Learning the ropes as a pro-life intern and making an impact on behalf of life

By Mary Kate Griffin 

Editor’s note. Mary Kate is an intern at South Carolina Citizens for Life, NRLC’s state affiliate. Internships are crucial to rearing up the next generation of pro-life leaders.

Today marks my ninth day interning with South Carolina Citizens for Life. I am soaking up all the information I can about managing social media accounts, best practices for writing press releases, and for engaging with constituents and political candidates. 

As an aspiring public relations professional, all these skills will be applicable regardless of where I end up. But there is something particularly rewarding about conducting public relations on behalf of a pro-life nonprofit that educates, advocates, and lobbies for unborn children and the medically vulnerable.

Already I have the opportunity to publish press releases for our email tree and launch a marketing campaign for the Choose Life S.C. license plates. The campaign launched May 25, 2020, and I am excited to see its effect over the next few months. 

We have had the “Choose Life S.C.” license plate tag option since 2004. But with the advent of social media and its enormous reach, SCCL is gearing up to promote purchases by reaching a cyber audience.

The campaign’s goal is to raise $100,000 in 100 days from the sale of the Choose Life S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles license plates. Proceeds will help fund the South Carolina Association of Pregnancy Care Centers in its mission to support women facing unplanned pregnancies.

This campaign was intentionally designed to combat the false (and malicious) narrative that the pro-life movement is merely “pro-birth” and doesn’t care about babies after they are born. Yes, we are indeed pro-birth in addition to the myriad of other joy-filled events that a human life celebrates. 

Life is sacred from conception to natural death and supporting pregnancy care centers by way of pro-life car tags is one of the many ways to share the positive pro-life message.

Encouraged  and assisted by Holly Gatling, executive director of SCCL, we are encouraging advocates to purchase Choose Life S.C. license plates and share via social media how they demonstrate care for themselves and others while driving. 

There is a reason we are doing this right now beginning in late May.

The 100 days of the campaign coincides with what is known as the “100 deadliest days.” According to AAA Carolinas, there is a 14% increase in crash fatalities involving teens between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The Choose Life S.C. car tag campaign promotes the right to life message and encourages safe and courteous summer driving. 

Pro-life advocates who purchase a plate can share their pro-life story and automobile safety habits on social media using the hashtag #ChooseLifeSC. Those who already own a Choose Life S.C. license plate are also encouraged to share their stories using the hashtag. The social media component of the campaign enables and empowers advocates to share pro-life testimonies and connect with other members of the pro-life community.

The Choose Life S.C. car tag has a long history. In 2000, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a Choose Life tag. It was signed into law by then Governor Jim Hodges but immediately challenged in federal court by the mega abortion business Planned Parenthood. Ultimately, the U.S 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Choose Life tag in South Carolina on the grounds that the “Choose Life” message was unconstitutional because the general assembly did not provide a “Choose Death” message.  

In the next South Carolina General Assembly, lawmakers responded by passing legislation giving the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles the authority to assign specialty tags for qualifying nonprofit organizations. That is how South Carolina Citizens for Life was able to acquire the tag. 

My hope for this campaign is that the South Carolina Association of Pregnancy Care Centers receives the funds it needs to offer the best care available to women in troubling pregnancies and that the public agrees it is better to “Choose Life.”