Newsweek… wishful thinking

I am watching the live coverage of the March For Life in Washington DC.

As I watch I have in my mind an article I read in the appalling Newsweek.

 Who’s Missing at the ‘Roe v. Wade’ Anniversary Demonstrations? Young Women.
Krista Gesaman

Today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, and droves of women are prepared to face rainy weather to support their positions during the annual Washington, D.C., demonstrations. But there will be one major difference with the demonstration route this year—it’s shorter.

“The organizers are getting older, and it’s more difficult for them to walk a long distance,” says Stanley Radzilowski, an officer in the planning unit for the Washington, D.C., police department. A majority of the participants are in their 60s and were the original pioneers either for or against the case, he says.

So this raises the question: where are the young, vibrant women supporting their pro-life or pro-choice positions? Likely, they’re at home. “Young women are still concerned about these issues, but they’re not trained to go out and protest,” says Kristy Maddux, assistant professor at the University of Maryland, who specializes in historical feminism.


There is more, but don’t waste your time.

What strikes me about the live coverage,a nd the interviews along the way, is the huge number of young women and girls in the March!

I think the writer, above, was indulging in wishful thinking.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Jonathan says:

    I have just come up from spending a few hours at the march. The writer could not be more wrong. This was my first time there; what was immediately arresting is just how young is the pro-life movement in America. Given that the latest polls indicate that the majority of Americans are not pro-life, and given the obvious youth of the movement, we have to be hopeful for the future.

  2. Random Friar says:

    Are they even *looking*? The young women are out in numbers, while older and more feeble “white hierarchical males” like myself have to sit at home and pray for them as they witness to life.

  3. wanda says:

    How do get work writing total mis-information, total lack of personal investigation, heck even opening your eyes and seeing for yourself?

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    Obviously, this article was written without looking at the Mass from the National Shrine last night — somehow I suspect its author is not an EWTN viewer — let alone the march itself today. The most conspicuous demographic is that of “young, vibrant women”. Actually, I don’t think it’s solely because I’m getting older that these fresh young girls look younger each year at the annual March for Life.

  5. Susan the Short says:

    And let’s not forget all the young women who are not there because they were aborted.

  6. Gwen says:

    I plan to participate in the West Coast March for Life tomorrow in San Francisco. The counter-protests are much, much uglier than what you see in Washington (as I’m sure you can imagine). It’s so obscene that the (Catholic) friend I’m driving with will not allow his younger kids attend (but his three older will be there with us!).

    I’ll try to get some pictures of young women particpating–I know many that are signed up to ride busses for four or five hours each way from our Reno, NV parishes.

  7. Michael in NoVA says:

    Let’s see, my thirty year old wife couldn’t go with our three daughters, age 5 & under and a good friend, age ~27 and her daughters today because of weather and health related issues. Otherwise, I know she would have joined plenty of other young mothers and young women from our area who are out there marching today.

    I would advise any young single man who is called to a marriage vocation to become active in the pro-life community. There are very many attractive young ladies to meet! Of course, you had better agree that relations are to be saved for marriage, or else you will be quickly shown many doors.

  8. Margaret says:

    This biased reporting has been par for the course for a ridiculously long time. Anybody remember the “Rally for Life” back in April of 1990? Another huge turnout, although I can’t remember if it matched the usual number for the March for Life in January. It sticks clearly in my mind because I organized two busloads of Boston-area college kids down to the Rally.

    Towards the end of the Rally, hanging out with the president of MIT Pro-Life (another young woman, and African-American, to boot,) we spotted a television crew taking lots of footage of white-haired priests and this utterly bizarre, oversized-balloon-fetus-thing that was floating around. We walked up to them and my fearless president said, “So, would you like to hear from some college students?” The reporter (can’t remember if it was a man or a woman) shook his/her head, said, “No,” and called it a day. Why include young women in the reportage if it’s possible to present the movement as a bunch of old men at a freak show?

