Campaign Life Coalition/Nova Scotia (CLC/NS) has taken ‘Tell the truth and stop abortion’ as its 1991 theme.
“We’re tired of always reacting to the ‘pro-choice’, pro-abortion agenda. It’s time to take the initiative, to turn the rhetoric around, to make them react to us,” Executive Director Cynthia Haughn told The Interim.
CLC/NS launched the ‘Tell the Truth’ campaign in Halifax by placing large ads in the city papers, the Daily News and in the Chronicle Herald (more conservative but distributed throughout the area).
Titled ‘Abortion is a violent choice’, the ad in the Daily News focused on the facts of saline abortion. Although over 100 were performed at the city’s Victoria General Hospital in 1990 (and fully covered by the provincial medical insurance), most people had no idea what was involved. So the ad told them, step by step, how the saline solution affects the tiny baby, and included a picture of a baby aborted in this way.
The ad challenged
It was too graphic for one declared pro-abortion editor, who at first refused to run the “exaggerated and hysterical” material submitted. Challenged by Mrs. Haughn, he contacted the doctors of the abortion unit at the Victoria General for the “correct” information.
He came back to CLC?NS shaken and converted, and ran the ad with a modification. In the space where the picture was to have been, he placed the words: “Abortion is so violent that we cannot print the picture that was presented for this space.”
The ad in the Chronicle Herald focused on the oft repeated assertion ‘There is no baby’ with which Henry Morgentaler had been grabbing local media attention. It featured the picture of a woman’s hand cradling a perfectly-formed baby, miscarried at eleven weeks. “Henry says there is no baby. Tell the truth and stop abortion,” it said.
This ad angered the pro-abortionists into publicly accusing CLC?NS of implying that Henry Morgentaler lies to women.
The ad so captured the imagination of other pro-lifers that arrangements are being made to have it converted into pro-life billboards for use across the country.
CLC/NS has got out information in other ways as well. Discovering that the October 1990 issue of the magazine New Dimensions contained a feature article telling the truth about abortion, the organization bought 300 copies for distribution to all members of the provincial legislature and key people in education and the media.
CLC/NS also used a creative approach in distributing to media people Houston Proud, a graphic five-minute video featuring the consequences of abortion, to media representatives. Mrs. Haughn wrapped it in baby shower paper, with a note that read, “Please watch this video so that the next time you interview me and I talk about victims, you will know what I am talking about.”
Many did watch it, and contacted her later. An editor of the Daily Mail later wrote, “The issue of abortion is not black and white. It is blood red.”
Listeners and station staff alike learned a lot the day Cathy Coffin, National President of the Canadian Action League (CARAL) objected on the radio to the “Baby in the Hand” picture. “It’s disgusting,” she said.
“But Cathy, you yourself were once just like that. We all were,” Cynthia Haughn pointed out.
One ‘Tell the Truth’ team placed posters in the women’s washroom of one of the city’s prestigious malls. Almost immediately, media representatives contacted Cynthia Haughn for an explanation.
TV coverage included a close-up of the pester, with the comment that a new aggressive camp seems to have appeared on the Right-to-Life scene.
That strategy has evolved into what CLC/NS describes as Poster Raids – late night sorties that saturate high-traffic areas of the city with ‘Tell the Truth’ posters. “This is one way to give the public important abortion information we can’t get to them in any other way,” says Mrs. Haughn.
Other Truth teams concentrate on filling the answering machine at the recently opened Morgentaler ‘clinic’ with factual messages about abortion and pro-life. (They use prepared scripts to avoid any possibility of slander, insults or misrepresentation.) In trying to pick up messages from women seeking abortions, the clinic staff have to listen to all messages.
“We hope that some of our information will gradually make an impression. And we hope that one woman who can’t make an appointment today because the line is filled may have rethought her position by tomorrow,” said a CLC official.
The ‘Tell the Truth’ campaign has won the attention of the media. “they have learned to expect the unexpected from us. They know we are articulate and can back up our positions very well. As a result, we are beginning to get our message out in ways we never could before,” said Mrs. Haughn.
Her constant message to reporters – “It’s time the public understood the facts about abortion” – seems to be making an impact. On one occasion, CARAL’s Ms. Coffin snapped at reporters, “People have had enough of the facts!”
Cynthia Haughn advises that readers of The Interim develop the habit of contacting the papers and other media to oppose the abortion promoters and to support other pro-lifers.
“The opposition is very skilled at this. It’s effective. Our troops still need to be trained to see that the telephone is one of our vital tools.”
Some of the tactics used in Nova Scotia so far are adaptations of those used successfully elsewhere. Others are the result of local creativity. “There’s lots more to come,” she promises. “The year is still young.”