I appreciate the frustration fellow Sisterhood blogger Debra Nussbaum Cohen expresses at this critical juncture for reproductive rights. I also worry all the time that pro-choicers are losing the national battle over abortion rights. But as a twenty-something feminist, I don’t have to look far to find my peers — and I certainly wouldn’t blame them for our precarious perch.
No, I’m not necessarily going to find my fellow young feminists at a NARAL or NOW meeting (although NOW does have a fantastic young women’s task forcein NYC). Instead I’m going to find them online, on Twitter, at local events and readings, and when there’s a big rally, you bet they’ll be there. Many of many of my peers of color and other forward-thinking feminists have actively chosen to lead Reproductive Justice organizations. These organizations work at the intersection of many pressing social issues, promoting an agenda that includes reproductive rights, but goes beyond them. Dozens of my peers are bowling for abortion access this weekend.
I read Sarah Seltzer’s recent Sisterhood blog post, “An Intergenerational Battle Over Abortion,” with interest. And I’m wondering if there’s any evidence to support her supposition that young women do support abortion rights, and their contributions to the movement are unappreciated. Aside from citing one young woman frustrated with not being appreciated at a NARAL Pro Choice America conference, Sarah doesn’t offer information to back her claim that the conventional wisdom is wrong.
Do NARAL or Planned Parenthood have a breakdown, by age, of their volunteers or donors? Do the numbers back Sarah’s point?
The strongest, and most unfortunate, evidence that I see that young women are not very interested in activism to keep abortion legal is that, according to this article on Feministing, a leading organization in the reproductive justice movement, The Pro Choice Public Education Project has closed its doors for lack of funding. The organization’s primary constituency? Young women.
As we anticipate the possible Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan — she is Jewish, pro-choice and said to be on Obama’s short-list — pro-choice activists are preparing themselves for a tough, abortion-focused confirmation process, no matter who is nominated.
Meanwhile, a recent Newsweek article has generated heated online debate, by positing that there’s an “intensity gap” between young women in favor of abortion rights and their elders, whose activism was forged during the pre-Roe era. Not only that, but young pro-choicers are far less motivated than their anti-abortion counterparts, according to new data from NARAL Pro-Choice America. The NARAL survey of young people found that ” the millennials surveyed didn’t view abortion as an imperiled right in need of defenders. “
For young self-identified feminists, the reaction to the article was “not again.” For years, young feminists have taken to blogs to write about feeling ignored, counted out or lumped in with the apathetic masses by their elders.