  9. Girgadis says:

    Perhaps the writer should actually GO to the rally so she can see for herself that the overwhelming number of participants ARE young people. I wasn’t able to go this year (and at 49, I’m definitely not a young girl) but I was so inspired last year by the many,many high school and college students who were not only faithful Catholics (as evidenced by their participation and reverence at Mass before the rally) but committed to defending life as well.

  10. SuzyQ says:

    Why is my 18 year old daughter not at the March for Life? Because she’s 8 months pregnant with a baby she chose NOT to abort.

  11. chironomo says:

    Doesn’t anybody here get it? You were all over in the PRO-LIFE section of the demonstration. The writer was obviously over in the PRO-CHOICE section….

  12. Listening to EWTN Radio’s coverage, they even commented to a group of high schoolers that the only network that has any kind of coverage of the March for Life is EWTN itself. There won’t be much more than a short one-paragraph article in any of the “real” news media networks.

  13. James the Less says:

    BTW, some of the young women are in habit. The picture is from 2008 but they are there again. I can assure you.

  14. Maybe because many of us are mothers with little ones who can’t be out in the cold! My 9 and 11 year olds could bundle up, but it would have turned into a disaster if I had tried to take the 7,5,3 year olds and the baby out in 40 F all day. Christendom College actually closes this day so its entire student body can participate in the March for Life. Pretty cool.

  15. Father Z: This article ties in neatly with the John Allen piece which precedes it on the Catholic identity. Thank you for both of them!

  16. Eric says:

    They’re well may be fewer young ladies there.

    Thanks to Roe vs. Wade, a quarter of the potential participants never made it out of the womb alive.

    They are there. We just can’t see them.

  17. JohnE says:

    I finally found the story on CNN. If I didn’t see it on EWTN, you might think it was a handful of pro-life demonstrators and a handful of pro-choose-abortion demonstrators that showed up. There’s absolutely nothing in the story that would indicate otherwise. I do see several young women in the pro-life picture however — due to some sloppy editing on CNN’s part I’m sure, but no one will see the story anyway unless they’re actually digging for it.

  18. Kerry says:

    In St. Paul today, with wind, light mist and low 30’s, 6000 came to the capitol. Buses brought people in statewide, lots and lots of young students, (middle school..? high school…). Signs of all types and kinds, those provided by MCCL and home made…signs with names of cities throughout MN, Sleepy Eye, Mankato, many others. Several people had Crucifixes; many others had images of Guadalupe on jacket backs, signs, plaster relief (yes!) and buttons ( One woman had a home made, sewn Legion of Mary banner. The Franciscan Brothers had their large, (held by two brothers, two wooden poles) with Mother Teresa’s “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” MIchele Bachmann spoke briefly, and the temperature rose to 175 degrees for ten minutes. Some 18 pro-life State of MN legislators stood to be introduced. (What does this say about the DFL majority…we wonders…?) A good day. “IHS”

  19. JohnE says:

    Any good MSM coverage out there?

    I’ve only found a few, and you have to dig for them:
    “tens of thousands of abortion opponents marched ”
    “Few counter-demonstrators were visible along the route, but some gathered in front of the Supreme Court. ”
    “The National Organization for Women held its annual rally and vigil commemorating the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.”

    MSNBC — I haven’t been able to find anything, although in the U.S News section there is a story about a woman from Georgia who forced her son to kill a hamster, so the reporters were probably busy covering that.

  20. boko fittleworth says:

    I just got back to work after doing the March. It was mostly young people. I’d guess high schoolers made up a plurality by a large margin. There were also plenty of college students there. And I’d say it was 60-40 female to male.

    I don’t know what this talk of “pro-life and pro-choice supporters” is all about. There are a few hundred thousand pro-lifers and a couple dozen pro-choicers. (if that. I saw zero this year.)

    Also, this is the third year with the shortened route. I miss the longer March, but then again, I’m getting older, too. My feet hurt.

