The XX Factor

Gen Y Over-Cautiousness Might Explain Abortion Attitudes

Jess, if Gen Y is indeed less pro-choice than prior generations , it shows that there’s a dark underbelly to the generation that’s been applauded as more tolerant and diversity-oriented than any other. They’re also rumored to be the generation of bicycle helmets and overscheduling-kids who grew up in an environment that implied that one could wipe out all risk-and that kind of attitude explains why they would have developed contempt for anyone who does draw the short stick. What older generations might see as a reasonable amount of risk, Gen Y might see as nothing but carelessness.

I’ve definitely encountered know-it-all Gen Y-ers whose argument against abortion seems to be that forced childbirth is just desserts for carelessness. And frankly, I prefer their attitude over the disingenuous hand-wringing over fetal life that you get from more traditional anti-choicers. Americans’ opinions on abortion resemble their opinions on welfare- they primarily see it as an out for lazy people , but always reserve the right to make exceptions. Jennifer Senior’s article touches on this reality when she writes, “According to a Gallup poll from July, 60 percent of Americans think abortion should be either illegal or ‘legal only in a few circumstances.’ ” Clinic workers have a dark joke about people with this opinion: They want exceptions for rape, incest, and “me”.

Many of the people who snarl about irresponsibility leading to abortion are telling themselves a little fairy tale, namely that they’re responsible, so accidental pregnancy could never happen to them, and even if it does, surely the universe will see that they deserve abortion. Unlike those other women, those sluts. Unfortunately, there’s no way to write a law that looks into someone’s heart to find if they got knocked up despite precautions. Prior generations know from experience, or at least recent historical memory, that the law didn’t distinguish between a broken condom and simply not using one at all. Let’s hope this generation doesn’t have to learn that the hard way.