In the popular "While We're At It" pages of First Things, editor Richard John Neuhaus writes (June-July 2004) about the demographics of the abortion controversy.
He notes a recent Gallup survey among youth aged thirteen to seventeen which found that 32 percent say that abortion is morally wrong and should be entirely prohibited while an additional 40% say that abortion should be permitted only in rare circumstances.
Neuhaus first ties this demographic shift to what is becoming known as the Roe effect, "the fact that pro-life couples have an average of three children while pro-choicers average only one child."
He then talks about an additional factor, one that always weighs heavily on my heart.
Moreover, there is the deeply poignant but seldom mentioned factor that millions of people born in the last thirty years know that they have a brother or sister, or even brothers and sisters, who were aborted. I have often tried to imagine what I would think were I one of those children missing a sibling. "Honey," Mom explains, "we just weren't ready for another baby." I know the pro-abortion people say that a child told this is filled with warm feelings that he or she was really wanted. Maybe so, but I expect that there are many more who cannot erase from their minds that Mom had their brother or sister killed. Not to mention the moral and spiritual ramifications of knowing that their existence was contingent not upon an act of nature or gift of God but solely upon their parents' decision. "Thanks for not having me killed, Mom." That touches upon the spiritually weird and murky, but I expect it has a great deal to do with the growing number of young people who view abortion with horror.
I agree with what he says about the emotional reaction of children who have lost a sibling to abortion.
Initially, I was inclined to say that I doubt that this can explain a demographic shift among youth against abortion, because very, very few people (relative to the staggering numbers of abortions that have occurred) know that they lost a sibling to abortion.
But...perhaps this possibility does sit in the unconscious minds of many of that generation. I wonder.
P.S. There's now a blog for fans of First Things and a Yahoo-based e-group that you can find out about on that blog.