By Laura Echevarria, Director of Communications and Press Secretary
It can be frustrating. You’re reading the newspaper over your morning coffee and just as you take a sip, you splutter and reach for your napkin—an article in the paper quotes a pro-abortion supporter who says that the pro-life movement doesn’t care about women.
There is no counter-quote from a pro-life organization. The paper doesn’t note the pregnancy care centers that exist or that there are millions of volunteers who give their time and energy to help women in need. The paper doesn’t mention legislation your state legislators introduced at the urging of your state group or that this legislation will ensure that women are given scientifically accurate information about their unborn baby.
What can you do?
You can write a letter to the editor.
A letter to the editor gives anyone the ability to draw attention to the good or the bad in an article. But for the letter to be effective there are several rules that should be observed.
First, check with your local paper but most letters to the editor are limited to around 250 words. Anything longer and an editor may edit the letter for length.
Second, when opening your letter, reference the original article. Something along the lines of “In ‘Pro-Choice Groups Push for Abortion’ (Sunday, January 8, 2023), the reporter failed to note….”
Third, keep your focus on one major point or argument you are trying to make. Don’t try to address three or four things that may be wrong in the article, remember you only have about 250 words. Focus on the issue that you see as the worst thing about the article and address that one topic.
Fourth, if you can, make it local. Using the above example of pregnancy centers helping women, ask your local pregnancy center how many women it serves each year. Most centers can look up this information easily. In your letter, point to the work of the local center, how many clients it helps each year and how it does all this for free—saving taxpayers and the community thousands of dollars each year.
In addition, you can note that early prenatal care leads to better outcomes for both mother and child. Pregnancy centers see clients who are most often very early in their pregnancies and the centers can connect these moms with doctors and resources in the community.
Fifth, if you are related to a local pro-life group, use your title in closing the letter so the paper realizes that you are a voice for the local group. Be sure to put your full name and contact information in closing the letter—including your day and evening phone numbers. The paper will not publish this information but will want it so they can contact you if they have questions.
Sixth, make your letter timely. Try to get it to the paper within 48 hours after the original article was written when it’s still fresh and people are still paying attention. It may take the paper another 2 to 4 days—and even up to a week—to publish your letter.
Lastly, the paper is more likely to publish your letter if you follow their guidelines precisely.
This is something any pro-life advocate anywhere in the country can do and it is a tremendous help to National Right to Life and our state affiliates. We can’t be everywhere, and we can’t read every newspaper. With your help, we can push back against the misinformation campaigns created by the abortion industry and, by doing so, educate fellow Americans about the reality of abortion.