Below are the remarks I made at a talk I gave in Midland, TX on May 19, 2022
Everybody has a story, everybody has their why for getting involved in pro-life work. All of you have your own stories, and I’m sure they’re very personal, and I want to thank all of you for whatever you’ve ever done for pro-life. It all matters, so thank you very much for doing that.
I go into detail about my personal story, my why, in my book, and you have the book, so I’ll just touch on a few things. My story started with the fact that I used to be on the other side of the abortion issue, so much so that when my girlfriend in college got pregnant, we agreed together and she had an abortion.
And that didn’t affect me for a very long time, because I wasn’t a Christian at that time. And then in the year 2002, I became a Christian, and in 2004 I became Catholic, and I started to learn about the Church’s teachings on life, and of course, that became a problem for me given my background with abortion.
But it took a very long time for me to start to think that maybe I needed to do something about this, and what I really needed to do was to go get healing for what had happened so long ago.
It took me about 10 years to figure that out though, but the Holy Spirit finally led me to a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in 2013, and if you’ve never heard of Rachel’s Vineyard, it’s simply a retreat for healing for those who have had abortions in their past.
That retreat, only three days, completely changed the trajectory of my life. I had been involved in consumer product marketing all over the world for my entire career, particularly in the cell phone industry, and I came out of the retreat saying, “I’m now going to somehow dedicate my life full-time to pro-life.”
So I was trying to figure out how to do all that, and I was a little bit worried because I was like, “Lord, I’m not a nonprofit guy. I’m not a ministry person. I don’t know Lord, what am I gonna do here?”
And now I’ve come to see – we always kind of see it in hindsight, right? – I think the Lord was looking for someone like me, someone different. So I came into the pro-life world with a very different view. I came in with a business point of view, a consumer marketing point of view, an operations point of view, a competitive point of view, meaning I wanted to beat Planned Parenthood. They’re a business.
And so, all of that happened, I was trying out some pro-life things and suddenly came in contact with Heroic Media, and they invited me to come be their VP of Marketing, and that started my journey of starting to develop products and services that could actually compete against, and beat, Planned Parenthood.
And in a limited fashion, in certain cities where Heroic Media operates, OAASYS (On-demand Alternatives to Abortion SYStem) does exactly that. It’s wonderful. So with OAASYS I learned many things over the seven years I’ve been doing this full time.
And then three years ago I visited a pro-life pregnancy Center, which I will talk more about in a second, and that center had a very unique approach to competing for abortion-determined clients, and my experience with that center led to me writing my book “Your Pro-Life Bottom Line”, which has now further led to a very exciting joint venture project that I’m going to tell you more about in a second, but first, I want to share with you what the overall mission of this joint venture project with this other organization is going to be.
The mission is big. It is to establish the first-ever pro-life women’s healthcare brand that is recognized by young women across the country as the life-affirming alternative to Planned Parenthood.
Currently, no brand like that exists in the pro-life world, certainly not nationally, and I would say not even at most state levels.
So this is huge. The reason I’m giving you this exciting teaser right now is because I’m going to be bringing some clouds into the room here, and how cloudy this is really depends on your level of knowledge about Roe vs. Wade and what might happen should Roe vs. Wade be overturned.
So let’s jump to that for a second, because I think it’s important that you understand that because many people in pro-life think certain things about what will happen when Roe vs. Wade is overturned, and the reality is, what will happen is something very different. I just want to make sure that you’re grounded in knowledge of what it’s really going to mean on the ground when Roe is overturned.
So let’s just assume for a second that the Supreme Court decision dropped today, which by the way is a possibility, there’s been rumblings in the pro-life world that that decision could happen this week. So I was kind of hoping it would happen this morning, so this would be really timely.
So no one knows exactly what’s going to happen, but we know this – it will be chaotic. It will be very chaotic.
So what are some things you can be sure of will happen? Well, you can be sure that there will be a lot of demonstrations by leftists all over the country, and certainly in front of pro-life pregnancy centers and other organizations, and many of those demonstrations will involve violence.
And the one thing I can tell you is, even while all that’s going on across our country, every single day, thousands of women will continue to get abortions.
What else is going to happen? On the leftist news network, and I think that almost all of them are leftist now, they will be going on as if this is the end of the world, saying that this is worse than a return to legal slavery. They’ll tell you that our culture is completely finished on and on nonstop for months and months.
