The 26th Amendment at 45: Bringing More Voters to the Fight for Reproductive Rights

Image of a button showing support for a lower voting age from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

When the question of same-sex marriage went before the Supreme Court in the summer of 2013, it was clear that millennials, the nation’s youngest adults, had already reached their verdict; 66 percent were in favor of recognizing it, putting them among the most supportive demographic groups in the U.S.

That same year, millennials were in the spotlight in another fight for social justice. Refusing to accept their university’s mishandling of sexual assault reports, two survivor activists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill fought back with federal complaints. Their activism turned up the pressure on their institution and evolved into the founding of the organization End Rape on Campus, or EROC, a networked movement against sexual assault that linked survivor activists and other advocates for change on college campuses throughout the U.S. Following EROC’s founding, supportive faculty formed Faculty Against Rape, or FAR, bringing the movement to more stakeholders in campus communities.


Young voters have the power to shape political futures.


Jennings Randolph, a Democratic member of Congress from 1933 to 1947 (and later a senator from 1958 to 1985), said the nation’s youth “possess a great social conscience, are perplexed by the injustices in the world and are anxious to rectify those ills.” With that faith in the collective power of young Americans, Randolph made it his mission, beginning in 1942, to introduce legislation that would lower the voting age to 18. Historically it had been 21. His hopes, though, would not be realized until decades later, in the 1970s.

The United States entered the 1970s bearing the toll of what became one of the longest and most unpopular wars in its history. By the time the Vietnam War ended in 1975, 2.5 million Americans had served in the conflict, a quarter of them because of the draft. More than 58,000 of them lost their lives. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Some fool who runs a dry cleaning business in Ohio decided to put “Choose Life” on their coat hangers. Yeah, coat hangers — tools sometimes used by women to self-abort when abortion isn’t legal or accessible. Tools that sometimes caused tragic, gruesome deaths. Poor taste doesn’t even begin to describe this BS. (RH Reality Check)
  • 2012 — the second-worst year for abortion rights since before Roe. (Alternet)
  • Another “fetal pain” bill bites the dust. (Think Progress)
  • As HHS birth control mandate comes into effect, religious freedom founders. Know why? ’Cause our reproductive health is more important than your religious opinion. So there. (WaPo)
  • On a related note, it’s time to start boycotting “Hobby Lobby.” (Daily Beast)
  • 2013 is starting off on a good note for the ladies, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. (Plain Dealer)
  • When it comes to Gen Y, or “millennials,” and the issue of choice, just what is their deal? (Salon)
  • Unlike the U.S., Most Countries Offer Birth Control Pills Over the Counter. We are sooo behind. (Think Progress)