Caring Foundation ads designed to appeal to feelings and concerns of abortion-minded women

By Mike Mastromatteo
The Interim

Alliance for Life Ontario is optimistic that its soon-to-conclude TV ad campaign will convince young women in crisis pregnancies that there are several readily available alternatives to abortion.

The Alliance for Life Campaign 2000 featured pro-life television commercials broadcast on 19 TV stations, including the MuchMusic channel for young people. The five-week campaign, which aired between mid-October and December 18, is expected to reach up to 10 million viewers.

Alliance for Life Ontario executive director Jakki Jeffs said the TV campaign is a large-scale attempt to provide pregnant women in distress with life-affirming information.

“The focus of this year’s campaign was reaching out to women in crisis pregnancy and showing them that there are people and centres just longing to help them get through this very difficult time in their lives,” Jeffs told The Interim.

She said Alliance for Life’s affiliate member groups across Ontario provided most of the $180,000 cost of the project. Additional support came from churches and individuals throughout the province.

Each Alliance for Life ad featured young women considering their options when facing unplanned pregnancy. In each case, the women reject the abortion route and take advantage of the various life-affirming options available. Each ad also features Alliance’s national pregnancy telephone line (1-800-665-0570).

Jeffs said a review of the number of telephone calls to the national pregnancy phone line is one way Alliance for Life can measure the effectiveness of the campaign. “We will be waiting to see if the calls to crisis pregnancy centres across Ontario went up during our campaign,” Jeffs added. “We have the regular figures for these calls and will be comparing the calls during our 2000 campaign to ascertain if the ads worked to connect these women with the help that they need.”

Alliance for Life looked to the U.S.-based Caring Foundation for help in producing the TV ads. Jack Chamberlain of Acts Communications, the Canadian representative to the Caring Foundation, produced the ads for Alliance for Life.

The basis for the Caring Foundation TV ads is to appeal to a pregnant woman’s concerns. Instead of focusing exclusively on the rights of the unborn child, the Caring Foundation ads suggest that carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term is a positive experience for women. The ads also highlight the vast network of care and support services available to women who choose not to abort their children.

“The ads used in our 2000 campaign encouraged women to reach out for help and also sent the message that she could take control and get through this difficult period in her life,” Jeffs said. She added that a TV ad campaign for next year will focus on the harmful consequences of abortion from both a moral and practical point of view.

“Next year the ads will challenge Ontarians to think – is abortion the only response we advocate to women? Is the human being in the womb worth anything at all? Can women make it through with our help? Is abortion harming women?” Jeffs said.

Such an approach will require extensive opinion research prior to and after the campaign. Jeffs estimated that a 13-week campaign with the required follow-up will cost up to $500,000.