In the latest attack on pregnancy resource centers (PRCs), abortion advocates are singling the centers out for condemnation because of their use of targeted advertising to reach abortion-minded women.
That’s right, the same type of targeted advertising that knows when you are on vacation in a different state and communicates details about an amusement park or restaurant in the area you may want to visit.
This type of advertising—based on location—is called geofencing. Advertisers can select a specific region of interest, and individuals who enter that geofence are identified for receiving information in the form of advertisements on their mobile devices.
Advertising to people according to their geographic location is a widespread business practice.
As Business News Daily explains, “Businesses can set up geofences around a competitor and be alerted when a customer enters that area. You can send a push notification with a coupon or an advertisement for your service in their phone’s web browser to try and influence the consumer to choose you over the competition.”
So, if this practice is common, why are PRCs being condemned by abortion activists and their supporters?
The short answer is that abortion sellers don’t want anyone telling women not to buy their abortions.
Officially, the abortion lobby claims that marketing to women who visit an abortion clinic violates a woman’s medical privacy. But anyone who does not want to be targeted by ads based on their geographic location can turn off location services on their phones or use an ad blocker.
Federally, there is no law that prohibits geofencing.
Some states have laws that protect consumer privacy.
And where rules don’t exist, abortion activists are hard at work to enact legislation prohibiting PRCs from geotargeting abortion clinics.
Practically speaking, abortion activists have also made a robust effort to pressure businesses to prohibit this kind of marketing through private company policies.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have all publicly come out against using targeted marketing to communicate to abortion-minded women and have developed policies to that effect. Additionally, many ad companies that design geofence marketing plans are adopting policies that prohibit targeting “sensitive” locations.
The net result is that these efforts have made it more difficult for PRCs to communicate important messages to women in unexpected pregnancies. Messages like 1) there are alternatives to abortion, 2) they aren’t alone and 3) there is always hope no matter the circumstance.
Not every woman who walks into an abortion clinic goes through with an abortion. Women who are on the fence and aren’t sure what to do about an unexpected pregnancy should be given the respect they are due to know all of their options and make an informed decision.
PRCs can provide counsel regarding all options available to women in a way that Planned Parenthood will not. Targeted advertising allows PRCs to help women who might not be sure about the next step in their pregnancy.
More than half of all the abortions performed today are chemical abortions. Many of those women take their first pill inside an abortion clinic and are then sent home to complete their chemical abortion on their own.
Some women who begin a chemical abortion will have a change of heart and want to stop the abortion process. Timely targeted advertising lets those women know they can still try to save their baby. Starting the abortion pill reversal process as quickly as possible is critical to a woman’s chance of keeping her baby alive.
In the end, targeted advertising really can be a matter of life and death. Businesses and politicians would do well to err on the side of life instead of perpetuating a culture of death.
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