Young Women Are Not Passionate About Abortion Rights? Bullshit.

22 Jun

A sound bite from this article about the supposed ambivalence of young women over abortion:

Younger women have a more complex view of abortion, and they don’t view the issue as passionately as their mothers. “If you ask them if they support abortion rights, they say they don’t know or they don’t want to answer that question,” says Jen Bluestein, Emily’s List communications director.

The existence of the Abortion Gang blog proves this point completely false. Again, another article that talks about how young women view abortion WITHOUT TALKING TO A SINGLE YOUNG WOMAN.

Want to give Emily’s List a piece of your young feminist mind? Send them a message.

4 Responses to “Young Women Are Not Passionate About Abortion Rights? Bullshit.”

  1. placenta sandwich June 22, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    I find this odd actually — only a couple months ago there was a set of Emily’s List videos going around the nets, 20-second interviews of “Pro-Choice Activists Under __” [30, or 35, can’t remember]. Anyway, the whole point was “Look how young and activisty we are!”, so…what is this now? Hopping on the trendpiece soundbyte bandwagon I guess 😦

  2. Amanda Trainor June 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    I wrote into EMILY’s list about this article. You can read the response I received (as well as my original message). I was impressed and pleased to get feedback so quickly.
    Dear Ms. Trainor,

    Thank you for taking the time to contact EMILY’s List. We sincerely
    appreciate your feedback.

    First, I would like to encourage you to read a follow-up article written
    by EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock which has since been
    published both on our blog and on Politics Daily:

    Additionally, I want to assure you that your concerns have been heard. I
    have spoken with Jen Bluestein, who wants to clarify that she did not
    intend to generalize negatively about young women and apologize that the
    article made that easy to infer. She added that today’s reality is that
    younger women (and men) do have a different perspective on choice —
    which is why we’ve launched EMpower, to give those younger supporters of
    choice a place to network.

    I hope that this helps to alleviate some of your concerns. Please feel
    free to contact me with any other questions or comments.

    EMILY’s List | Membership Services
    1120 Connecticut Ave NW | Suite 1100
    Washington, DC 20036
    Phone: (202) 326-1400

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Amanda Trainor []
    Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 2:10 PM
    To: EMILY’s List
    Subject: [Contact Us] Regarding Jen Bluestein in Politics Daily

    Amanda Trainor from Malden, MA writes:


    I really admire the work that Emily’s list does, but I was upset to read
    Jen Bluestein’s quote about younger women’s ambivalence to abortion
    rights in (“EMILY’s List: Confronting the Growing Ambivalence Over
    Abortion” in Politics Daily on June 21, 2010). Jen said that “If you ask
    them [younger women] if they support abortion rights, they say they
    don’t know or they don’t want to answer that question”.

    This is a rather insulting generalization. There are women (and men) of
    all ages who are troublingly ambivalent about abortion. I agree that
    ambivalence towards reproductive rights, especially abortion access, is
    a huge problem. BUT–there are many, many young women who are active,
    passionate and vocal about abortion rights. I’m a 27 year old woman who
    volunteers at planned parenthood, supports a variety of organizations
    and groups committed to abortion access, and who and tells just about
    anyone who will listen how precarious abortion rights are in the US.

    We do need to confront ambivalence about abortion rights, and it is good
    to target the young women among us who sadly exhibit this behavior.
    However, please do not generalize about all young women. There are so
    many young women I know personally, and whose work I see, read and
    support who are incredibly zealous crusaders for abortion rights. Talk
    to more of those young women, and find out how to motivate our less
    immersed counterparts! If you deny our existence, relying instead on
    blanket notions of young women all being ignorant of or unwilling to
    discuss abortion rights, you only further alienate and discourage the
    passionate young women who are doing good work.

    For examples: I admire and follow the work of the young women who write
    at and often highlight the ways in
    which many women’s groups, sadly, complain about how young women aren’t
    involved in feminism and abortion rights-often without even finding or
    interviewing any young women activists to get their perspective! I’m
    inspired by young women like Shelby Knox, Jessica Yee, Liza Fuentes,
    Alma Avila Pilchman, and Jessica Valenti. I could go on…there are so
    many young women out there working hard on reproductive justice, and
    seeing a progressive organization like Emily’s list come out with a
    quote that dismisses all that work in favor of a bland generalization
    about young women is incredibly depressing. Please help us all by taking
    the larger view of everyone’s contributions while we work to get women
    and men of all ages on board with the urgency of protecting abortion
    rights at home and abroad.

    Thank you for listening.

    Amanda Trainor

  3. MN Choice Worker June 28, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    Here’s what I posted to Emily’s List as suggested in your blog:

    I recently read your article which highlighted how younger women are not as adamant in their support of abortion rights and laws protecting choice. I wonder which young women you asked about this? Was there a formal poll? From what pool of interviewees did you cull this assessment?

    I started working for the first Abortion-Rights door-to-door canvass in the Nation in 2006. I am so committed to the availability of abortion and the removal of the stigma around it that I asked perfect strangers on their front doorsteps for significant donations to support our lobbying efforts in Minnesota.

    To this day, though I no longer canvass, I donate regularly and I flatly refuse to even CONSIDER a candidate for office that is not thoroughly pro-choice in word and voting record.

    There has been a recent surge of quotations by so-called older feminists that disparage the commitment of younger pro-choice women. When you, as an authority figure and a widely respected organization, feel the need to admit in print that the younger generation is dropping the ball somehow, you are encouraging failure and apathy. STOP IT. Change your message or lose the fight.

  4. Katherine Kramer July 13, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    My mom apparently believes the same thing. My mom was around before Roe v Wade and suffered through the loss of her older sister, Clarisse, who tried to self induce an abortion when she was 15. My mom was always very active in pro-choice activities and became a lawyer. She still does a lot of pro-bono work for feminist non-profits.
    My two sisters and I are feminists and I’m a pro-choice ob/gyn who volunteers at an abortion clinic once a month for free. I’ve also started an Abortion Fund for the Mid-Hudson Valley. A lot of my friends from college have and continue to be involved in pro-choice.

    I’m not sure where this sentiment that the “new generation” is not passionate about abortion comes from. I’ve emailed Emily’s list and told them how important it is to keep electing pro-choice women to government.

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