AUBURN – The group behind the recent spurt of nostalgic, anti-abortion television commercials has moved its statewide headquarters here.
The Maine Right to Life Committee wanted to be close to a large membership base and better positioned for outreach, the executive director said Tuesday from her new office at Two Great Falls Plaza.
Headquarters had been in Augusta for the past decade. Rita Feeney said the Maine chapter of the National Right to Life Committee started shortly after the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 with an office in Lewiston.
So it’s a return to the group’s roots, and it’s a better spot to reach more people, she said. While Feeney said support – measured in donations – is growing, she declined to say how many members the group has.
Maine Right to Life holds an annual conference in the fall, lobbies at the State House and marks the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in January each year with its most high-profile event, the Hands Around the Capital Memorial.
Its advertising arm, the Maine Vitae Society, is just wrapping up a 10-week winter ad campaign on TV. The commercials, which feature a woman leaning on a rake and another woman holding her daughter’s hand while she goes into labor, stand out in their simple footage and â€˜80s soundtrack.
They’ve aired 4,000 times during this run. The group typically hits TV in fall and winter.
“They’re really not as old as they look,” Feeney said. “They’re meant to just make people think. They’re subtle.”
The ads flash a phone number and the Web site teenbreaks.com, which Feeney described as a forum for teens, in teens’ own words.
She’s noticed in Maine that people are becoming involved in the abortion issue at a younger age.
“More and more youth are becoming pro-life,” Feeney said. “They also are more anxious to get involved, they’re more likely to get involved.”
Expect the group to be very active this campaign season.
Feeney said surveys will go out soon to the nearly 400 candidates running for state and federal office, gauging support for abortion. Maine Right to Life will heavily circulate the responses – in favor, opposed or no reply – in time for primary season.
“People who have a position on the issue will respond, people who don’t have a position until they see a poll won’t respond,” she said.
Feeney said there are no events planned for Lewiston-Auburn right now, outside of an office open house sometime in May.