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Everyone knows that social media is a powerful way to grow the pro-life message. But the internet, and especially Facebook, is a crowded and noisy place, and catching the public’s attention is not as easy as it seems.

That’s why the runaway success of this powerful pro-life mage is so remarkable. It has been liked, shared and commented on a phenomenal MILLION times on Facebook. I’ve never seen a pro-life post come anywhere close to that for organic growth and reach. It’s a tremendous achievement.

It wasn’t produced by an expensive and slick marketing company, though this kind of global engagement on social media is what corporations are willing to spend a small fortune on.

Instead it was put together, like so much of what is currently making a huge impact on Facebook and YouTube, by the creative team in Youth Defence who now have a global reach for their innovative and progressive pro-life messaging which is changing how people think about abortion.

With more than 20 years experience in pro-life messaging, its not surprising that Youth Defence are using social media so effectively and have huge engagement – not just people liking their page, but liking and sharing messages.

But the YD team point out that one of the advantages of Facebook is that it can be used to test pro-life messages, and to see what really works in capturing hearts and minds. That can throw up some surprising results.

When Youth Defence first shared the image and it started to take off right across the world, they showed it to some people who are pretty experienced in media and marketing. Some of them loved it: they pointed to the arresting image, the simple message, the eye-catching nature of a photo of a child taken just after birth.

One commented that the photo reflected a dramatic style of painting called tenebrism, which used a technique called chiaroscuro where there are striking contrasts of light and dark. Think of Carrivagio’s painting, the Taking of Christ, he said, and look at that photo. It has the same use of light and shade, and the same arresting effect.

Then there was the succinct phrasing: Every child Deserves a Birthday. It says everything in five words, and it struck a chord for good reason, they argued.

Others had an entirely different view. They thought it would be better to use a smiling baby, to leave out the words ‘Stop Abortion’ and one thought the photo was too dramatic, and looked like a baby that had been aborted.

Clearly, a million engagements on Facebook means the first group were correct.

What can we learn from this? That we need to be open to challenge, that what worked in street outreaches will often also work on social media, and that we can become more knowledgeable about what does work from the testing carried out – for very little cost – on Facebook and elsewhere.

The short answer is, of course, that there is no one approach that reaches everyone. That’s why we need to be multi-faceted and reach many people on many different levels, and that requires creativity and new thinking and keeping up with new technologies.

Other Youth Defence posts which have been liked and shared by tens of thousands, but have also been adopted by pro-life groups worldwide, include these two which are very different in style and approach to the post above.

Social media has opened up a whole new means of changing hearts and minds about abortion. It offers huge potential to end the horror of abortion. We need to use it boldly, use it wisely, and use it well.

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