Pro-Life Day’s “Battle of the Ads”

March for Life.jpgToday’s annual “March for Life” on the Mall in Washington marks 36 years since the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and it takes place against concerns about “abortion fatigue” among the public, and “battle fatigue” among the troops, as this Christianity Today story notes.

“Redefining marriage is a bigger deal to Americans,” said Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin…[snip]…Evangelicals under age 35 are shaped by growing up in an era of legalized abortion, said Charles Colson. “Younger evangelicals remain pro-life, but I don’t think they have the same fire in the belly about the issue that older evangelicals have had,” he said.


There is also disappointment over now-former President Bush’s track record, and of course Barack Obama–who is pro-choice, or “pro-abortion,” if you prefer the language of his opponents–won the election and just two days ago was sworn in as president before a crowd on this same Mall that far outstrips the pro-lifers marching today.
So what will pro-lifers do? Some want to rally against the Freedom of Choice Act that candidate Obama pledged to sign, though FOCA is widely recognized as a phantom menace, for the time being. Others are galvanized by reports (Amy Welborn posts them) that Obama will do a Clinton move and pick this date to reverse executive orders on the “Mexico City” policies barring federal funding for international aid groups that back abortion and family planning.
What remains to be seen is whether, for all his talk of post-partisanship and working together, Obama can make headway on the abortion issue. The debate is being framed by two ads being promoted today, one by the “Third Way” collective of evangelicals who are promoting a “reasoned” approach to reducing abortion and addressing other moral problems. They are running radio and print ads in Washington today, which you can see at their web site,, which aims at results “not rhetoric.”
Will the red-meat crowd at the March for Life go for such reasoning–and the desire to try to end the Culture Wars?
They may prefer to fight on, rallying behind another ad, this from, which will broadcast it on Black Entertainment Television (BET) in the Chicago market.
As Dan Gilgoff at U.S. News notes, it’s a tiny buy in terms of market reach, but CatholicVote’s 2008 campaign video ad against abortion and gay marriage went viral and was watched by more than 4 million.
The latest ad is controversial as it uses Obama’s own life story, implying that if abortion were legal, his own mother would have aborted him and African-Americans (and the rest of us) never would have been celebrating on Tuesday. The ad flashes clips of a fetus in the womb with this text:


“This child’s future is a broken home…
he will be abandoned by his father…
his single mother will struggle to raise him…
despite the hardships he will endure…
this child…will become…The 1st African American President…
Life…Imagine the Potential…”

…And it ends, with a musical crescendo, with a photo of Barack Obama. Ta-dum! Watch it here.
So which approach do you prefer?

Comments read comments(4)
post a comment
Steven Ertelt

posted January 22, 2009 at 11:24 am

Do you folks just make this stuff up? Pro-life advocates are delighted about Bush’s pro-life record, which is why Obama and his promise to fund more abortions and reverse every pro-life law is so disheartening.

report abuse

Mere Catholic

posted January 22, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Why do you see the Catholic Vote ad as an attempt to “fight on” in a so-called culture war? It shouldn’t come as any surpise that pro-lifers think that abortion is a bad thing. The organizations that advertise a “third way” and “real abortion solution” intimate the same view in the links you provide. (Otherwise, logically, why would you try to reduce the incidence of something, unless you objectively thought of it at best as undesirable). The Catholic Vote ad is touching on a common rationale for seeking an abortion: unplanned pregnancy, out-of-wedlock conception, difficult economic circumstances. It is not saying that Ann Dunham would have pursued an abortion had it been legal at the time, but that she could have. In fact, at the time she conceived Barack Obama, she had many of the same characteristics of the woman that Planned Parenthood says typically has an abortion ( In that vein, the ad is a “what if”: a thought experiment for the audience that asks us to consider a hypothetical abortion that pro-choice groups would find unobjectionable. It frames the consequences of abortion for one man, his family, and now his nation. Unless thinking is now reserved as a weapon to be used only in a cultural war, I don’t get your point.

report abuse


posted January 23, 2009 at 2:13 am

Personally, i think the only two people that need to be concerned about an abortion is the woman considering it and the health care advisor. Each situation is different as no one reason or law will cover every situation. For most women I’ve ever spoken to, on the subject of abortion, it is/was a very hard decision to make, whether or not they followed through or not. It’s too personal and should never be decided by anyone other than the woman. As far as the RR is concerned, they can be allowed to complain or protest or put up adds expressing their thoughts on the matter, as far as they’re concerned but they should never have a say in what a person or woman can or can not do. Their religious beliefs STOP and should stop at another persons nose.

report abuse

Your Name

posted January 25, 2009 at 8:52 am

I was among the 250,000 marchers who attended the rally last Thurday, and the opportunity to exercise my first amendment rights to free speech and petition. I also had an abortion many years ago. It was the worst decision of my life and my greatest regret. Abortion hurts women. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Period. I was amazed that a gathering of a quarter of million Americans was not deemed “newsworthy” by the major networks. I do believe if a gay rights group was demonstrating, it would have been all over the media.
If we as a country can “change” the culture and attitude toward smoking for example, we can “change” the culture of death into a culture of reverence for life by education and real support for frightened woman and also for the men, who have no say at all in whether or not the child they helped to create lives or dies. There is a massive conspiracy (thank you Hilary) to cover up the statistics of depression and grief by both women and men who are party to abortion. Why not a positive alternative. Compassion, charity, encouragement to bring the child to term and consider adoption? I would suggest viewing the movie “Juno”, a sweet little film that chronicles just such a decision. We have the money to fund death, why not funnel that money into funding life and respect for the weakest and most vulnerable of us all? The voiceless. This also goes for the Terry Schiavo’s of the world and the elderly. I consider what is happening in this country a hidden holocaust. I also recognize that to my everlasting regret I participated out of fean and angst and emotion. Good people everywhere need to recognize this.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Pontifications. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!   ...

posted 2:38:01pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Moving on, and many, many thanks... recent vacation and related absences also coincided with an offer from to cover religion for them, as editor Melinda Henneberger announces here in her roundup on the site's very successful first 100 days. That ...

posted 8:29:24pm Aug. 02, 2009 | read full post »

Calvin at 500, Calvinism 2.0
If you thought you knew John Calvin--who turned 500 last week--you probably don't know enough. For example, that he was French, born Jean Cauvin. And if he was in fact scandalized by dancing, he was also a lot more complex than that. I explored ...

posted 11:53:35am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

Apologia pro vita sua...Kinda
 In my defense, I've had computer outages and family reunions and a few days of single-parenthood, which is always a bracing reminder of what many parents go through all the time. And this weekend it's off for a week's vacation. Anyway, ...

posted 10:51:36am Jul. 16, 2009 | read full post »

When Benny met Barry: "I'll pray for you!"
The first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco: Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said "moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church's ...

posted 12:54:28pm Jul. 10, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.