Through the efforts of The Caring Foundation, pro-life television commercials have been appearing in major media markets around the country. In 1997 alone over $2 million has been expended on media buys in states partnered with The Caring Foundation, doubling the $1 million-plus expended in 1996.
Following a meeting of national pro-life leaders from several states and national organizations, The Caring Foundation was formed in 1993 and a national strategy was developed. The goals of The Caring Foundation are to (1) develop and implement a national pro-life educational media program to reach the segment of Americans in conflict over the abortion issue; (2) provide information on alternatives to abortion to women contemplating abortion, as well as others influencing their decisions; and (3) develop a positive image for the pro-life movement among mainstream Americans.
Television is, without doubt, the most effective and practical communication medium available today and has tremendous power to influence beyond its perceived abilities as simply an information and entertainment medium.
Using the highly successful Missouri Vitae Society media project as a model, The Caring Foundation acts as a conduit for other states to share in the market research, completed commercials, follow-up polling information and fund raising expertise.
1997 media campaigns were developed in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and included two of the top ten media markets in the country Boston and Philadelphia. In the last two years pro-life media campaigns have aired in over thirty different markets.
Extensive market studies have been conducted to develop messages which will reframe the abortion issue in the minds of mainstream Americans. These messages have been produced into highly effective 30-second commercials. The success of these commercials has been proven time and time again through pre- and post-TV studies identifying shifts in public opinion from pro-abortion to pro-life.
A post-TV study performed in June following a three-month campaign in the Boston television market showed a seven point change in public opinion from pro-abortion to pro-life. In a market of 4.4 million adults, this is a change of 308,000 people. As the cost of this media buy was $390,000, this calculates to a $1.26 cost per person moved to a pro-life position clearly proving that television is not only the most convincing communication method, but the most cost effective as well.
In addition to changing public opinion, many of these campaigns have also reached out to help women and their families. Toll free 800 numbers have been included in several commercials designed to offer assistance to women in crisis pregnancies and post-abortive women. In the last two years over 4,000 calls have been received through the airing of these commercials.
Oftentimes the messages of these commercials are repeated back to the crisis pregnancy centers by the girls and women whose minds have been changed as a result of seeing the commercials. For example, within 24 hours after going on the air in Boston, an 18-year-old Massachusetts college student called for help and said that her abortion was scheduled for the following week at the Planned Parenthood clinic, but “the commercial made her think.” The ending line of this commercial is “Think about it.”
Following the airing of a commercial with a post-abortion theme, a Michigan mother called for help saying that her teenage daughter was scheduled for an abortion, but “she didn’t want her daughter to feel like that (suffering Post-Abortion Syndrome).”
Likewise a commercial about a mother who continued a teen pregnancy, and now has a teenage daughter, caused a Wisconsin girl to tell the crisis pregnancy counselor that she saw this commercial and felt that “if she can make it, so can I.”
Stories like these are consistently repeated wherever these thought-provoking commercials are aired and lives are consistently being saved.
The long-term impact of ongoing media campaigns is now being felt in those states where television has been used for several years. For example, in Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan the abortion rates have dropped by more than one-third.
As The Caring Foundation continues to assist in the development of media efforts across the country, further research into message development is being conducted and additional commercials are being produced to reach our ultimate goal of restoring value to human life with mainstream Americans.
The script follows of “Den,” one of the most effective spots.
“You know, I used to be pro-choice. And then something happened to me. I had a baby of my own. When I was pregnant, I finally realized that all this little kid was trying to do was make it.
Just like all of us. So…I haven’t figured it all out yet,
But why - when I wanted the baby - it was a baby;
And when I didn’t it was something else.”