Thursday, August 31, 2017

A look back at 50 years: 1981

This is the third entry in a monthly series we’ll be running throughout 2017 looking back at historically significant profile moments in our state’s history.

Our early leaders had a vision of major media advertising to help bring the prolife message into every home in Michigan. These wouldn’t just be ads for the sake of advertising, but truly memorable and impactful messages. In 1981 our first ads debuted on statewide television. Since then we’ve had many memorable ads.

The favorite of many people is our "Seed" ad. Produced in 1994, the ad contrasts the fullness of life with the emptiness of abortion. We filmed an updated version of "Seed" in 2015.

The most unique ads we’ve produced were a series in the 1990s featuring Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa didn’t just do any old TV ad on request, but she did several for us on the issue of partial-birth abortion that aired in 1997. She did that just a few years after her famous 1994 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast where she delivered a bold defense of the unborn child as a valuable member of our human family.

We recently produced our first 30-minute documentary, "Life Uninvited." The documentary grew out of our Compassion Project ads, which featured four women sharing their personal perspective and experiences with the issue of rape and abortion. Rape and abortion is a difficult issue to discuss, but these four women cut through the political noise to shine a light on their own experiences and the value of every child, no matter their circumstances.

Our ads have been critical in educating voters about important issues during election seasons. Two notable examples shine. The first are the series of ads produced in 1997 to oppose the effort to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide in our state. In July of 1998 that legalization effort was beating us in the polls, 46 percent to 42 percent. After weeks of bringing our message to the people of Michigan, the final vote was 71 percent against the suicide measure, and only 29 percent for. Our message decisively moved hundreds of thousands of Michigan voters.

The 2016 election also ended in a surprise result. We aired two TV ads, "Birthdays" and "Start with Life," addressing the issue of abortion and the importance of voting your values no prolife issues. Also accompanying the TV ads was an impactful radio ad, War on the Unborn, taken from the popular YouTube video by Peter Heck. Michigan had not voted for a prolife presidential candidate in a generation, but the state did in 2016, in dramatic fashion.

When presented clearly and compellingly, the prolife message that every human life has value can touch hearts and change minds. Ads that can do that don’t spring out of nothing. Creating them is a team effort, from identifying the need, to crafting a truly compelling message, to sometimes finding the right messenger for the message, to filming, to placing the ads strategically for maximum impact, and to raising the money to accomplish all of these necessary steps.

We have also made the effort over the years to allow our colleagues in other states to use our ads. We believe we’ve inspired many others to produce their own ads to bring the prolife message to their corner of the country.

Visit our YouTube channel to see our most recent ads, as well as some of our classics.

Visit our blog in September for our next notable moment in Michigan history in 1988.

Honoring 50 years of prolife advocacy in Michigan
1972: The Voice of the Unborn
1979: Michigan Citizens for Life