Reaching the youngest generation is paramount in the fight for life. After all, young people are the ones who are choosing between life or abortion, and they hold the future of our country in their hands. This places them in the sights of the abortion lobby as the primary target. Pop culture stars, media figures, and celebrities are unfortunately far too willing to aid in this targeted campaign, often parroting pro-abortion talking points. We fight something of an uphill battle when it comes to reaching the youth, but all hope is not lost.
The post-Roe generation is split on abortion, much like previous generations. Some are on fire for life while others are radically in support of abortion in a way we have never seen before. Fortunately, many young people have rejected the lies of the abortion industry. Exposure to pro-life education has opened their eyes to the horrific reality of the greatest civil rights violation of our time, abortion. However, many young people simply have not made up their mind on abortion and can be convinced one way or the other.
With this in mind, the question becomes “how do we reach the young generation?” Some of the following ideas may seem like common sense, but often it is better to be reminded of something we already know than it is to learn something new.
We in the pro-life movement must reach them where they are. This means physical locations like college campuses are crucial battle grounds in the fight for life. Often, colleges are overrun with pro-abortion and far-left activism targeting young people. We must take every opportunity to contend in these spaces, as well as other institutions that shape the beliefs of young people.
In addition to physical locations, the digital world is essential. Traditional media like television and radio provide tremendous opportunities to reach large numbers of people, but to target the youth we need to utilize social media to the fullest. Young people today consume more information than any generation prior. Nearly all human knowledge sits at their fingertips at any given point. At least 50% of Gen Z gets their news from social media rather than traditional news sources. Instagram alone has two billion active users, with the majority of them between the ages of 18-34. Pro-abortion activists, once again, have attempted to dominate the online conversation. This makes it clear how important it is to stay on top of new media and use it to save lives.
It is critical that we, as pro-life advocates, keep in mind that we are “fishing” for a new kind of fish. Just like a savvy angler, we must tailor our strategy for the “fish” we plan to catch. Gen Z is a different “fish” than other generations. They are often driven by emotion, valuing things like fairness and justice over cold hard facts. Understanding this helps us develop our strategy for reaching them. Storytelling conveys powerful emotions and feelings of injustice that resonate strongly with young people. Correctly framing abortion as the greatest civil right violation of our time alongside facts and logic makes for a powerful 1-2 punch and a strong appeal to their emotions.
Many young people would rather feel right than actually be right. They want to feel like they are a good person for supporting a cause. They want to feel like they are part of a movement bigger than themselves. They want to feel like they are fighting for a noble cause or combating some form of social injustice. There is no greater social injustice than what is being done to millions of women, men, and children through abortion. There is no cause more honorable than defending those who cannot defend themselves. Understanding this is crucial to our messaging.
For example, when we share information about chemical abortion it is important that we apply this idea. Appeal to the emotions of the youth. Share stories of the women who were coerced into taking the dangerous pill. The abortion industry lies to these women telling them the pill is safe, natural, and often painless. These women are victims of a greedy, dishonest industry that throws them under the bus.
Tell of the severe trauma that women suffer when they are forced to give birth to their dead child, often in the toilet of their own home. They become the abortionist, and their home the abortion facility. Share the pain of having to hold their baby and see that it was not just a “clump of cells” or a heavy period, but it was their child. The abortion pill suppliers don’t tell these women they will have to dispose of the body either. The truth and emotion of these stories carries tremendous power.
On a final note, Gen Z is more likely than previous generations to take offense to insult. Though it is easy to make them the butt of the joke, it is not an effective marketing strategy. Afterall, if you wanted to buy a car off the lot but the first thing the salesman did was insult you, you probably would go to another car lot. In the same way, if we give young people too much flack and then ask for their support, we are unlikely to get it. Educating rather than insulting is crucial.
Thankfully polling shows that Gen Z is already largely in favor of laws protecting the unborn, and against radical proposals that allow abortion until birth. They have the potential to be the generation that witnesses a nationwide shift toward a culture of life, and we can provide them with the information they need to do so. They lived to see the overturning of Roe v Wade and will hopefully see many more victories for the unborn.