  21. The Cobbler says:

    Folks, in case any of you haven’t figured this out already:

    The media does not report on what people think. They do not even report on what people are.

    They decide on the picture they want to paint, then they go find an example piece of evidence with which to paint it no matter what the majority of the evidence is.

    Use your critical thinking skills and tell me when you last saw an article based on what the reporters found when they went there. I can’t, I don’t remember. When they’re even accurate it’s almost always because they’re bringing you something everybody already knows (and most of the rest of accurate news is little local occurences and weather). In this era of people calling each other up and informal reports getting around through twitter faster than ever, of computers having been exported across the globe, I’m not even certain of the existence of the hypothetical miniscule fraction of journalists who actually bring us the news for all the others to repeat for a week as if we didn’t notice in the first half day. Why are we still shocked that they’re inacurrate? The whole system as we know it today is flawed and built on false premises.

  22. bookworm says:

    It may be true that the ORGANIZERS of the March for Life like Nellie Gray (now 84 years young) are getting older; but that sure doesn’t mean the PARTICIPANTS are getting older!

    Nearly every Catholic high school that I am aware of has an organized bus trip to the March for Life every year, as do a lot of Catholic elementary schools (usually for 7th and 8th graders). At the college level, Newman Centers usually organize bus trips. These things make it fairly easy for high school and college age Catholic youth to attend.

  23. Yeah, she wishes.
    Who cares, anyway? I mean really?
    If human life is sacred from conception until natural death, isn’t that a universal truth, isn’t that something that withstands who the heck is on the march for life (although the testimony of all the people of every age is very astounding)?
    Even if it’s a bunch of grey haired has-beens; isn’t the truth enough, in and of itself?
    The martyrs and confessors of the early Church didn’t look around to see if there were young people witnessing; they lived and died for Christ and His Church. Their blood and witness were the “seed of the Church”. I know it’s important that the young be involved and inspired; but we have to be careful about a worldly mentality that says we have to be “relevant” and “with-it” to the young. The truth is ever young, every true, ever fruitful.
    We just have to be faithful, in season and out.

  24. Supertradmom says:

    Nothing on Fox and nothing on MSNBC…so, the comment must be from one small perspective. And, I think that the organizers should find young women to take the place of the older ones, as there is a point in highlighting, even on EWTN, the youth of childbearing ages. We need to be media savvy. As to younger people being in the march, there is a problem with a generation, who although extremely pro-life, do not take such an activist stance as the boomers did when they were in college over political and civil rights issues. I was talking to some students about this a few days ago, who told me that 1)their Catholic college would only excuse so many people and all classes were on and not canceled; 2)not one administrator or teacher was going; 3)they couldn’t get the money to go; 4)they were afraid of reprisals if they spoke up too much about the pro-life issues. And these young people go to a Catholic College!

  25. What’s hilarious is that this year’s march was larger than the past several years, probably 500,000 or so, and do you know who dominated the attendees in terms of sheer numbers? Young women. It was awesome.

  26. Cathomommy says:

    Right. I have no doubt there are PLENTY of young women there, religious or laywomen. But also keep in mind that many pro-life women may NOT be there because they are…oh, I don’t know…at home with their SMALL CHILDREN? :) Walking the talk.

  27. SpesNostra says:

    I was THERE (I’m female & 36) along with my 33 year old sister, her 7 year old daughter and her 2 year old daughter. Four young women braving the cold! Get a clue, Newsweek!!

  28. I’ve lived in DC for 29 years. Walking in the streets during the March this year, there were throngs of young people, young families, men and women of all ages. The March for Life is the largest annual assembly in the Nation’s capital. It is also the least unruly.

    I was in DC attending a “Blogs for Life” conference just northwest of the Capitol (where half the speakers were women) during the morning, but one can see plenty even some distance from the parade route. It is a phenomenal thing just to see, which you won’t if you depend on the mainstream press.

