In order to blend into the crowd, I was forced to don an impenetrable good Christian, anti-choice facade. The irony is I am an atheistic Democrat (raised Jewish, no less) who has been fighting for women’s reproductive rights since second grade. Not only that, but I attended the rally with my extremely pro-choice godparents, who helped defend women’s health clinics from anti-abortion blockades in the 1990s. In trying to look relatively conservative, we ended up looking like the model Christian family.
I’ll never forget the things I saw last night. They left me as much with a sense of bewilderment as they did hope and fear.
Out of everything at that rally (the almost entirely male group of speakers, the prayers for the dead babies, and the creepy obsession with controlling women’s lives that seems to be the norm for anti-abortion groups), by far the most interesting was the ‘devotion’ of the teenagers present.
This rally was planned and attended by teens enrolled in Survivors LA. Survivors LA is made to empower anti-choice youth to activism. In the words of one camper, "The training goes beyond becoming a warrior, to becoming a fully equipped leader in the war on abortion." It sounds awfully scary, especially considering the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller.
These teens are fed pure propaganda and a cult-like mentality to this one cause. Last night, they were wearing the Survivors LA t-shirts emblazoned with biblical passages and the camp's grisly logo, which appears to be the skeleton of a fetus. They were sitting in the front rows of the church where the rally took place. They prayed when they were told to pray, clapped when they were told to clap, and joked around with Troy Newman and Jeff White. Probably, the reason they attended the rally was because they were told to.
Have you ever seen The Manchurian Candidate?
The fact is, these teens are only shown one side of the abortion topic. The only things they see are those gruesome pictures of dismembered fetuses, which are not even legitimate, and are pure propaganda. They've probably never seen the pregnant fourteen-year-old who died in a back-alley abortion because she lives in a mandatory parental notification state.
These teens probably hear many a glowing success story about adoptions and foster care before they hear even one about those foster children who don't live so happily ever after, the children who end up unwanted, unloved, and unadopted.
Maybe these kids would be pro-choice if they had only been given all the information. Maybe if they had been presented both sides of this hefty, multi-faceted issue, they would have chosen differently. After all, restrictions on abortion (and contraception) have a huge negative impact on teens.
In fact, the latest report on teen pregnancy stated that in 2006-2007, teen pregnancy rates increased while the number of teens using contraceptives decreased.
One would think that these teens would side with their peers, but mysteriously, they still side with the unborn, not the sixteen-year-old whose life could be destroyed by an illegal, unsafe abortion.