by Steven Ertelt
March 12, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Dr. James Dobson is concerned that the old guard of Christian pro-life leaders is passing away and that new leaders are needed to take their place. During a speech at the National Religious Broadcasters conference, Dobson noted the recent passing of pro-life advocates like Jerry Falwell and Rev. D. James Kennedy.
He noted that other pro-life luminaries like himself, Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, and Chuck Swindoll are aging and that new pro-life leaders are needed.
"It causes me to wonder who will be left to carry the banner when this generation of leaders is gone," Dobson told the convention, according to an AP report.
"The question is, will the younger generation heed the call? Who will defend the unborn child in the years to come? Who will plead for the Terri Schiavos of the world?" he asked.
"Who in the next generation will be willing to take the heat, when it’s so much safer and more comfortable to avoid controversial subjects," Dobson added, according to AP.
Kristan Hawkins, the director of Students for Life of America tells LifeNews.com that her group can give Dobson some good news. The national pro-life college group is busy educating and training the next generation of pro-life stalwarts.
Because of the work SFLA and many other pro-life organizations are doing, we see a new generation of pro-life leaders and activists," Hawkins says.
She says SFLA leaders at the campus level have already taken pro-life jobs with a plethora of pro-life groups "using the skills they developed while leading their campus pro-life organizations."
When it comes to individuals, the pro-life movement has a wealth of leaders who are already pounding the pavement on a daily basis with a pro-life perspective.
On the political side of the equation, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee struck a chord with pro-life voters as did Senator Sam Brownback. Members of Congress such as Reps. Chris Smith and Mike Pence are key pro-life leaders.
From the Catholic viewpoint, Father Frank Pavone continues as one of the mostly highly regarded pro-life emissaries and Richard Land, a prominent Baptist spokesman, is a well-regarded figure for pro-life Protestants.
Leading pro-life women are also heeding the call to speak out more dynamically on behalf of both women and unborn children who are victims of abortion.
Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright, Silent No More Awareness campaign president Georgette Forney, pro-life nurse and commentator Jill Stanek and Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., all have national reputations.
But the hallmark of the pro-life movement has always been its grassroots strength with local groups and leaders paving the way for success.
The success of crisis pregnancy centers, post-abortion ministries, the expansion of pro-life college groups, and grassroots campaigns like the 40 Days for Life of the annual LifeChain have come about without a national leader’s instruction.
Dobson’s concerns about the next generation are alleviated by polls showing that the success will continue as the next generation of Americans is more pro-life.
Polls show Americas youth are increasingly pro-life compared with their parents and grandparents generations.
The New York Times, CBS News and MTV teamed up for the survey of 659 Americans between the ages of 17 and 29 in addition to its poll of older adults. They conducted the poll in June of last year.
A total of 62 percent of young Americans say abortion should not be permitted (24 percent) or more strictly limited (38 percent). That’s higher than the 58 percent of older adults who give the same answers (split 21 and 37 percent respectively).
The poll also found fewer young Americans saying abortion should be available at any time with 37 percent favoring that compared to 39 percent of older adults.
Meanwhile, an April 2004 Zogby poll found 60 percent of 18-29 year-olds took one of three varying pro-life positions on abortion while only 39 percent agreed with the three pro-abortion stances.
"This generation is the pro-life generation," Hawkins told LifeNews.com. "Because of the tremendous work of our current pro-life leaders, we will be the generation that finally sees Roe overturned.