And one thing I can tell you, while they’re doing all that, every single day in this country, thousands of women will continue to get abortions.
What about the conservative news networks? They’ll certainly bring on leaders of pro-life organizations, and there’ll be lots of, “Praise the Lord. Hallelujah.” Deservedly so.
And even while that’s going on, one thing I can guarantee you is that every single day in our country, thousands of women will continue to get abortions.
And then perhaps the most exciting thing is in about 25 states abortion will immediately become illegal for all intents and purposes, including here in the great state of Texas.
Even then, one thing I can guarantee you is, every single day, thousands of women in our country will continue to get abortions.
So it might be on your mind exactly how many lives will be saved when Roe vs. Wade is overturned? On an annual basis, research says around 10%. Now, that is a huge victory. That is about 100,000 lives saved per year. That is by far and away the biggest pro-life victory ever. So I want to acknowledge how amazing that is, and I want to acknowledge all the people that have worked for decades, pouring their hearts into this to make that happen. That’s just absolutely incredible.
But I don’t know about you, but it’s a little bit sobering to think that there will only be a 10% reduction in the number of abortions.
So let’s talk a little bit about why only 10% because so many people in the pro-life community think that Roe vs. Wade is going to be the silver bullet. Let’s talk about why it is not going to be the silver bullet.
There are three main things to consider.
One is that in 25 states abortion will become illegal immediately. Well, what about the other 25 states? Let’s just call them the politically blue states. That’s where most of the abortions in our country take place. Even just in California and New York, those two states together make up almost 25% of all abortions, so abortion is going to continue to be legal there.
Second, women will cross borders to get an abortion. As an example, let’s talk about the Texas heartbeat bill, which went into effect on September 1 last year. We actually had a very politically conservative group in Texas contact us and they wanted to write an article about all the lives that had been saved in the one month after the heartbeat bill passed. It was some incredible number, and I asked them “Where did you all come up with that?” And they said, “Well, we took the number of abortions that happen in Texas every year, multiplied it by 1/12th and voila!” Because abortion is illegal in Texas, right? None of the women in Texas are getting abortions, right?
They’re just going across the border, especially in Dallas where I live, most of them are driving up the highway three hours to Oklahoma City. If they’re in east Texas, they head over to Louisiana. In the west, over to New Mexico.
So, again, there’s some research that’s been done on the impact of the Heartbeat bill, and it’s saved about 10%. Sounds consistent with other research that’s been done on the potential impact of the overturning of Roe v Wade.
The third thing, and this is where in my conversations with some pro-lifers I believe is by far the most impactful thing, and the one that most pro-lifers, unless you’re pretty involved in the industry, are not aware of, and that is the impact of the so-called abortion pill, also known as medication abortion, do-it yourself abortion, and self-managed abortion.
Already in our country as of today, this year, more than half of abortions are done by the abortion pill, and that is expected over the next few months by the end of this year to rapidly accelerate to almost 75%, and by the end of next year, between 80% and 90% of all abortions will be by the abortion pill.
This is what most pro-lifers don’t realize. All they’ve ever heard about over the years is Roe vs. Wade. They’ve seen Planned Parenthood abortion facilities or other abortion facilities and they think, “That is where abortions take place.” And they were right until recently.
Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry for 10 years now have been completely transforming their abortion product, one, because the abortion pill is more profitable, but two, they knew eventually that it was very plausible that Roe v. Wade would be overturned and they needed to have an answer to that from a business perspective.
So an abortion used to take place at a certain place, at a certain day, at a certain time, and was done by a certain person.
Most of that is gone. Or soon will be.
Most abortions will now arrive at a woman’s home in a little package with two pills so that the woman can do the abortion on her time, at her convenience. I can’t stress enough how radically transformative that is and what a challenge it is for the pro-life community, because if you think about it, even if mail-order medication abortion is illegal in your state, and that will be the case here in Texas, it will be illegal, it won’t really matter.
You can’t police it. All a woman has to do is call her friend in an abortion-legal state, get the abortion pills, stuff them into a pet Teddy bear, and off it goes to a woman’s house. It’s almost impossible to police. You all know the war on drugs and things like that, has that ever been effective? It’s too hard to police.
So you’re probably thinking, “That’s pretty depressing Brett. What am I supposed to do now?” And what I would ask you is, “What is it that you ultimately want to happen in your pro-life efforts?” And the typical answer pro-lifers give is pretty simple, “I want women to choose life and not abortion.”
