Have you heard that “Birds Aren’t Real”? The message has been on billboards in Pittsburgh, Memphis, and Los Angeles. These messages are also seen on TikTok and Instagram which have millions of followers.
I was really curious when I saw the headline “Birds Aren’t Real, or Are They? Inside a Gen Z Conspiracy Theory” in the New York Times (12/9/21). The theory, started by Peter McIndoe, age twenty-three, claims birds don’t exist; that the government has replaced them with drone replicas to spy on us; and that they get recharged from power lines. Does this sound completely absurd? Yes, because it is.
According to the Times article, the theory “is a parody social movement with a purpose. In a post-truth world dominated by online conspiracy theories, young people have coalesced around the effort to thumb their nose at, fight and poke fun at misinformation. It’s Gen Z’s attempt to upend the rabbit hole with absurdism.” One follower described it as “fighting lunacy with lunacy.”
Generation Z is the term for young people born in the late 90s through the early 2010s, approximately 1997-2012). They are “digital natives” raised on the internet, social media and smart phones. They are educated, resilient and according to research, focused on the search for truth.
Vitae has always been focused on the search for truth. Our work is anchored in research, uncovering the hows and the whys of abortion decision-making. By understanding these emotional dynamics, we have learned how to better communicate and meet the needs of the woman facing an abortion decision. After our first research project, we developed a #ProWomanApproach that hugely impacted the pro-life community, saving thousands of women the pain of abortion and realizing the joy of motherhood.
This year, Vitae is committed to expanding our research efforts, testing the findings and sharing more with our pro-life peers. The research findings from our National Women’s Health Study are under current review with plans for their implementation. This quarter, we will begin research on how to best communicate with women about the abortion pill. Over 50% of women now choose this abortion method, with little to no knowledge about the physical and emotional complications it can cause. The results of this study will not only be used to communicate with women at the time of the decision but also prior to an unexpected pregnancy.
Vitae will continue to share truth and expose the deceptions that are used to manipulate women into abortion decisions. Our work has always been difficult but will come under greater scrutiny as we communicate with Gen Z. They are considered the “True Gen” with ethical concerns centered around what’s good for one another. Let’s pray they will be the generation that leads us to the end of abortion.
By Debbie Stokes
Vitae Foundation President