Many people would agree that young minds are impressionable. And while gruesome images of dead human fetuses are likely to upset anyone forced to look at them, the religious right is explicitly using these images to bring young, impressionable minds over to their side.
A recent Gallup poll revealed that among Americans aged 18-34, 50 percent are pro-choice and 40 percent are pro-life. Despite this generation‘s majority support for women’s reproductive freedom, religious conservative organizations claim young adults are becoming more and more pro-life. Numerous anti-choice groups have cropped up to bring young Americans to their way of thinking, effectively employing names like Americans United for Life, Young Americans for Freedom, Advocates for Life, and Students for Life. Conservative leaders train and indoctrinate students to join anti-choice protests while carrying horrific images on signs. They rejoice when abortion buffer zones are declared “unconstitutional,” allowing protestors to stand as close as they wish with their grotesque imagery. Misinformation is spewed constantly, as emergency contraception pills such as PlanB and Ella are reclassified as “abortion pills.” Charismatic leaders run these organizations. For example, Kristan Hawkins, who is the head of Students for Life, once said, “I find it demeaning that our president and his administration think that I need free birth control to be equal to a man.” To young, impressionable minds, she can and does sound like a feminist freedom fighter. What Hawkins and many other organizations are doing is propagandizing birth control and indoctrinating young Americans. Standing outside the Supreme Court last week on the day the Hobby Lobby decision was announced, one found a sea of young faces carrying signs and proudly chanting, “We are the pro-life generation!” Their message is powerful–they stand for “life” and “religious liberty,” all while basing their truth on deception. This generation, despite its grasp of technology and open access to information, has a noxious faction coming off the assembly line of religious conservatism, and they have been programmed well. As of June 2014, there are at least 838 pro-life student groups, and many partake in protests. The College Republican National Committee also recently released Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation (essentially An Idiot’s Guide to Snagging Millennials) blatantly targeting young, impressionable minds. These organizations have enough funding to purchase professionally-produced YouTube videos, such as those claiming President Obama is a “CON artist” when it comes to “CONtraception” and that religious liberty is disintegrating due to mandates for birth control. There are undercover videos where adult leaders pose in pharmacies as statutory rapists along with their “victims” while attempting to purchase PlanB, hoping that an unsuspecting cashier will sell the so-called “abortion pill.” They then use this as an example of why pharmacies should stop carrying these drugs altogether. Being a part of a movement can be an amazing feeling—and feeling like a hero is even better. For young people, believing they’re champions of life and freedom is a compelling falsity, but leaders of anti-choice organizations are also utilizing powerful scare tactics to swell their ranks. Educating our youth is the first step in solving this problem and it is our responsibility. The ecstatic cheers and chants for Hobby Lobby’s victory from such a young, typically open-minded generation should be alarming to anyone who believes in a progressive, more tolerant future. Young Americans conditioned by the religious right are a danger to the freedoms and liberties of all Americans. We can work together to change their chant from “We are the pro-life generation!” to “We are the pro-freedom generation.”Tags: Hobby Lobby, reproductive rights