A little more than two weeks into the national 40 Days for Life observance, and college newspapers across the nation have snubbed noses and newsprint at university students’ involvement in the cause – this despite the fact that several pro-life leaders say young people are the linchpin of the annual endeavor.
College students across America are involved in the movement, whether it’s meeting for prayer in between classes, sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics, hosting a silent vigil and the like, said Kristen Hawkins, president of Students for Life, and Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life’s campaign director.
One might not know it by reading their campus newspaper, however, and there’s an explanation for that, the pro-life leaders said. Generally speaking, the media –even at the collegiate level – don’t buy into or promulgate the notion that young people make up much of the pro-life movement, they said.
But they do, the leaders added.
“Students are not just the future of the pro-life movement – they are the pro-life movement,”Hawkins said.
She cites a poll conducted by Students for Life this spring which found that only 45 percent of college-aged people are pro-choice, while 44 percent are pro-life, a significantly different picture than the one the public is often led to believe. As the media would have it, college students are either pro-choice or simply don’t care, she said.
However young people care, and care a lot, she said.
“College students are involved in every facet of the pro-life movement,” she said. “They are sidewalk counseling, supporting local pregnancy resource centers, leading community right to life groups, organizing community events, getting involved with local politics and so much more.”
Hawkins said it’s not unheard of for students praying on campus to garner support from some of their peers, who quietly say, “thanks for doing this, for working on this cause.”
Carney said the issue hits close to home for many of today’s college students.
“Our generation, really anyone born after 1973, are survivors of abortion,” he said.“We take it much more personally.”
To that end, college-aged pro-lifers are apt to take their beliefs to the local abortion clinic as opposed to the campus quad, he said.
“Our very first 40 Days for Life campaign took place in Bryan/College Station, Texas, and it was primarily students,” he said. “They’d come to pray outside the clinic between classes.”
The 40 Days for Life campaign, which runs through Nov. 4, aims to unite Christians around the world to seek an end to abortion through prayer and fasting, constant vigil, and community outreach. In addition to college students, members of churches across denominations and generations take part in the cause.
IMAGE: TFP Student Action