U.S. Bishops Start a Subtle Ad Campaign Opposing Abortion

«Have We Gone Too Far?» Is the Message

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WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 29, 2001 (Zenit.org) The U.S. bishops´ conference will test-market an anti-abortion advertising campaign so subtle that the public may not realize who is behind it.

The campaign, unveiled Tuesday, will challenge abortion supporters in the Philadelphia and southern New Jersey area to answer the question: «Have we gone too far?»

The ads have no religious content and do not mention the bishops´ conference. If successful, the ads could be used nationwide as the pro-life movement gains ground in the court of public opinion, said a spokeswoman for the bishops´ conference.

«What´s new about this is we are presenting a couple of facts in a non-emotional and intelligent way,» Cathleen Cleaver, secretariat for pro-life activities, told Newhouse News Service. «We´re not trying to provoke an emotional response but an intellectual response.»

One print ad shows a young woman with a nine-month calendar superimposed over her torso. The text says: «Nine months. The amount of time the Supreme Court says it´s legal to have an abortion. Abortion. Have we gone too far?»

A radio ad has piano music playing in the background, with a woman saying: «In America you can choose to have an abortion at any time, for any reason. Because of that, one out of every four pregnancies now ends in abortion.»

The bishops´ media blitz begins Sept. 4. Initially, plans were for 34 billboards at bus shelters, 143 ads on commuter rail cars and continuous radio spots on five stations. But on Monday, Cleaver learned that Philadelphia has joined at least one Philly suburb in notifying the bishops that they will not permit the bus-shelter ads.

Asked why the bishops´ conference was not named in the ads, Cleaver said the aim was simplicity and that additional content would clutter them. She suggested that if the conference wanted secrecy, it would not have issued a news release announcing the campaign.

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