February 25, 2013


What role do youth play in the For Life movement? Are they even engaged? What do they think about life issues? These are the questions I am often asked when I tell people about our new initiative, Y4Life. When I first started working at Lutherans For Life, I had these same questions. As I explored and learned more, I saw what an impact our youth are having and how passionate they are about life. 

Research has shown that my generation has developed strong opinions on several of the life issues and these opinions demonstrate a growing momentum for our movement. Recent trends have shown that the upcoming generation is increasingly pro-life and is significantly more opposed to abortion than the generations before it. A national survey, commissioned by Students for Life of America and released  last summer, found that 44 percent of respondents thought abortions should either be illegal or only legal in cases of rape, incest, or threats to the life of the mother. (1)

This supports previous reports that teens are overwhelmingly pro-life, with one Gallup poll reporting that 33 percent think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances and 45 percent think that it should be legal in only a few circumstances. (2) Even those on the other side of the debate have noticed that our movement is getting younger, as commented on by former NARAL leader Nancy Keenan. Keenan commented on March for Life participants in 2010 by saying “There are so many of them, and they are so young.” (3)

The organization Students for Life of America boldly proclaims “we are the pro-life generation.” If I had doubted it before, the 2013 March for Life proved to me that my generation, Generation Y, has the passion and the drive to take our cause into the future.

This year, with the generous support of our donors, Lutherans For Life was able to sponsor five students to attend the 2013 March for Life and the Students for Life of America Conference for the first annual Y4Life program in Washington D.C. The goal of the program was to inspire and educate these students to make big changes For Life back home. I believe we certainly accomplished that goal. I spoke with the mother of one of our participants and she said that the trip has been the highlight of conversation since she returned and they are already planning ways to volunteer at local life-affirming ministries. But as much as I hope the trip inspired these students, I know that these students inspired me. 

On our last night in Washington, I got out my camera and started filming the students, asking them, “why are you pro-life?” Their impromptu, unscripted answers were full of passion and excitement. In between heartfelt cries of, “we love babies,” one of the students shared her personal story of how she was almost aborted. Another pointed out that age should not be the basis of discrimination. Still another stated with intelligence and confidence that the only one who has the right to decide life or death is God, according to His plans. Hearing these fervent statements about life gave me even more assurance that we are on the right path to see abortion end in our lifetime. 

The youth and young adults of today are ready and willing to be the voice for the voiceless. That is why the ministry of Y4Life is so important. Many have the passion and the determination and only need the knowledge, skills, and opportunity to have an amazing impact on their schools and communities. Equipped with the life-saving message of the Gospel, I have no doubt  these students will be the generation that ends abortion.

To learn more about Y4Life and to see the student interviews discussed above, visit the new Y4Life section of lutheransforlife.org!

  1. studentsforlife.org/2012/06/22/sfla-releases-poll-results-on-young- people-abortion-and-the-2012-election/

  2. www.gallup.com/poll/7969/current-teen-views-abortion.aspx

  3. www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/04/15/remember-roe.html