Former NARAL and Catholics for Choice Presidents: Innovation continues with FFL
There has been a lot of discussion about the airing of a Super Bowl XLIV ad featuring the Pam Tebow and her son, University of Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim.
Predictably, abortion advocates have smiled through interviews sharing their bitter opposition to the "anti-choice" ad produced by Focus on the Family. Why? Twenty-three years ago, Pam Tebow made the choice to ignore her doctor's advice to have an abortion. Though the medicine used to treat her illness was feared to cause fetal deformity, she chose to continue her high risk pregnancy and have her son.
Doctors can be wrong. Thankfully, both mother and son are well.
While most abortion advocates vehemently oppose the Tebow ad, there are notable exceptions. Two former leaders of organizations that support abortion have expressed their frustration with the current leadership of their movement.
Their insights about advertising strategies are worth reading—especially their affirmation of Feminists for Life's work.
In an opinion editorial published by the Washington Post, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Kate Michelman and former president of Catholics for Choice Frances Kissling came out against the hand-wringing response by other abortion advocates, calling it a "high profile example of the savvy way the antiabortion movement has tailored its message."
Kissling and Michelman inadvertently present a pro-life message by describing past videos and talking about the impact of investing in ads—or not. They report on the dramatic shift in public opinion towards a pro-life position, thanks in part to technology revealing what women knew all along: Yes, it is a baby.
In the course of relating the ad history, Michelman and Kissling affirm the work of Feminists for Life:
On the other side, though, the innovation continued. Groups such as Feminists for Life started out relatively small but invested heavily in reaching out to college students, talking not about making abortion illegal but about helping college women keep their babies. Their pro-life message wasn't exclusively anti-abortion; it was anti-capital-punishment, antiwar, for saving the whales, for not eating meat and for supporting mothers. It wasn't the mainstream of the antiabortion movement, but it had its appeal.
FFL's "granola" roots aside, this is a wonderful opportunity to publicly thank the donors who supported our highly successful Women Deserve Better® campaign as well as our other ad campaigns, the foundation that supported the early formation of FFL's College Outreach Program, and everyone who has sacrificed their time and money because they believe in supporting our work to develop holistic solutions for women.
The article concludes with Kissling and Michelman's suggestion for a 30-second spot to air during the Super Bowl, an ad showing all the choices: "The camera focuses on one woman after another, posed in the situations of daily life: rushing out the door in the morning for work, flipping through a magazine, washing dishes, teaching a class of sixth-graders, wheeling a baby stroller. Each woman looks calmly into the camera and describes her different and successful choice: having a baby and giving it up for adoption, having an abortion, having a baby and raising it lovingly. Each one being clear that making choices isn't easy, but that life without tough choices doesn't exist."
To that, our National Program Director Cayce Utley replied, "What's choice without life?"
I recommend reading this article in its entirety - both for its insights and its affirmation of our work to make tough choices more joyful ones.
Because women deserve better,
Serrin M. Foster
P.S. Thanks again to those who supported our year-end matching gift appeal and special appeal to reach students at conferences during the 37th anniversary of Roe V. Wade. This op-ed by Michelman and Kissling is one more affirmation that your investment in Feminists for Life is a smart choice. Help us continue our innovative work for women!