Response to Nancy Keenan in Salon: Let’s Set the Record Straight on Millennials and Abortion. Again


Another day, another article about whether or not Millennials care about access to safe abortion care, this time in the form of an interview with outgoing NARAL President Nancy Keenan in Salon in which the commitment of our generation to this issue is once again questioned.

It is time to put to rest the questioning about Millennials and whether they care about access to safe abortion care. It is time to get to work. Too much is at stake, too much ground has been lost, and, for far too many women, safe and affordable abortion care is out of their reach.

So, let’s set the record straight. Again.

Yes, Millennials care about ensuring access to safe, affordable abortion care. They care—deeply and passionately—and many are working tirelessly on this issue.

This generation of young people is more likely to care about the whole range of sexual health and rights issues than older generations. Whether we are talking about LGBT rights, contraception, or abortion, Millennials are taking center stage, and no one should doubt this or call it into question. This generation may just be the most pro-sexual health generation in U.S. history.

In fact, we find Millennials more supportive of access to abortion services in their communities—68 percent compared with 58 percent adults overall. And, two thirds (67 percent) of Millennials of color agree that “regardless of how I personally feel about abortion, I believe it should remain legal, and women should be able to get safe abortions.” Three-quarters of African American (75 percent) and Asian Pacific Islanders (75 percent) young adults agree with the statement. Six in ten (59 percent) Latinos express support for legal abortion in response this question. 

But even more important, Millennials are showing up on the front lines of this issue.   

Millennials like Carly who did not stand by when anti-choice activists came to her campus but instead was motivated to build a strong base of support for abortion access at the University of Michigan. Carly has started facilitating small group sessions focused on discussing personal experiences with abortion and the ways to address stigma and promote access to safe abortion care. Millennials like Tyler and Eriauna at the University of Kentucky who are standing outside their local clinic every Saturday to ensure people can access services without fear or intimidation.   

Millennials like Delilah and Jess at the University of Virginia who talk to their peers in the center of campus holding signs that read “1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime, these are our stories.”  

From campus activists to clinic escorts to hotline volunteers to directors of abortion funds to doulas to bloggers to policy advocates, Millennials are fearless, bold and innovative activists in support of abortion care.  We should not be ignored, and our commitment to abortion access should not be questioned.  

The work of Millennials—and in fact of the entire movement—will continue to be strengthened if we spend less time asking where they are and more time continuing to train young people in grassroots organizing, to mentor new leaders, to fund their work, and most importantly to respect and value their skills, energy, and leadership.   

Let’s get to work.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • stephh

    Thank you for speaking truth to power, Julia!

  • choicer

    This would be a great article except it misrepresents Keenan’s statement. She didn’t say Millenials dont care, she said it’s not their priority. “I was not speaking about the young women who have committed their lives and dedicated enormous energy to this movement, men and women. I’m talking about that group of millennials out there under 30 who have not connected the personal to the political on this issue. They are a very large generation, there are about 76 million of them. They are pro-choice, but they don’t put the issue of protecting this decision at the top of their list. So there is an intensity gap.” I was all up in arms reading your article because I too am a Millenial, but then I read the interview itself. And I agree with her. While many of us are pro-choice (and more so than generations past), and while some of us are dedicated to fighting for choice, most Millenials I think either take it for granted or simply aren’t as fired-up. Your average person who believes in choice is not as fired up as a person who is anti-choice. Not that Millenials aren’t prochoice, but it’s not a priority for as many of us to actively FIGHT to protect choice rather than just “believing” in it or “caring”. And that’s what Keenan was saying, which you didn’t address. I wish you had.

  • g403

    wtf is a millenial

     

    good shit defining your shit terms