    Let’s call a spade a spade. Newsweek is lying, period.

  29. stjoeky says:

    There was a bit of coverage on Fox News – Special Report with Bret Baier – but unfortunately the footage they shot was at the beginning when Nellie Gray gives her talk. The background looked empty and just showed some security guards. The crowd shots weren’t impressive but I remember from being there myself, that many people don’t venture right up to the stage but hang back. It would have been nice to see the actual March taking place…it’s breathtaking to get up to the top of the hill and then look in front of you and behind you and see the oceans of people! Makes you so proud to be a part of such a large delegation for Life!

  30. ds says:

    I know that last year the Russian media actually covered the march in some detail, maybe this was to put a bit of a damper on the Obama inaugeration or maybe it had something to do with the increased vissibility of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the march in recent years, either way, odd thing that a person watching TV in Moscow could be more aware of the march than somone living in Maryland.

  31. ckdexterhaven says:

    I was there yesterday. Is this a joke? I couldn’t get over how YOUNG everyone was. I’m not that old, either, I’m 39. The average age was young 20’s. A lot of young religious and priests as well.

    Exhibit A in mainstream media bias. This article was written 2 weeks ago with help from a NOW press release.

  32. irishgirl says:

    I watched EWTN’s coverage on my computer at the library, and saw TONS of young people at the March!

    I’ve never been able to go on the March myself, because I was either working and couldn’t get the day off, or not working and too broke to afford to go!

    I’m 55, and I just can’t walk as fast as the young ones!

    As SpesNostra said: Newsweek, get a clue!

  33. Ferde Rombola says:

    SuzyQ, God bless your daughter…and her Mom.

  34. The piece is uninformed, perhaps willfully so.

    In the Atlanta airport this week, I rode a train/tram jammed with teenage girls from Lafayette, LA on their way to Washington for the March.

    Their chaperon told me there were 113 of them. Surely there were many such groups.

  35. An American Mother says:

    This story was datelined several hours before the march even BEGAN.

    The reporterette is being blasted in the comments section for filing her story early and PRETENDING that she was actually reporting from the scene. Comments are overwhelmingly negative – one pro-abortion troll tried to get a rise out of the posters and was completely ignored.

    A violation of everything you’re supposed to learn in J-school.

    Somebody’s head should roll for this . . . but it won’t.

  36. Grabski says:

    I’m proud to say that I was involved in the Paterson (NJ) Diocese in organizing a bus to the March. 50 people, 6 high schoolers, 7 sisters, 1 priest, 12 grade schoolers and a bunch of schlubs :).

    And we made the local press, in what is about the best coverage we could hope to get (sadly). A year ago, no coverage…

  37. Grabski says:

    Whoops, hit ‘return’ too early.

    We had quite a number of ‘Young Women’, including middle school, high school and college age young women.

  38. ssoldie says:

    Where are the young woman? Most are home or at work or at school, and they are contracepting, making excuses for sin. Pray for thier immortal souls, in this world they need all the prayers we can give them.

  39. Rouxfus says:

    Robert McCartney, writing for Newsweek’s corporate sister the Washington Post, reports he was “especially struck by the large number of young people among the tens of thousands at the march. It suggests that the battle over abortion will endure for a long time to come.” Here’s the lede:

    Young activists adding fuel to antiabortion side

    By Robert McCartney

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    I went to the March for Life rally Friday on the Mall expecting to write about its irrelevance. Isn’t it quaint, I thought, that these abortion protesters show up each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, even though the decision still stands after 37 years. What’s more, with a Democrat in the White House likely to appoint justices who support abortion rights, surely the Supreme Court isn’t going to overturn Roe in the foreseeable future.

    How wrong I was. The antiabortion movement feels it’s gaining strength, even if it’s not yet ready to predict ultimate triumph, and Roe supporters (including me) are justifiably nervous.

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