Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom

One of the best things about participating in the Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute at The Center for American Progress this year has been working with people involved in organizations doing amazing work at this intersection.

One of them is the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which I’ve written about previously.  I was particularly excited to find out about the program called Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom, or SYRF.

Here’s a little bit about them:

Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom (SYRF) educates, organizes and empowers youth and young adults (ages 16-30) to put their faith into action and advocate for pro-choice social justice.

SYRF creates venues for youth education and activism, designs youth-specific materials, and builds lasting relationships with youth oriented organizations, campus clergy, and youth programs of our denominations.

Since young people lead this program, SYRF lifts up pro-faith youth and young adult perspectives on reproductive choice issues and provides young people with tools and opportunities to advocate for choice on their campuses, high schools, congregations and communities.

As someone who has spent a dozen years working with young people on college campuses, I’m as excited about this program as I have been about the Interfaith Youth Core.  Two programs recognizing that empowering young people to participate in social change is key.  Two programs that work to raise the profile of diversity, inclusion, and service to the community.  Two programs that take seriously the ways in which young people are searching for ways to understand their faith as relevant to the world in which they live.

And two programs that challenge the idea that the younger generation is apathetic, disengaged, or unwilling to do anything to work for justice.

How great is that.


About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and also teaches Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

  • Frank

    The best news about young people is this:

    “A January Knights of Columbus/Marist poll showed that 58% of all 18- to 29-year-olds said that abortion is morally wrong, along with Generation X — the generation now 30-44 years old — of whom 60% believe abortion is morally wrong.” She adds, “These results are a positive increase from the baby boomers, ages 45-64, of whom 51% believe abortion is morally wrong.”

    A follow-up poll taken the next month found that “66% of Catholic Millennials said that abortion is morally wrong, and 63% believe that euthanasia is as well.”

    Pro-life chapters of Students for Life have grown across college campuses, with over 600 active SFL groups operating across the country.

    Rebecca Richmond, who is executive director for the National Campus Life Network, said something moderately interesting in explaining the movement’s supposed appeal to young people. “We grew up since the 1988 Morgentaler decision (when criminal laws regulating abortion were thrown out) and so I think that our generation is starting to question this,” she told the Star. “A quarter of our generation lost their lives to abortion.”

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