"I think it would be better," she told her classmates, "to overturn Roe v. Wade."
Dahl was not just repeating what she heard in her pro-life, Christian home. In fact, her remarks came as a shock to her thoroughly pro-choice mother. But they are a hopeful sign that pro-life arguments have not fallen on deaf ears.
Dahl was not the only person in her class to make a pro-life presentation. As Dahl's teacher, Jillynne Raymond, told the New York Times, the "majority" of her students are pro-life.
This comes as a real surprise in Red Wing, which voted for Al Gore in 2000. One resident described herself as "shocked" at the pro-life sentiment among the town's kids and asked, "Where do these kids come from?"
The answer: They are just kids from Red Wing whose attitudes are consistent with national trends. Among young Americans, support for the pro-choice position has been dropping for the past decade. In 1993, 48 percent of eighteen- to twenty-nine-year-olds polled by the New York Times agreed that "abortion should be generally available to those who want it." Today, that number is down to 39 percent. A social scientist observed that young people today no longer see abortion as a "rights" issue, but as a "moral, ethical issue." That's good news.
And not surprisingly, abortion-rights advocates are trying to explain away these findings. Some argue that young women, never having "faced a situation where they couldn't get an abortion," take the right to abortion for granted. But they're not taking it for granted. They're explicitly rejecting that so-called "right."
An even more desperate pro-abortion explanation is that the shift is due to sex-ed programs stressing abstinence that "demonize abortion." In this conspiratorial account, children are being indoctrinated behind their busy parents' backs. As one pro-choice parent told the Times, "An anti-choice critter [jumped] out of my son's backpack and [ran] around my house." Really?
I suppose thinking that he has been brainwashed is easier than admitting that he thinks that you are wrong.
But that is what is happening. When Dahl told her classmates that "the baby's heartbeat starts at around twelve to eighteen days," she demonstrated that our arguments have taken hold. Likewise, when her classmate said that the abortion issue is "more about the baby's rights than the woman's rights," we can see that our efforts to shift the terms of the debate have borne fruit.