Washington Weekly: Abortion Rights

Few topics divide the American populace as sharply as abortion rights.

As states across the country pass legislation that makes it harder for women to undergo the procedure, pro-choice advocates feel women are being denied a basic right while pro-life activists believe abortion policy is finally headed in the right direction after decades of setbacks.

Young people are just as polarized as the rest of the country , holding fairly fluid positions on the topic that policy makers cannot quite put their fingers on.

"Millennials are really focused on truth and justice, and abortion is a grave injustice," Mallory Quigley, Communications Director with Susan B. Anthony List, said in an interview with GVH Live. "It's a very high intensity issue, of course, on both sides. People feel really strongly about it. I think that for a generation that is so focused on truth and justice that will resonate with them and swing them to vote pro-life."

For many young women, however, the fight for abortion access is another battle in a long struggle for equality.

Nancy Cardenas, a pro-choice activist, believes that bureaucracy and regulations are being manipulated to deny women reproductive rights.

"We are still fighting for the right to bodily autonomy," she told GVH Live on the steps of the Supreme Court. "We are still fighting for their right to have an abortion, and we are still fighting for the right to access these reproductive healthcare services."

But other millennials think the gravity of the abortion procedure is being understated.

Students for Life, a pro-life organization with chapters on campuses all across the country, advocates for giving young mothers the tools to properly raise their children, rather than allowing them to be aborted.

"Pro-life and pro-choice people both acknowledge that something is wrong. There's a reason both parties are so passionate about the issue," Andrew Guersney, Founding President of the Johns Hopkins Students for Life chapter, told GVH Live. "The humanity of the child matters just as much as the humanity of the mother."

As more restrictive laws spread across the country, the national conversation will only become more heated and young voters will be at the heart of the debate.

"We've seen a slew of anti-choice legislation happening at the state and local level," Marcy Stech, Communications Director at EMILY's List, said in a round table discussion. "It means restrictions for women to be able to make those decisions for themselves. I think, as millennials, it's hard to imagine a world in which you have to drive 500 miles to access a women's health clinic."

While abortion remains, largely, a state-to-state issue when it comes to legislation, momentum in the 2016 presidential race has put reproductive rights high on the list of voters' priorities and both sides are dug into the trenches.