And so if overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t the silver bullet to achieve that, is there something that could be the silver bullet? I think the answer to that question is YES. I think there’s strong evidence to prove it.
And this is where I’m going to play college professor and ask you to open your books to page 125 of my book you have in front of you, and I want you to look at the graph on that page. You’ll be able to read all about it later, so I just want to make a few brief comments about that graph on 125. This graph shows the so-called “Missouri Miracle.” The Missouri Miracle simply shows there on that graph that for all intents and purposes, there are no abortions in the state of Missouri. It is abortion-free.
Now, I want you to turn just a couple of pages to page 127. There you have a graphical representation of the number of abortion-seeking clients that went to a pro-life pregnancy center in St. Louis, Missouri called Thrive Express Women’s Healthcare.
If you know anything about pro-life pregnancy centers, those numbers are off the charts. They’re substantially greater than any center that I know of.
And to bring this all home, please look on page 128 to see a marrying of those two graphs. So you see abortion numbers going down rapidly, and you have Thrive’s abortion-seeking client numbers going up, many of whom changed their minds about abortion and chose life!
From a marketer’s perspective, this is exactly what you like to see when you talk about market share – your competitor’s numbers going down like this and your numbers going up like that. Essentially, you’re taking your competitors’ clients from their spreadsheet and dropping them over on to your spreadsheet. That’s called winning. It’s very exciting!
What ThriVe accomplished is amazing, and many people in the pro-life community are not aware of it. By the way, remember this all happened while Roe v. Wade is in effect. It’s remarkable.
So you’re probably wondering, “How did ThriVe do this?” I’m not going to go into all the details. You can read all of that Chapter 12 in the book where there is a detailed case study about how ThriVe did it. It’s a book within the book, where I go into detail with Bridget VanMeans, the vision leader of Thrive Nation.
I want to touch on just two things here though in the time I have with you. First of all, Bridget, like me, comes from the for-profit world of sales and marketing. So when she came to the pro-life pregnancy center a little over a decade ago she was like, “I don’t know how to do this like a non-profit ministry person, so I’m going to do it like a business person.” And from that day she started running it like a business.
And the main thing she did, she said, “Look, we all understand and agree with the moral issue of abortion, but these women are consumers and they have a choice, they can choose abortion or they can choose life. We know what the “choose abortion” product looks like as offered by Planned Parenthood, but what is our “choose life” product going to look like, a product that actually resonates with young women, that makes them want to choose our product over what Planned Parenthood offers?”
Now to some of you that may not sound that revolutionary. But I can insure you that it’s absolutely revolutionary in the pregnancy center movement. Most centers don’t think like that. Instead, they bring kind of a care, help, moral issue approach. Of course, there are some beautiful parts about that, but for the most part, it does not attract a woman who is intent on seeking an abortion.
ThriVe focused on this idea of what is the woman buying? And I love the way Bridget always says it – the young woman is buying a future. Just like all of us, she wants to be happy, she wants to have joy in her life.
Planned Parenthood currently offers her a proposition that’s very compelling. In the book I call it the Time Machine product, meaning we can take you back to the way things were before you became pregnant. From a marketing perspective, that is a very strong compelling proposition.
How do you beat that? Well, you’ll read in the book about how Thrive did it, but primarily it comes down to making everything you focus on in your marketing about the young woman, resonating with her by making sure that she knows that you care about what she cares about – things like fitness, fashion, and health.
Thrive puts all of that into their marketing, so already young women are attracted to the language Thrive speaks. It’s all about women empowerment.
The second thing, and this is in my mind the most important thing, is the one thing that Thrive did that no other pro-life pregnancy center has ever done, and that is from day one, up until this very day, for 10 years, ThriVe has ran a massive, extensive, high frequency, brand advertising campaign targeted at young women in St. Louis using radio, billboards, internet, social media, everything you could think of.
Why is this so important? Because in every other city in the United States, a young woman, even before she faces an unexpected pregnancy, has one brand name in her mind should she ever face an unexpected pregnancy, and you all know what it is, Planned Parenthood.
There’s one city in the United States where all young women have two brand names in their minds before they face an unexpected pregnancy, Planned Parenthood and Thrive. That right there my friends has made all the difference because Planned Parenthood has gotten a little lazy at marketing because they’re a monopoly. They don’t care about fancy branding campaigns and resonating with women because they already know they’ve got those women.
