The majority of Montana citizens believed in reasonable restrictions being placed on abortion. However, state political leadership didn’t:
“The (Montana) governor, after receiving legislation that had been passed through both the House and the Senate requiring that parents of girls under age 16 seeking an abortion be notified by the abortionist, flamboyantly took his branding iron ‘veto’ and setthat document on fire on the Capitol steps — while using profanity in describing it as ‘crazy.’ “
– Alan Whitt, Montana Family Foundation
That’s when Montana lawmakers — acting on behalf of their constituents — put the issue on the 2012 ballot to allow voters to decide for themselves.
The Montana Family Foundation (MFF) moved quickly to mobilize support for Legislative Referendum 120, the Parental Notification Bill, which would protect school age girls under 16 from being taken for an abortion without her parents being notified.
MFF President Jeff Laszloffy contacted Design4 for assistance in creating a multi-media campaign to promote passage of LR 120.
Following research to gauge the receptivity of Montana voters to the bill’s purpose, the Design4 team crafted a strategic messaging plan that centered on three goals:
- Reinforce a “common sense” message targeted to pro-life and soft pro-choice voters
- Reinforce the natural “protective sense” of parents and direct that message to those classified both as pro-life and pro-choice
- Counter the false “absent/abusive parent” argument against the legislation
Design4 developed messaging that was delivered in both paid and earned media stressing:
- Reality – the real nature of parental compassion in the face of teenage pregnancy
- Responsibility – valid parental concern over the demonstrated medical risks of abortion
- Reasonableness – that any law allow for judicial bypass in the event of a dysfunctional home situation of a pregnant teen
Design4 wrote and produced web, broadcast TV and radio messages tagged with a question most responsible parents would ultimately find to be reasonable: “Wouldn’t You Want To Know?”
Because the campaign needed to reach as broad an audience as possible of both pro-life and pro-choice voters, all messaging was centered in the reality of parenting a child in the middle of a life-changing situation.
The positive, reality-centered campaign resulted in a 70% “YES” vote to ensure LR 120′s passage and garnered solid support from both pro-life and pro-choice voters.