Pew found a majority of Americans under thirty don’t know that Roe v. Wade was about abortion:
E.J. Graff puts these numbers in perspective:
The young’uns may not know Roe v. Wade by name—but they know that their bodies are their own. If it comes to a new battle, they’ll fight for it again. They might not have to, given the widening available of medical abortion (as opposed to surgical abortion—in other words, terminating a pregnancy by taking abortifacient medicines rather than having it scraped out of the body).
They won’t be fighting over the term “choice,” however. The movement is undertaking a rebranding, shifting to the idea that none of us should decide for anyone until we have walked in her shoes—reminding us that these aren’t casual decisions but profound decisions made in an incredible array of circumstances. The term “choice” has gotten contaminated with the idea that it’s as easy to decide whether to have a child as, say, whether to have a salad. (To my shock, Katie Roiphe has an excellent riff on this over at Slate, suggesting that we take up the slogan “pro-freedom.” I kinda love the Ayn Randianness of it.)
Bouie expects that the abortion debate will always be with us:
For as much as the public has moved on same-sex marriage and marijuana, it remains static on abortion, even as it grows more tolerant and secular. It’s not hard to understand why. Fundamental issues are at stake in the abortion debate: The autonomy of women, the value of life, and what to do when the two conflict. There’s no way to resolve these disputes in a diverse, pluralistic society, and as such, odds are good that we’ll always have political conflict over abortion.
I agree. I think we may become more acutely aware of the moral gravity of abortion as technology advances. And yet I cannot see in the end our increasingly libertarian culture allowing the government power over women’s bodies. I struggle with this a lot, even though I’m the last person on earth ever to have to deal with this personally. But I do believe that the pro-life movement would b more successful if it focused not on using the law to coerce, but the culture to persuade. And I think the Catholic hierarchy will fail to win over anyone until they abandon their absurd opposition to contraception in the modern world.