Many Pro-Life activists have reached the unanimous conclusion that changing hearts and minds about love, responsibility, and Life is the most fundamental step in transforming our nation and the world into a culture that values and upholds the dignity of human Life.
This truth seems to be confirmed by declining pregnancy and abortion rates among American teenagers. According to Guttmacher Institute research between 1986 and 2006, pregnancy rates dropped from about 10% to 7% among American girls aged 15-19, and of those who became pregnant, a significant shift, from 46% in 1986 down to 31% in 2006, chose abortion.
In other words, roughly 15% more teenagers are choosing Life for their children now compared with twenty years ago. Even more recently, according to the 2009 Minnesota Abortion Report, numbers from the state reveal that teen abortion rates are at all-time lows, suggesting that the value of Life is being recognized more and more as young mothers choose not to abort. These examples are evidence that hearts and minds are changing for the better.
In the media world, movies like Juno, and Bristol Palin’s recent appearance on TV’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager are just two small examples proving that the taboo of discussing controversial Life issues is slowly but surely dissipating. The decision to choose Life is becoming more accepted by media outlets as a tough but good decision. At the very least, the taboo of discussing abortion in pop culture is at an all-time low: “Certainly when it comes to pregnancy you are starting to see more and more TV shows that incorporate it. You are starting to see less of a stigma for the teen,” according Will Neville of Advocates for Youth.
While it is not always the decision showcased (i.e., this week’s episode of Friday Night Lights featured a teen pregnancy that ended in a tumultuous decision to abort), the mere discussion of a choice besides abortion is progress for the Life movement, indicating that the media atmosphere is gradually growing less hostile to what we stand for.
Education on the humanity of the unborn, Pro-Life legislation, and other means of transforming the culture of death into a culture of Life are very important. However, the change that occurs in hearts and minds as a result of one-on-one dialog and the incorporation of Life issues into secular mass media have the ability to relate to individuals in a more personal way that cannot be undervalued by Pro-Life activists. The Life movement truly needs all of these facets to function together for success.
With the continuation of these inspiring occurrences, the Life movement gains hope and momentum. Let us be assured that our hard work and patience are never in vain. At the same time, let us treasure and guard every foothold that the Life movement secures by gratefully redoubling our efforts with each success.