Anatomy of a pro-life social media success

Abortion
by Julie Roys
Posted 7/17/15, 05:00 pm

The mainstream media largely ignored the video featuring Planned Parenthood executive Deborah Nucatola discussing how abortionists judiciously dismember babies and then send their parts to medical labs for a price. The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released the video on YouTube Tuesday morning. But none of the major broadcast networks, except Fox News, included the story in its Tuesday evening broadcast.  

The mainstream print media and wire services were a little less sluggish. The Washington Post published a story the same day, as did the Associated Press and Reuters. But their stories were full of euphemisms and inaccuracies. For example, the Post story claimed Nucatola was not caught “explicitly talking about selling organs.” She was, though that is Planned Parenthood’s defense. It says the costs Nucatola mentioned were just for shipping the body parts, not for their sale, which is illegal. But Nucatola said, “[Planned Parenthood affiliates] want to break even. And, if they can do a little better than break even, they’re happy to do that.”  

The public outcry began with CMP's Facebook post, which linked to the undercover video and included a graphic quote by Nucatola: “been very good at getting hearts, lung, liver.” Soon after, Lifenews.com tweeted and posted the story to its Facebook page, which has 559,000 fans, including actress Patricia Heaton and actor Adam Baldwin, who both retweeted the post. Lifenews also sent emails to the nearly quarter of a million people on its email list. 

Soon, pro-life Americans were Tweeting and sharing Facebook posts on the topic by the hundreds of thousands. On Tuesday, the hashtag #PlannedParenthood trended in the national top three on Twitter. By Wednesday, it had accumulated about 200,000 tweets, according to the online analytics site Topsy.

Nucatola apparently felt the outrage. Ninety minutes after CMP released the video, she closed her Twitter account. StemExpress, one of the buyers of fetal material from Planned Parenthood, on Wednesday also removed its website from the internet. 

Reeling from the overwhelming backlash, Planned Parenthood tried to stage a Twitter event on Wednesday to bolster support. Participants were encouraged to tweet positive stories about Planned Parenthood using the hashtag #PPShoutYourStory. But, pro-life activists hijacked it, sharing instead how Planned Parenthood preys on women, especially minorities. One African-American woman tweeted, “#PPShoutYourStory The story of my community is that we are disproportionally targeted by ur death mills. Margaret Sanger would be proud.”

Julie Roys

Julie is an author, speaker, journalist, and veteran radio host based in Chicago.

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