NARAL’s “uphill climb of trying to rally youth activism for abortion”

By Dave Andrusko

Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America

Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America

Over at “The contrast between President Obama’s and Senator Rubio’s remarks last night,” I quoted Sen. Marco Rubio who near the end of the Republican response to the President’s State of the Union address remarked,

“In the short time I’ve been here in Washington, nothing has frustrated me more than false choices like the ones the President laid out tonight.”

Part of portraying false alternatives is to simply rewrite history to justify what you want to do. So, for example, yesterday Roll Call carried an interesting piece about NARAL’s facelift, an attempt to “remake its image in response to concern that it may be overtaken by a growing cadre of young anti-abortion activists,” according to Janie Lorber. “Its message: This is not your mother’s NARAL.”

The irony is hard to miss, as we’ve pointed out many times. NARAL is dusting off its “who decides?/it’s all so complicated” slogan from days gone by. So we could agree. This is not your mother’s NARAL. It’s your grandmother’s NARAL.

So, NARAL has been joined at the hip with the Democratic Party forever and a day but always at least has occasionally pretended otherwise. But how do you maintain that posture when you’ve just installed Ilyse Hogue as president, a genuine radical and “a former senior staffer at Media Matters for America and MoveOn.org” and other Democratic front groups? What’s your comeback when Lorber (accurately) observes that Hogue’s selection means “NARAL Pro-Choice America is more outwardly embracing its alliance with Democrats”?

You pretend that it’s all the fault of “an increasingly hostile Republican Party” whose membership (the story manages to convenient omit) you’ve torched.

But the main point of Lorber’s story is found in the first sentence:

“One of the nation’s most prominent abortion rights groups is working to remake its image in response to concern that it may be overtaken by a growing cadre of young anti-abortion activists.”

She writes, “NARAL leaders have not been shy about acknowledging an ‘intensity’ gap, making it a major theme of last week’s event [the annual NARAL dinner in Washington, D.C., commemorating the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision].” NRL News Today carried a story by Lauren Enriquez about this very topic last week.

You could no better summary of what’s going on over at NARAL than the concluding paragraphs of Enriquez’s story (she works for Texas Right to Life, NRLC’s state affiliate). Having explained that Hogue has no background in “specifically pro-abortion activism,” Enriquez wrote

“So why was Ilyse Hogue chosen to lead one of the nation’s largest pro-abortion organizations, and what will she bring to the table for abortion advocates? The answer may be marketing. What Ilyse lacks in pro-abortion activism, she makes up for in marketing expertise. And let’s be honest: we know that Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and their ilk are on thin ice without superior marketing skills. How do you make the gruesome, grotesque practice of abortion appear attractive? How do you dupe women into believing that a practice that can be dangerous to them and always deadly to their children is ‘health care’? Planned Parenthood’s answer: use bright colors and avoid verbalizing the truth at all costs. NARAL, too, recognizes the importance of marketing in its biz.

“Hiring Hogue seems to be an attempt to rekindle the waning flame of Generation Y bemoaned by Keenan last year. From her work as co-founder of SmartMeme, which does exactly what the name implies – utilizes memes as a campaigning and marketing tool – to the uncensored language she uses when speaking in the public forum, Hogue knows how to arrest attention. Marketing is powerful, but truth is more powerful – and millions and millions of millennials agree that life is too precious to oppose (with millennials dominating the 500K  March for Life turnout last week, where is the pro-abortion counterpart?). It will be interesting to see what Ilyse Hogue brings to the debate as she faces the uphill climb of trying to rally youth activism for abortion”