What’s at stake in the Planned Parenthood fight

There might be another video dropping any day now in the gruesome, disturbing series of Planned Parenthood exposés from the Center for Medical Progress. They videos have stoked and motivated pro-life activists to encourage further adoption of the culture of life – as they should have. As discussed in last week’s post on Communities Digital News, the short term goal of stripping Planned Parenthood of its federal funding – and its position of moral authority is a pretty important step.

A new frontier for pro-life politicians

This week’s post over at Communities Digital News is about some recent polling that shows that many Americans have views on abortion that aren’t as easily categorized as many politicos think. This is likely true of other issues as well. Some things simply transcend politics, so the fight needs to be in a non-political arena. Legislation and policy is certainly important, but not all-inclusive.

Most policy is made by politicians who understand the electoral implications of being for or against something. For example, many conservative politicians wouldn’t have supported a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy; now you couldn’t win a Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in most states, let alone President, if you oppose such a ban.

Through crisis pregnancy centers and post-abortive counselling organizations, the broader pro-life movement handles the non-policy side of the debate well. Political organizations who want to move public opinion on the abortion issue should embrace this.

That may be non-traditional for politics, but it’s ultimately how opinions change.

Dueling ads about Planned Parenthood

On his Daily Caller blog, AOL/Huffington Post ‘fugee Matt Lewis talks about why a recent ad taking on Planned Parenthood works – noting that the inclusion of a former Planned Parenthood staffer helps strike an authoritative blow to the abortion provider’s claim to be about more than abortion.


In contrast, here’s one of the ads Planned Parenthood has been running on local Washington stations, most likely to scare the Congressional staff who live in the area:

This ad is effective, too – at least to a degree: it highlights a personal story and diverts the attention from their core business of pregnancy termination, which is a political loser.   Unlike the ad referenced by Lewis, this ad (and other Planned Parenthood ads) have used a male voiceover.  At first blush, that seems like a bad mistake; after all, isn’t Planned Parenthood trying to position itself as the voice for women’s health?  But there might be a method to the madness: the male voice allows Planned Parenthood to convey a sense of urgency and anger without allowing a listener to dismiss and stereotype the message as “angry feminist” rhetoric.

It also might have been a budgetary consideration; the ad itself looks like it was made cheaply and quickly.  And that might be a bit of strategy, too: after all, if you are paying for ads that say you need a handout, the ads probably shouldn’t look too slick.