Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
January 22, 2001
TV ads lead viewers to choose life
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — In between the love scenes of General Hospital and the sex talk in Ally McBeal, a commercial with a laughing baby crawling on the floor flashes onto the TV screen accompanied by an upbeat tune that exudes joy.
No words are spoken, but by the end of the commercial the words Choose Life appear on the screen. The pro-life ad is one of two that will be featured in between popular TV shows for the next three weeks.
The 30-second ads are paid for by the Alberta Life Issues Educational Society. The year-old organization aims to educate rather than advocate pro-life issues.
"We want to educate, but not get political," said Robert Mollot, president of the society. In the past year, the society has raised more than $80,000, which is about what it's paying to have the ads air on three stations, Edmonton's Global and CTV and KREM in Spokane. The Spokane channel reaches many of the homes in southern Alberta.
The society has carefully chosen appropriate time slots for the ads to run. Though its budget is limited, some wheeling and dealing made it possible for the ads to run in several prime time slots, including during episodes of the Emmy winning soap Days of Our Lives, The Price is Right, Saturday Night Live and one of the number of shows on Thursday night, Friends. The ads run Jan. 15 to Feb. 4.
"There is this bombardment of messages on television that self gratification is the ideal relationship," Mollot said. "(Pro-life) ads say that there are other real relationships we need to have, . . . our lives are better when we're together, in a healthy relationship.
"The whole thing about relationship is that some people in our society think the (unborn) child doesn't exist . . . there is no relationship with (the fetus)."
The ads were purchased from a Right to Life of Michigan for a nominal fee. The ads and similar ones have been shown in the U.S. and British Columbia.
In Michigan, these ads have been airing regularly since 1994, although pro-life ads have been in place since 1981. Although representatives of Right to Life of Michigan cannot confirm how the ads have affected the abortion rate, they see the ads as a significant factor in the declining abortion rate.
The number of abortions in Michigan has fallen from 33,061 in 1994 to 26,207 in 1999.
"My hope is that it will open up eyes and have people who are soft on the issue better understand it," Mollot said.
Along with pro-life issues, the society also provides information on counselling and referral services for pregnant woman and those experiencing post-abortion trauma.
The two ads airing in Alberta are titled Seed and Night.
Seed is an uplifting ad featuring a split screen. On both screens, a hand digs a small hole in the ground and plants a seed. One seed is dug out leaving a lump of soil, but the seed that remains in the ground begins to flourish.
As the plant grows, visions of a baby flash on the screen. The baby grows from infant to toddler and ends with a young boy riding his bicycle and pressing his nose up against a glass window.
All these images flash on one half of the TV screen while the other half is lifeless with nothing but the clump of soil. Choose Life is all that is written at the end of the ad.
"It says a lot," Mollot said.
The second ad, Night, is dark and sombre. A woman awakes in the middle of the night troubled and reflecting on the child she had aborted.
Mollot compares abortion to where the issue of family violence was 20 years ago - people knew about it, but few commented about it.
For more information on the ads or the Alberta Life Issues Educational Society, call 460-2883.
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