Gina Heitkamp displays a sign while sitting on the shoulders of Ben Fortkamp during the 35th annual March for Life rally in Washington Jan. 22. The two attend St. John's Church in Maria Stein, Ohio. The demonstration marked the 1973 Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion across the country. (CNS photo/Bob Roller) (Dec. 17, 2008)

The news media. Last year Newsweek tried to claim young women were the ones missing. That fallacy exposed, they tried just ignoring it this year. So did most other big outlets. But media blackouts don’t work anymore. Except to marginalize the media…

In all the places that did cover Monday’s massive March for Life on the Mall of Washington, one theme emerged more than ever before: “the new face of the pro-life movement is young, vocal and rapidly expanding.”

Got coverage? Yes.

When abortion activist Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, saw last year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C. she was utterly astounded: “I just thought, my gosh, they are so young,” she told Newsweek. “There are so many of them, and they are so young.”

Abortion advocates like Keenan must be uneasy with the “so-many-so-young” trend. However, as leaders of the pro-abortion movement get older and focus on retirement, the pro-life movement is ever more youthful, numerous and vibrant.

And totally plugged-in to the world of social networking. A ‘smartphones for life’ group engaged participants in their campaign to help the media do their work by providing contact info for major media outlets. These young people texted and tweeted the March, they blogged and posted YouTube videos from it. They went to and around traditional media and rendered them even more irrelevant than they already were.

You’re not going to see this anywhere in ‘big’ media: Surprised by Beauty at the March for Life. You may be surprised by some of the participants noted there.

The 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising of pro-democracy students and intellectuals led to untold deaths of Chinese citizens at the hands of the government. Chai Ling was one of the student leaders who survived the massacre. Smuggled out of China in a box to the U.S., where she received an Ivy League education, married, and had children, Chai became a Christian 13 months ago. Her convictions have turned to the pro-life cause, and she came to the March to help spread the word about her efforts to end female abortion and infanticide in China.

No media blackout is going to prevent this from spreading.

Tweeting and texting, the Echo Boomers are taking the reins of the decades-long effort to restore legal protection to the unborn in Alaska and across the U.S.

These 20-somethings – children of Baby Boomers and Generation Xers – were born and raised after the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade. They are survivors of the era of legalized abortion in America. But a full third of their generation did not survive – 26 million of their brothers, sisters and friends have been aborted.

For those who made it, like 28-year-old Christine Kurka of Eagle River, Alaska and 22-year-old Windy Thomas of Anchorage, the abortion debate is about human rights – rights they believe should be equally applied to all members of the human family, including the very youngest.

At age 18, Kurka was motivated to speak up for the unborn. Her awakening came during a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., where she heard recordings of the Nuremberg trials. She understood that apathy, silence and the deflection of responsibility were no defense in the face of evil.

“If we say nothing, we are acquiescing,” Kurka told the Catholic Anchor in a recent interview.

Kurka began to see a correlation between the destruction of the Jewish people behind the walls of concentration camps and abortion.

“It’s a quiet thing, people don’t see it,” she explained.

She realized “it wasn’t going to be enough to just personally stay away from abortion or not to have one myself. I was going to have to be actively speaking and doing something.”

In the chambers of Congress, out the door of Planned Parenthood, and across the social media network, they are.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....