We have all heard the word, “competition”. It means the activity or condition of competing, especially in a commercial or sporting arena; there is always an opponent, called the opposition. It can be an event or contest in which people compete. One of the synonyms, meaning a word with a similar meaning, is rivalry.
Recently a group named “Ultraviolet” challenged the Kansas City Royals regarding their sponsorship affiliation with the Vitae Foundation and urged the Royals to cut ties with Vitae because “extremist ideology does not belong in baseball”. They even said that the Vitae Foundation lies to and demeans women. Planned Parenthood Great Plains called the ads “anti-abortion propaganda” and claimed they were “demeaning and offensive to Planned Parenthood’s patients and supporters.” They further described Vitae’s message as “hateful speech against women” and then the taxpayer-funded pro-choice organization “argued” that a taxpayer-funded stadium “should not be used as a megaphone for extreme ideology.”
Irony aside, what is Vitae’s message that has led to these histrionics from Ultraviolet and Planned Parenthood Great Plains? As a donor to Vitae, I, of course, would want to know what they were doing or saying to provoke such extreme language with such a strong demand for the Royals to cease and desist (all with signature petitions to boot).
A quick review of the Vitae Foundation website shows a header that reads “Right Brain Research and Messaging for a Culture of Life”. Their mission statement says, “We encourage a culture of life through researched-based messaging and mass media”. Their vision, “We envision a time when cultures embrace the gift of life, making abortion unthinkable.” Basically, Vitae’s strategy is to use mass media to distribute educational messages to restore value and sanctity to human life. In 24 years of business Vitae claims 96,000 lives saved and 6 billion messages in a total of 99 markets. Quite effective for a small non-profit organization that receives no taxpayer funding. Naturally they would want to form relationships with sports teams, that is great marketing because so many people watch and go to sporting events. What a way to educate them!
I suspect that what Ultraviolet and Planned Parenthood Great Plains are concerned about is a competitor that is winning the minds and hearts of people through a very well thought-out and planned strategy with much less funding. This reminds me of the Royals winning the World Series with a scrappy low-budget team built smart through the baseball draft and developed in the minor-league system. Vitae’s message resonates with people because life is important and it matters.
Here it is in full:
“Vitae Foundation is a non-profit, educational organization focused on creating a Culture of Life by using researched-based messaging and cutting edge media to inform women facing an untimely pregnancy about local Pregnancy Help Centers; educating the public about the value and sanctity of human life; and restoring the value of life as a core belief in the American culture.” Everything in their messages and actions speaks of helping women, not hateful or demeaning in any way.
When I played sports as a young man, I was taught to win graciously and to accept losses with humility and no excuses. Vitae’s strategy is winning the hearts and minds of people of all ages but especially of the women who have made a courageous choice to deal with an untimely pregnancy in a different way than Planned Parenthood would have them do. They choose to bring life into the world instead of extinguishing it in the womb despite some very challenging personal circumstances. That truly is courageous.
Competition and rivalry, Ultraviolet and Planned Parenthood know they are in a competition with Vitae for the hearts and minds of women everywhere and the only way they know to strike back is to fabricate inflammatory and false statements that (more than not) are falling on deaf ears. Maybe what they are saying about Vitae is more reflective of what they think about themselves. Here is hoping they will reflect on that.