An Alliance for Life Ontario television campaign launched last fall was so successful the organization is planning on doing it again, only this time on a larger scale.

The Alliance for Life (AFL) Campaign 2000 featured pro-life television advertisements broadcast on 19 TV stations penetrating all major Ontario markets, including CTV, Global and MuchMusic. The five-week campaign ran from October to December. Despite costs of about $225,000, because of the success of the campaign and some leftover funds, AFL ran the ads again for another three weeks in January and February 2001.

Jakki Jeffs, executive director of AFL, told The Interim the advertisements were designed to reach out to pregnant women in distress with life-affirming information. The ads, which were produced by Jack Chamberlain of Acts Communications, the Canadian representative of the Caring Foundation, featured young women considering their options when facing an unplanned pregnancy and ultimately choosing a life-affirming option. They also feature Alliance’s national pregnancy telephone line (1-800-665-0570). Women who call are counseled and, if they want, directed to a local pro-life crisis pregnancy counselor.

The positive message ads focus on the concerns of the pregnant woman and affirm that carrying a pregnancy to term can be a positive experience while illustrating that there are various forms of support for women facing unplanned pregnancies all across the province.

Jeffs reported the campaign was successful as calls to counseling services were up 600 per cent province-wide compared to the same time in previous years. She added that once the ad campaign ceased, the number of calls dramatically decreased.

“We reached out and women reached back,” Jeffs said.

She said women facing crisis pregnancies want to hear that there are alternatives to abortion. “We said we wanted to help pregnant mothers and women said they wanted to hear this message.”

Jeffs said she never expected the campaign to be as successful as it was and its success convinced the organization they should proceed with plans to poll Ontarians to determine their exact views on abortion so a tailor-made campaign to change the hearts and minds of all citizens on this issue can be undertaken later this year.

“The next series of ads will challenge Ontarians to think, to face the fact it is a human being in the womb.” She said the ads could also look at the moral, health and psychological issues involved in the abortion decision.

The next phase, which will formally be voted on by the AFL board in April, will likely cost about $500,000.

“We have the right message,” Jeffs said. “Now we need the money to get it out.”

As The Interim reported in December, the Alliance campaign was the second of its kind in Canada. The Life and Family Office of the Vancouver Roman Catholic archdiocese had previously aired similar ads in British Columbia.