A top Democrat called young people 'complacent' about abortion. Young people responded.

The chair of the Democratic National Committee — Debbie Wasserman Schultz — touched off a heated debate on Wednesday with a comment about young women and abortion rights.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.


In an interview with The New York Times, Wasserman Schultz was asked whether she thought older women were more enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton's candidacy than younger women were.

The top Democrat didn't really address the question, instead she used her answer to suggest that young women are insufficiently committed to preserving the reproductive freedoms secured by earlier generations.

"'Do you notice a difference between young women and women our age in their excitement about Hillary Clinton? Is there a generational divide?'

'Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided.'"

The notion that young women aren't serious about fighting for abortion rights was news to a lot of young women.

And they let Wasserman Schultz know, using the hashtag #DearDebbie.


Wasserman Schultz is right that abortion rights are being slowly-but-surely rolled back in many places across the country.


Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

While the decision in Roe v. Wade (and the more recent Planned Parenthood v. Casey) prevents states from banning the procedure outright, many have responded by passing laws that impose onerous, often near-impossible-to-satisfy, regulations on clinics that offer abortion services.

Additional regulations in many states attempt to make securing an abortion more difficult for the people who want them. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 17 states require that people seeking abortions undergo some form of counseling first.

More than half of all states — 28 — impose a waiting period between when the procedure is requested and when it is performed, which effectively means making two separate trips to the clinic in 14 of those states. For people who are poor or without access to reliable transportation or the ability to take time off from a job, this often represents an insurmountable burden.

A whopping 38 states require some form of parental notification for minors seeking an abortion (such laws have little to say about the potentially disastrous consequences of a minor having a child).

But she's not so right to suggest that young people are complacent. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images.

Contrary to Wasserman Schultz's assertion, thousands of people across the country have been speaking out against new restrictions on reproductive rights, and young people have done a pretty bang-up job leading the way. Movements like #ShoutYourAbortion and the 1 in 3 Campaign that seek to humanize those who seek out abortion — and allow them an outlet to tell their stories — were spearheaded by young people.

Even legacy reproductive rights organizations have seen an influx of youth in recent years. As of just a few years ago, a NARAL spokesperson told The Nation that roughly 60% of its members were under 35. The Planned Parenthood Generation Action Group boasts over 200 member organizations at colleges and universities in all 50 states.

After hearing from dozens of young activists, Wasserman Schultz responded on Twitter.

And made it known that she'd heard the message loud and clear.




It's an encouraging sign that young people and politicians who support reproductive rights are, perhaps, actually listening to each other.

Hopefully the mutual listening will continue — and progress can continue to be made.

Family

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?

Keep Reading Show less
Family

California has a housing crisis. Rent is so astronomical, one San Francisco company is offering bunk bedsfor $1,200 a month; Google even pledged$1 billion to help tackle the issue in the Bay Area. But the person who might fix it for good? Kanye West.

The music mogul first announced his plan to build low-income housing on Twitter late last year.

"We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better," West tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities

The U.S. women's soccer team won the Women's World Cup, but the victory is marred by the fact that the team is currently fighting for equal pay. In soccer, the game is won by scoring points, but the fight for equal pay isn't as clearly winnable and the playing field isn't as even.

We live in a world where winning the World Cup is easier than winning equal pay, but co-captain Megan Rapinoe says there's one easy way fans can support the team: Go see games.

Some people argue the men's team deserves to get paid more because they are more successful and earn more money for the United States Soccer Federation. Pay depends on merchandise and ticket sales, and in general, men's sporting events tend to draw a bigger crowd than women's sporting events. It's not about sex, many argue; it's about the fact that people just prefer to see men play.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

You think you know someone pretty well when you spend years with them, but, as we've seen time and again, that's not always the case. And though many relationships don't get to a point where the producers of "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" start calling every day just to chat, the reality is that sometimes partners will reveal shocking things even after you thought you'd been all shocked out.

That's the case for one woman whose Reddit thread has recently gone viral. The 25-year-old, who's been with her boyfriend for five years, took to a forum for relationship advice to ask if it was normal that her seemingly cool and loving boyfriend recently revealed women shouldn't have a fundamental right. (And no, it's not abortion — although there are a lot of "otherwise best ever boyfriends" out there who want to deny women the rights to bodily autonomy, too.)

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended