Pro-choice forces are giving up Utah as a lost cause - at least temporarily - as they begin a national advertising blitz, asking people to fight to preserve abortion rights.
The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) announced on Thursday plans for a national broadcast advertising campaign and heavy grassroots organizing work in 34 states.It is designed to raise awareness of the risk that abortion rights face as the U.S. Supreme Court now considers a Missouri case that could overturn or narrow the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, which legalized abortion,
NARAL also wants to be organized to quickly lobby against anti-abortion bills in legislatures if the court allows states to again outlaw abortions or ban public funding for them.
But NARAL's blitz will not come to Utah - which has only one abortion clinic, and where churches have taken strong anti-abortion stands. NARAL admits the state is a lost cause to them at present.
NARAL strategist Harrison Hickman explained, "The first stage (in the national campaign) is to motivate people as quickly as possible and as forcefully as possible. And obviously, if you are going to do that, you are going to fish in a pond where there are a lot of fish."
He added, "You have to pick places where you think you can have a dramatic impact quickly. It also has to be cost-effective in the sense that NARAL does not have an unlimited budget."
Even though Utah is not a prime fishing spot for quick support of abortion, Hickman said NARAL will not ignore it over the long run. "That's going to be a longer stage process where you build an organization, build a NARAL affiliate and work on a much longer-term goal."
While the group did not say exactly what form its new ads will take, it said they will try to depict "the dark days before Roe."
NARAL Executive Director Kate Michelman said with the new campaign, "We will drown out the din made by a small minority of extremists who have sought to control the debate.
Michelman said that the 1.5 million abortions in the United States every year is too many, but that right should still exist while other methods are explored to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.