be determined to earn a different name - to prove that we were something more than just a nondescript “X” marking the passage of time.

Now, in my 40s, I wonder if the values we’ve instilled in our children - the millennials - will reflect what our generation truly wants to contribute - a cultural renewal of value and respect for all human life - through our children. I’m “Just Sayin’,” time will tell, but it’s my hope that “Generation X” will give birth to “Generation Life.”

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