By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DES MOINES — The Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders has launched a new statewide $50,000 billboard campaign that exposes the risk of abortion. The campaign is titled #SayLifeIowa. The pro-life billboards are in response to Planned Parenthood’s #SayAbortion billboard campaign that inaccurately equates human abortion with “healthcare.”
Maggie DeWitt, executive director of Iowans for Life, said the campaign features six women who were either killed or wounded by abortion or who rejected abortion. Their stories, along with a list of where the billboards are located, are available at www.iowansforlife.org/say-life-iowa.
Four billboards are on display in Des Moines that will run throughout the year. Additional billboards are going up in Council Bluffs, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Iowa City, Ames and Cedar Rapids, DeWitt said. As more money is raised, other billboards will go up, including in the Quad-City area. “We have a rotation around the state. We will keep our website up to date so that people can learn where billboards will go up.”
The Iowa Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders consists of The Family Leader, Iowans for LIFE, Iowa Right to Life, Lutheran Family Services, Restored By Grace Ministries; The Thomas More Society, Personhood Iowa and Operation Outcry.
DeWitt said she met with the Iowans for Life board of directors to discuss a response to the Planned Parenthood billboards. “We met with Lamar Billboard Company to discuss specifics in terms of cost, location and message. From there, IFL enlisted the help of the Coalition of Pro-Life Leaders to garner support. The coalition was formed two years ago in an effort to increase the unity of the pro-life movement in the state of Iowa,” she said.
“We meet weekly to discuss legislation and also ways we can collaborate together such as the prayer for life event at the state capitol and now the billboard campaign.” In addition to the coalition, more than 30 different supporting groups are part of the network that include county right to life groups, maternity homes and pregnancy resource centers.
“The Planned Parenthood billboard campaign has struck a chord with Iowans. The messages of ‘I had an abortion and I am not apologizing,’ and ‘I had an abortion and it’s just healthcare,’ were upsetting and dishonest. I think that Planned Parenthood’s attempt to normalize abortion has backfired,” DeWitt said. “Abortion isn’t normal and it certainly isn’t healthcare. We wanted to reach Iowans with the truth; abortion hurts women. In addition to the women sharing their stories on our website, we also have links for resources on pregnancy resource centers for anyone who finds themselves in an unplanned pregnancy as well as post-abortive healing ministries for women who have had an abortion and need healing. You see, the pro-life movement is a pro-women movement. We care about women and don’t want them hurt by the lie of abortion.”
For more information contact Iowans for LIFE at (515) 255.4113 or email mdewitte@ iowansforlife.org.