ERIN REILLY: The marketing of abortion

“Abortion is now a monster so unimaginably gargantuan that even to think of stuffing it back into its cage…is ludicrous beyond words. Yet that is our charge – a herculean endeavor…I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age.”

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL

How unrestricted abortion was sold to America

For centuries, abortion in America was viewed as an unspeakable crime. How, then, after less than a decade of activism, did unrestricted abortion become enshrined as a constitutional right in the largest Christian nation on earth?

The answer is very simple: marketing. The campaign to legalise murder is the most successful marketing story of the twentieth century.

It was a campaign orchestrated chiefly by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), founded in 1969. NARAL understood that politics follow culture. Their first goal was to convince the American public that abortion should be legalised, and only then to lobby for changing country’s abortion laws.

Outlined below are the tactics employed by NARAL and described in the words of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the organisation’s co-founders. All quotes in this post are from Dr. Nathanson.

1. Frame the debate

“Freedom of choice!”

“Women must have control over their own bodies!”

From the beginning, the abortionists seized the “high ground” of language by framing the abortion debate in their own terms: “choice” – the implication being that supporters of abortion were enlightened and compassionate freedom-fighters, and those against abortion were backward misogynists.

By making abortion about “choice” rather than “life,” the inconvenient issue of the unborn baby’s life was neatly swept aside. That life, the very reason for the existence of the pro-abortion campaign, was never acknowledged.

“I remember laughing when we made those slogans up. We were looking for some sexy, catchy slogans to capture public opinion.”


2. Isolate and ridicule opponents

“Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60% of Americans were in favour of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority.”

“We systematically vilified the Catholic Church and its “socially backward ideas” and picked on the Catholic hierarchy as the villain in opposing abortion. This theme was played endlessly. We fed the media such lies as ‘we all know that opposition to abortion comes from the hierarchy and not from most Catholics’ and ‘Polls prove time and again that most Catholics want abortion law reform.’ And the media drum-fired all this into the American people, persuading them that anyone opposing permissive abortion must be under the influence of the Catholic hierarchy and that Catholics in favour of abortion are enlightened and forward-looking.

An inference of this tactic was that there were no non-Catholic groups opposing abortion. The fact that other Christian as well as non-Christian religions were (and still are) monolithically opposed to abortion was constantly suppressed, along with pro-life atheists’ opinions.”


3. Fabricate “facts”

“We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000, but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1 million…Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.

NARAL’s marketing campaign, based on these simple tactics, was astonishingly successful. In 1973, only four years after NARAL was founded, the United States Supreme Court ruled that abortion was a constitutional right.

Forty years later, almost 55 million American babies have been aborted.
Americans have twice elected as president a man who has voted against requiring doctors to provide medical care to babies who survive abortions, who believes abortion is a chance for women to “fulfil their dreams,” and who is currently trying to force an order of Catholic nuns to pay for their employees’ abortions.
A state senator in Texas who did her best to prevent a bill banning late term abortions was endorsed as an “incredible woman” by the Girl Scouts of America.
58% of Americans today oppose abortion in all or most cases, but thanks to the almost total media blackout on the topic, many of them likely believe that they are in the minority, just as NARAL intended.

Pro-life advocates who seek to peacefully protest in America are routinely silenced.
55 million lives – one sixth of America’s population – legally snuffed out in the largest Christian nation on earth. This is what a tiny group of people, sitting in a room and laughing about the best way to market murder, was able to accomplish.

Dr. Nathanson later came to realise the horrific truth of what abortion is, but as the opening quote states, despite his best efforts, he was unable to stuff the monster back into its cage. The propaganda he helped to create had taken too powerful a hold, and had already created an entire new industry whose existence depended on the continuation and expansion of legalised abortion.

The organisation most invested in the abortion industry is, of course, Planned Parenthood; the same Planned Parenthood that calls Ireland the “jewel in the crown” of the pro-life movement and has millions of dollars at its disposal to market abortion to the Irish people.

Catchy slogans, ridicule, hysteria, and lies. These are what made up the Pied Piper’s song that either silenced or seduced millions of ordinary, decent Americans and led their country over a moral cliff into a world where the murder of babies is touted as “freedom,” “choice,” and every woman’s right. Understanding how America fell, and the near-impossible climb back up that it faces, let Ireland not follow America over the cliff


Erin Reilly

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