We’re almost a year and a half on the other side of the overturning of Roe versus Wade following the Dobbs decision by the US Supreme Court.
I imagine many passionate pro-lifers expected that such a great legal victory would usher in a stronger pro-life culture across the country.
But that hasn’t materialized.
If anything, the counter punches by pro-abortion forces have been forceful to say the least.
Ballot initiatives in multiple states have enshrined abortion “rights” into state constitutions.
And several studies have indicated that the total drop in the number of abortions has been in the single digit percentages, at best, with one recent research study cited in a New York Times article indicating that abortion numbers may have actually increased post-Roe.
Why is the Pro-Life brand taking such a beating in our post-Roe United States, and what, if anything, can we do about it?
Admittedly, that’s a complex question that I can’t cover in one article but I want to touch on just one aspect of the problem, bringing to bear my 30+ years of marketing experience.
Here is something that can be hard for pro-lifers to accept, but that experienced marketers know well: Just because your position on an issue is objectively correct (and the pro-life position is objectively correct) doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to prevail in the marketing battle to win the majority of people’s minds to your side.
Applying this idea specifically to pro-life, I think we have to acknowledge that pro-abortion advocates have a very potent word they use that carries a lot of weight in the minds of Americans, and that word is “rights.”
Pro-abortion forces have effectively weaponized that word against pro-life advocates by saying we want to take away “rights” from women.
Pro-lifers tend to counter this with language about the “right to life” of preborn humans.
Unfortunately, the data is showing that the pro-life appeal to higher morals (save lives) is measurably losing to the pro-abortion appeal to preserve rights (legal abortion).
From a marketing perspective, I would recommend two actions that I believe could turn the tide in favor of saving many more innocent preborn lives from abortion.
First, pro-lifers should acknowledge that what we’ve been doing for decades hasn’t worked, so the answer is not to double down and work harder on doing more of the same, somehow thinking eventually the moral message of right to life will suddenly stick and outweigh the belief in abortion rights in the minds of millions of Americans.
Second, let’s humble ourselves and acknowledge the strategies and tactics that have worked exceedingly well for the pro-abortion side and see if there is anything we can borrow from their playbook that can help us compete more effectively and achieve our mission without compromising our morals.
So is there anything we can borrow from them?
I believe there is.
It’s simply this: go all-in on a pro-woman message.
I think it is undeniable that the “we’re all about the woman” strategy has worked exceedingly well for team pro-abortion.
Yes, you and I understand that abortion is objectively anything but pro-woman, but it doesn’t matter that we know that.
What matters is that the abortion industry has successfully persuaded a majority of young women that the abortion industry is on their side.
What would happen if team pro-life also adopted as its sole message a pro-woman empowerment stance in place of a right to life stance?
If we did that, I believe over time many hundreds of thousands of more lives would be saved from abortion compared to our current “right to life” messaging.
The reason is fairly simple: the woman is the decision maker in an abortion, and if she believes that team pro-life is all about empowering her, and she hears that message constantly thousands of times before she faces an unexpected pregnancy, she is likely to turn to our side for help instead of turning to the abortion industry.
We actually have the advantage over the abortion industry because most women already want to choose life, as I wrote about in my article on channeling demand for life which you can read at this link.
More to come on this concept…