WASHINGTON (LSN) — When Nancy Keenan, the head of America’s oldest abortion lobby, told the Washington Post she was stepping down, she cited a grim fact that she had noticed for years: Abortion supporters just aren’t as young or zealous as their pro-life counterparts anymore.
“While most young, anti-abortion voters see abortion as a crucial political issue, Naral’s own internal research does not find similar passion among abortion-rights supporters,” wrote the Post’s Sarah Kliff. “If the pro-choice movement is to successfully defend abortion rights,” Keenan contends, “it needs more young people in leadership roles, including hers.”
Keenan, 60, said she would step down at the end of the year in favour of a younger executive. “There’s an opportunity for a new and younger leader,” Keenan told the paper. “Roe v. Wade is 40 in January. It’s time for a new leader to come in and, basically, be the person for the next 40 years of protecting reproductive choice.”
The abortion leader had told Newsweek in 2010 of her shock at the youth and vigour of the pro-life movement after stumbling upon the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., which draws hundreds of thousands of people — disproportionately female and very young — each year.
“I just thought, my gosh, they are so young. There are so many of them, and they are so young.”
Gallup polls on the abortion issue among Americans have shown age groups growing more similar in their views on the topic for the past 20 years. Although abortion-on-demand found most of its support among young adults in the mid-1970s, surveys since 2000 show all age groups below seniors showing similar feelings on the topic.
Naral’s poll of 700 young Americans in 2010 found 51 per cent of pro-life voters under 30 calling abortion a “very important” voting issue, compared with only 26 per cent of the same group among abortion supporters.


  1. That’s all very well, but sadly, it’s not the case here. With the exception of a few inspiring figures like Brendan Malone of Family Life International, much pro-life leadership and membership is over sixty.

    Added to which, it seems to have systematically set out to offend and alienate those of us who oppose the death penalty and corporal punishment of children, support justice for the Third World oppressed, oppose the nuclear and conventional arms race, and deplore the current government’s anti-welfare policies. It’s not the pro-life movement that’s rejuvenating in New Zealand, it’s the *pro-abortionists. *

  2. Hi Rhona,

    Thank you for your kind words of endorsement 🙂

    Just thought it was worth adding a couple of small points:

    Firstly, I’m no longer associated Family Life International, I now run my own organisation called LifeNET, which has a special focus on promoting ‘leadership, values and ethical concern’.

    Secondly, I am currently doing some contract work with a national organisation made up of awesome young adults who are passionately pro-life, and this passion stems from a strong commitment to social justice and human dignity in all sorts of other areas and social issues as well – i.e. their commitment to the pro-life philosophy stems from a pre-existing commitment to social justice and a truly ethical and just treatment of all human beings, in all spheres of society.

    Anyway, I thought you might be encouraged by that!