Yesterday I participated in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. It was a day of solemnity and joy, of sorrowful remembrance and youthful optimism. The number of young people present was staggering, and the pro-choice world shudders at what they are seeing. They have good reason to stay up nights, with visages such as yesterday’s.
These young people are militating for an end to abortion, which is quite remarkable considering their age and where they are in their developmental trajectory. Many in my generation saw abortion as the escape hatch from an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. In tandem with the birth control pill, it caused the sexual revolution to become the wildfire that has raged out of control. And here these young people, at least 100,000, were militating for the government to seal their escape hatch shut with them on the inside.
That is what is so remarkable.
The pro-abort slur is that the pro-life movement is predominantly old people, which is code for “people who are beyond the protective benefit of abortion.” This is simply not the case. The beauty here in D.C. is that there is a new generation that has grown up in a world that my Baby Boomer peers and I never knew, and want to reset the social and moral clock to where it was in our childhood.
I grew up in a world where most Catholic families were large, with lots of children; and Catholic schools filled to overflowing with three classes per grade. Most kids waited much longer before having sex; nationally 69% of the class of 1979 were self-reported virgins. HIV/AIDS was unknown, and herpes hadn’t made its national debut. We roamed the streets freely in our neighborhoods without fears of abduction by perverts fueled by a multi-billion dollar per year porn industry that was only in its infancy.
This generation of young people are the post-Roe generation, children who know that they are the result of a deliberate choice by their mothers, who know that one out of every three pregnancies ends in abortion. They know they are the lucky survivors of the holocaust that has claimed 53 million of their peers. What an unbelievable psychological and spiritual reality to carry through one’s life.
These are the children who are growing up in a sex-fueled culture that makes the 1960s and 1970s seem Disney-esque by comparison. They attend schools that are half-filled at best and are witnessing the rampant closures of Catholic schools built around the family sizes of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.
Their presence here, in so many ways, is a rebuke of my generation and the rupture that we have made with our past. More than any other generation, the Boomers have benefited from the hard work of their forebears and then struck out on a new moral road. That road has brought unimaginable suffering into the world and changed the landscape our children have been born into.
Now the young are speaking out, a counter counterculture. Unlike the lie of “free love” that so many in their parents’ generation bought into, they are speaking up for authentic love. Unlike the narcissistic roots of “free love,” this authentic love of which Pope John Paul the Great spoke is sacrificial in nature. They may be callow, but they know what they are saying, what they are asking the government to do.
They want an end to abortion, and for marriage to be between one man and one woman.
They want an end to the manufacturing of peers in laboratories rather than being conceived in a conjugal embrace.
They want to be relieved of my generation shoving condoms and pills across the table at them, and they hunger for someone to tell them that they are capable of the self-control that comes with their human dignity.
I believe that they will get much for which they came and marched. The pro-abort leadership in my generation are the actual anachronisms. When over 100,000 young people march on behalf of authentic love and an authentic bioethic, that’s powerful. If they wish to have their escape hatch sealed shut, perhaps we should give them what they want. It didn’t all work out the way my generation thought it would. “Free love” enslaved us, gave us AIDS, rampant STDs, 53 million abortions, shattered lives and shattered families.
These young ones are wise beyond their years.
Being here and witnessing their joyful spirit and vision of the world as they would have it, I have a refreshing sense of optimism and hope for the future. It will all take time and effort to bring into fruition, but these young people are on the right track and are renewing the face of the nation.
God bless them all.