By Robin Neff
With the Ohio vote on abortion coming up on November 7, 2023, it is not too early, due to early voting, for pro-life Ohioans to start making personal and compelling arguments using every form of social media available to us.
In August, a different issue—called State Issue 1—was at stake. Voters were to determine whether a simple majority public vote could continue to determine changes to the Ohio constitution. A successful fight to require a 60% popular vote to change the constitution would have better protected Ohioans from the horrendous idea on the ballot now—that taking the life of a preborn baby is a “right” that should be enshrined in the state constitution. However, State Issue 1 was not passed, and so it remains that Ohioans need only 50% of the population to vote “yes” to pass a state amendment.
The pro-abortion movement disseminated propaganda saying that the requirement would deny women access to prenatal care, as if ending a child’s life is prenatal care. Many local news stations perpetuated the deceptions.
Early in-person and regular absentee voting begins on October 11, 2023. Grassroots and person-to-person communications on social media need to take place now. Experts on social media marketing recommend the recruitment of famous or celebrity spokespeople to help make social media campaigns go viral. Such ambassadors could be asked to help spread the word and/or create “Make Life Personal” campaigns.
There are probably numerous ways people could “Make Life Personal.” Many already do. One example who comes immediately to mind is Abby Johnson—the Planned Parenthood director who turned fierce pro-life advocate. Her personal testimony of witnessing a 13-week-old baby on live ultrasound trying to get away from the doctor’s abortion tools is powerful. So one idea for a “campaign” is the sharing of personal abortion stories/tragedies. Perhaps Abby Johnson would be willing to kick it off for the sake of Ohioans. Personal stories are often shared on isolated sites, but surely some people are comfortable sharing on social media if they realize they can have a greater impact.
Numerous studies have shown that people have a “negativity bias” when it comes to social media messaging. Therefore, any negative backlash could actually help spread the message. However, efforts to support fellow pro-lifers on social media should be made through posting positive comments and positive interaction as long as commenters do not pose a threat or violate the site’s terms of service. In spite of our human biases, negative posts can impact attitudes in general.
Below are two posts I made on Facebook and Instagram. I shared the second Newsfeed post on X, Gettr, Frank Speech, and Truth Social and updated my profiles on those sites. Spreading the word on as many social media sites as possible is essential for influencing the undecided. Of course, the idea of thanking Mom for “giving me life” or for “not aborting me” is not a new idea or concept. I have heard that very argument used to oppose abortion since the 1970s. I have even seen it on billboards. It is a positive message, and I hope the idea can go viral.
I reached out to two pro-life celebrities I follow on Instagram and of course shared my posts with my friends with a challenge to post their own “Thank You Mommy” message. I also reached out to the Ashtabula County Friends for Life. Its director, Crystal Latimer, was honored by the Ashtabula County Republican Party as 2023 Patriot of the Year “for her years of service to the Pro-Life Movement in Ashtabula County and Ohio.”
Any great ideas under the general “Make Life Personal” heading might help and certainly cannot hurt. When it comes to social media marketing, interpersonal connection and communication are key for making something go viral. If enough of us try, by reaching out to our own circles with “Make Life Personal” ideas and stories, I hope and pray that we can help make a difference in Ohio and other states where the abortion battle rages on.
Robin Neff is first and foremost a mom, grandma, and great-grandma, who is also a nontraditional college student at Regent University online. Robin holds a master of arts in law from Regent University and is currently working toward a master of arts in campaigning and political leadership.