But not in St. Louis. Thrive has done such a remarkable job that it is the preferred brand for all young women in St. Louis should they face an unexpected pregnancy, and that helps explain why you saw that Missouri miracle graph go down to zero abortions. It’s very exciting!
So time has moved forward, and now Bridget VanMeans is on the board of directors at Heroic Media, and we’re really starting to collaborate and talk about opportunities, and especially we start to talk about, which is probably what you’re thinking, why aren’t we doing what ThriVe did in St. Louis in all the other cities across the United States?
That’s a great question. We should be. And I want to do in all the other cities that same thing that ThriVe did in St. Louis. That market share graph we saw in St. Louis, I want to see that same graph in Dallas, here in Midland, in Oklahoma City, in San Antonio, Austin, and of course also in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and eventually all the big cities. I want to see that happen. I want replicate ThriVe’s success.
So we started talking with Bridget about that and we realized there were some synergies between ThriVe and Heroic Media, and we decided to put together a joint project we call Thrive+.
Essentially, ThriVe+ is going to take ThriVe’s successful business model into other cities. And currently the goal is to firmly establish in young women’s minds across the nation the ThriVe brand, and accomplish that within five years.
Now when you hear that time frame, five years, that likely sent up a red flag for you because you’re thinking, “That’s hard to do. Setting up brick and mortar locations takes so long, and it takes a lot of money.” And you’re absolutely right.
But we’re not going to do it the traditional way. We’re going to do it very differently, and before I share with you exactly how I’m going to set it up by talking about two things. First, COVID. This two-year COVID occurrence expanded the telehealth model much quicker than it probably would have given just normal circumstances.
Second, all young women are constantly on their cell phones! They rarely make phone calls, but they do use Facetime, a lot. Young women are already hard-wired to be very comfortable in a virtual situation like a telehealth visit on their phones with a registered nurse.
So we put these two things together and thought, “Wait a minute, we don’t have to go into cities and replicate the brick and mortar business model. Let’s go in with a full telehealth model.”
And the telehealth model has three essentials:
1) You’ve got to have that ThriVe massive brand advertising campaign no matter what cities you go into.
2) What happens when a woman calls the ThriVe hotline? The call goes to a very skilled call intake professional who knows exactly what to say, and not to say, to abortion-seeking women.
3) What does that call intake professional do after screening the call? She immediately transfers that young woman to a telehealth visit with an on call registered nurse who is trained with working with abortion-seeking women.
Here’s the secret why this process is so effective. Let me compare it to how it works currently. Today, in the work we do with OAASYS, when our ads connect an abortion-seeking woman to one of our partner centers, the call intake professional will book an appointment for the woman, and probably best case the appointment will be about 24 hours later.
And a lot can happen in 24 hours with abortion-seeking women. They don’t stop researching, they keep looking at other options and talking with others. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the no-show rate for appointments, depending on the city, is quite high, sometimes as high as 50%.
But in the telehealth model, there’s no waiting 24 hours for an appointment. As a matter of fact, the connection to a registered highly trained nurse can happen in as fast as 24 seconds, boom, connect right to that nurse, right then. ThriVe calls this its “Speed to Nurse” protocol and it explains why the telehealth model has such a successful conversion rate in the testing ThriVe has done, almost 100% of abortion-seeking women change their minds and choose life.
So I think you can see why we’re excited to expand this model! Those three things are all you need to introduce the ThriVe telehealth model into a city.
Why can we do it so rapidly?
Let’s say it was here in Midland. We don’t need to ask permission of anyone to get started. We just start running the brand advertising campaign directed and young women aged 18-29, and the call intake professional and the registered nurse who will do the telehealth visit with young women can be located anywhere in the country sice the visit is done over the internet.
That allows us to do that very rapidly.
That’s why we believe that we can expand this very rapidly if we have the funds available. So it’s very exciting, and we’re going to launch this in our first city, Oklahoma City, on of all days, July 4th, so coming up pretty soon, because we like that theme of freedom – freedom for women, and certainly freedom for pre-born babies.
So I would ask that you pray for that initiative. We believe it’s going to expand quickly, and we would love for you all to be part of that, partnering with us. We’re in for some exciting times here.