The following notes/tips given by a PR consultant to a pro-‘choice’/abortion group was passed on to us by an anonymous source. We don’t have any further details of who, when or where but I’m sure many of you can relate to most of the following:
1. Campaign must focus on under 45 demographic.
2. Pro-life = Catholic = institutional abuse, corruption, power.
3. Patriarchal. When having debates with PL groups try to push this word. Example I respect your patriarchal view of women’s rights.
4. Cut the debate with PL men. Example I respect your view, however it’s difficult to debate women’s rights with a men who will never face this choice.
5. Be careful using Twitter, Facebook. Keep the pressure on but don’t be abusive. Form groups, three responses for every PL tweet or post. Don’t attack people unless you have good reason. One liners are ok, wear them down. Avoid being blocked.
6. Organise competition to get students over 18 registered to vote. They can be lazy but very effective.
7. Put pressure on local representatives to get the vote on a Friday or Saturday before students leave university.
8. Revive the home to vote campaign.
9. When debating with clergy be respectful. Praise them for their good work but firmly disagree with an institution which is patriarchal misogynistic and out of touch with women. Example the day when the Catholic Church talks about morals in Ireland is gone. Women have learned to make their own choices. Avoid personal attacks, attack the institution.
10. Remain calm. Stay on point. When in doubt deflect.
11. Crying at the right moment can be an advantage for a woman. But can’t be used too often.
12. Don’t allow PL to talk too much, get your word in. Talk over them if their logic is capturing the attention of the audience.
13. When they mention baby, remind them that religious emotional rhetoric is not helpful in the debate.
14. Sarvita , Sarvita , Sarvita
15. If appearing on TV dress as if you are going to an interview.
16. Be organised as a group. If there is a pro-choice spokes person on TV or radio ensure you have whatsapp groups setup to notify members so they can support with texts and tweets to the show.
17. Get men involved to promote choice, Colm O’G is a good example and presents well on TV.
18. The last presidential campaign was won with a tweet. We don’t encourage using fake accounts, however they can be effective to muddy the waters. We think PL groups use the same.
19. Press PL speakers to voice their views on rape & Incest victims being refused the choice in Ireland. Make sure you keep their views linked to the Catholic Church.
20. Make PL views a religious dogma. When debating you can say you respect your views which many Catholics share in Ireland. However those who don’t share those religious views want a choice.
21. Try and get pro-choice supporters into the audience. Encourage them to clap and support you.
22. If debating with a PL person who is not Irish, deflect the focus by saying as an Irish woman, or do you have a vote in this? We have seen PL bring over some Americans to give speeches.
23. There is a march on the 10th of March. Get out on the pavements, form a line along the march. Maybe get t-shirts of sarvita for example. Make sure you get media time. Be very visible, however do not engage or be abusive. Get the media spotlight.
24. Get as many doctors and medical professionals involved as possible. If they are marching ensure they are dressed in hospital attire.
25. Remember to push the word choice. Nobody is being forced to have an abortion we just want the choice.
26. Bring a pea to the debate. Show the audience the size of what is being aborted. Ask them should something the size of a pea have rights over a woman.
27. Remind people that most abortions happen in the first 8 weeks. Use the pea example.
28. Good example is to mention that most abortions are similar to miscarriage. Be careful not to offend. Say abortion is a very very difficult situation for many women, they don’t take the choice lightly. Practice carefully this role play. Get the script right.
29. If PL talks about statistics of women who have depression etc.. use the stats we have printed. Be on point and quote studies attached.
30. If you see PL propaganda in hospitals, schools or universities make sure to lodge a complaint. UCD impeachment was excellent work.
31. Keep strategy secret. Delegate to people but keep them focused on specific tasks.
32. Do not dress in black, march as normal professional people. Organise events after protests. Get students and unemployed involved.
33. Make sure your march is always bigger than PL. Make sure everyone marching has a placard. Maybe add ballons for choice to the march.
34. Link PL to Trump, Breitbart, alt-right. Say “your views are shared with many on the extreme right”.
35. Use the cheat sheet attached for debates. Learn the stats. Quote from the studies and be confident.
36. Watch the pro-life debates on the DVD. Form groups to discuss and be on point.