Abortion, Premarital Sex, and Public Opinion

The University of Michigan’s Dr. Michael New recently wrote:

The best predictor of someone’s attitude toward abortion is his or her opinion on the morality of premarital sex. People who think that premarital sex is morally acceptable are very likely to be pro-choice. Conversely, individuals who think premarital sex is wrong are likely to be pro-life.

The ever-insightful New is, as usual, spot-on.

He then went on to say:

…I always remind pro-lifers that a promiscuous society will never support significant restrictions on abortion. While pro-lifers are good at talking about fetal development and personal responsibility, we are less comfortable with subjects such as sexual activity and contraception. Indeed, it is doubtless more difficult to advocate for sexual restraint than for the unborn. However, this is a battle in which pro-lifers must continue to engage if we are to succeed in our goal of providing legal protection to all unborn children.

In other words, the “Culture of Life” that we envision is unthinkable without chastity.  This is by no means a startlingly new revelation, but we can always use a reminder.

The Message of Chastity Is Essential to the Pro-Life Movement

As the director of the Pro-Life Action League’s youth outreach, Generations for Life, giving chastity talks to junior high and high school students is one of my favorite parts of my job, in large part because convincing people — especially teens — to embrace the message of chastity is so absolutely essential to the pro-life movement.

We’ve all seen public opinion polls that indicate that young people are the most pro-life segment of the population.

But we also know that many young people don’t remain pro-life. Why is this?

I dare say that the primary reason we as a pro-life movement are “losing” so many young pro-lifers is that in the majority of cases, their change to self-identifying as “pro-choice” has been preceded by a change of belief that premarital sex is morally acceptable. It shouldn’t take much to figure out the connection between the two.

When the Pro-Life Action League hosted its groundbreaking Contraception Is Not the Answer conference in 2006, our executive director, Eric Scheidler, mentioned in his introductory remarks that in today’s world, telling people they shouldn’t use contraception is akin to telling them they shouldn’t use soap.

The same could be said of encouraging people (not only young people, but those of any age) to embrace the virtue and lifestyle of chastity generally — in which marriage is the only context in which sex makes any sense at all.

It’s no secret how unabashedly the nation’s leading abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, and their host of “pro-choice” allies promote the belief that there is absolutely nothing wrong with non-marital sex.

If you’ve never noticed how Planned Parenthood so often tries to downplay its abortion numbers and, instead, play up its role as a “America’s leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate,” you haven’t been watching closely enough.

Our opposition has no qualms about being upfront in their views about sexual morality.  If we shy away from being upfront about our own, we cede this ground — and we’re doomed.

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