The Vitae Foundation knew that to be effective it must have a solid base of research about its audience.
Primarily focusing on women facing unplanned, unwanted pregnancies, Vitae pioneered a series of landmark studies working with The Right Brain People® that resulted in a complete paradigm shift within the pro-life arena.
Shortly after Vitae’s inception, Carl Landwehr and his key advisors realized the need for fresh dialogue among those involved in the abortion debate. Vitae had already identified mass communications as the vehicle for its message, but it was at this time that Carl was introduced to Dr. Charles Kenny, a consumer psychologist who had worked with a number of Fortune 500 companies.
Dr. Kenny founded The Right Brain People® and developed a methodology to uncover the emotional motivators that drive decision-making. This innovative approach to consumer message development was instrumental in the resurgence of Harley Davidson and Chevrolet’s Corvette. Carl felt this innovative approach was lacking in traditional pro-life messaging and thus commissioned Dr. Kenny to help Vitae better understand the psychological dynamics that motivate women to feel the way they do about abortion. An additional objective was to learn how to better communicate with those who may support abortion as a solution to an unwanted pregnancy and move them to a more life-affirming position.
A communication strategy emerged from this initial study that resulted in a complete paradigm shift within our own pro-life arena. Gone was the often politically-charged rhetoric, absent the accusatory undertones. This new approach was women-centered and non-confrontational, while inviting audiences to think about the message. A summary of this first study, “Abortion: A Failure to Communicate,” was written by Vitae’s Northeast Project Director, Paul Swope, and was published in the April 1998 issue of First Things magazine.
Following the success of the first study, Vitae commissioned a second study focused on women who had been through an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy. In this project they interviewed women who chose abortion, those who delivered and are raising their children and women who placed their children for adoption. The goal of this project was to better understand the dynamics that shaped respondents’ final decisions about their pregnancies. A short summary of the findings, “A New Understanding of the Trauma of Abortion,” was published in the February 21, 2013 issue of American Thinker.
In the Winter 2015 issue of The Human Life Review, editor Maria Maffucci authored “Life-Saving Right Brain Research.” The article highlights the ramifications two of Vitae’s major research studies had on the pregnancy help movement and the pro-life movement by stating, “it revolutionized the way many pregnancy centers counseled clients and also how they used media to reach women at risk.” Maffucci summed up the article with these words: “The Vitae Foundation is one of many effective and varied pro-life organizations working to turn the tide after Roe, with undeniable results.”
In 2015 Vitae’s study “Saving Grace,” the focus was to delve into the mind of the Planned Parenthood client. Ultimately, this study helps Vitae build a better brand for Pregnancy Help Centers.
Vitae has commissioned seven studies with The Right Brain People® and continues to work with Dr. Kenny. Every project uncovers new findings and strengthens Vitae’s ability to save lives. Current endeavors include Vitae’s efforts to share this valuable information with Pregnancy Help Centers both across the nation and globally and with pro-life peers.
Millions Spent on Research
Years Reaching Women
Numbers help keep track of vital information. There’s nothing more vital than a human life.
ResearchSaving Grace Part One: The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Planned Parenthood Brand
This study found that the Planned Parenthood customer can generally be divided into two categories: younger women in their fertile years and the “legacy customer,” a previous Planned Parenthood customer.
ResearchSaving Grace Part Two: The “Healthcare” Message Now Being Marketed by Planned Parenthood
In earlier studies, it was discovered that women seek abortions to restore their current self and protect their future self. In yet other studies, it was discovered that many women, even young teenagers, write a life plan.
ResearchSaving Grace Part Three: Building the Pregnancy Help Center Brand
This area of findings showed, unfortunately, that respondents were unaware of the idea of the Pregnancy Help Center, although they occasionally referenced government health clinics as an alternative to Planned Parenthood.
Applying the Research
The Vitae Foundation is the world’s leader in research of abortion decision-making and how best to apply that to marketing messages.
Sharing the Research
Whether it’s digital strategies, access to the research or training others to apply it, Vitae’s reach continues to grow exponentially.
Applying the Research
Focusing on the art and science of what works in marketing to the abortion-determined woman is Vitae’s expertise. Applying its research has allowed Vitae to develop strategic digital marketing campaigns for select Pregnancy Help Centers across the country. With messages of hope and empowerment, we reach women considering abortion. The areas selected are places where abortion numbers are epidemic.
Vitae’s Research Application Department assists with new website builds, Search Engine Optimization (increasing website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or web page), Google Search (providing the right words to attract abortion-determined women while searching for abortion online) and social media to help brand the Centers.
Vitae is also able to apply its research with centers associated with the Meet Life program in Missouri, a joint venture with the Missouri Knights of Columbus.
Sharing the Research
Vitae takes its expertise on marketing to the abortion-determined woman and then shares it with those who can benefit from it, at no cost to them. This model allows Vitae to be more intentional in critical markets, while at the same time share what we learn with more centers than ever before.
Vitae also shares its messaging research with pregnancy centers via National Training Initiatives (NTIs) and the Judy Borst Digital Information Console. The NTIs include presentations on the research and how it’s being applied. The audiences for these trainings are pregnancy centers, pro-life organizations and donors. The Judy Borst Digital Information Console, developed by Vitae, will be enhanced by new developments in Vitae’s research and in communication strategies. The Console provides centers instant access to this vital marketing information.
This model allows Vitae to be more of a “Research & Education Organization,” not just a marketing agency. By continually doing our own research, pioneering new ideas, and giving them away to the pro-life world, we will continue to be like no other pro-life organization out there.
The research gave us the tools that we didn’t previously have. Having the research to back up what you’re talking about gave pro-life lobbyists the confidence to speak to lawmakers who could be affirmed and empowered to do the right thing.Marion Minor, Nebraska Catholic Conference, Associate Director for Pro-Life & Family