The president of a national pro-life organization that has saved thousands of babies born to abortion-determined mothers says pro-life health clinics and pregnancy centers are becoming more effective at reaching pregnant mothers and persuading them to choose life.
The Human Coalition, a pro-life group that operates seven women's care clinics throughout the United States and is affiliated with over 35 pro-life pregnancy centers, also operates six "lab-driven" divisions in key "abortion-dense cities" nationwide. The labs continually run various tests to determine the optimal methods and environments that will help make its affiliated pregnancy centers, health clinics and call center more successful when it comes to saving the lives of unborn babies.
As the Human Coalition has saved nearly 6,000 babies from abortion, its president and co-founder, Brian Fisher, was a featured speaker at the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, D.C. last week. Fisher outlined a number of ways the Human Coalition and its clinics and affiliates have statistically improved the rate of abortion-determined women being reached by pro-lifers and the number of abortion-determined women who choose to carry their children to birth.
1. Target the abortion-determined marketplace
In order to be most successful, pro-life pregnancy centers and clinics need to directly reach out to the pregnant women who are leaning toward aborting their children. According to Human Coalition statistics, only between 1 and 3 percent of abortion-determined women actually talk to anyone from the pro-life movement before aborting their child.
Fisher asserts that pro-life clinics and centers need to do a better job of penetrating the abortion-determined market.
"While pregnancy centers see a large number of clients, most of them are in the 'undecided' and 'likely to carry' categories," Fisher said. "There is nothing inherently bad or critical about that statement. Those women also need to be served. But my point is that we must also recognize that the abortion-determined woman is unreached and needs to be captured into a pro-life system of care."
Fisher said there are an average of 1.2 million to 1.4 million abortion-determined women in the U.S. every year.
"We have a deep love and care for the pregnancy center movement and we want to see it be successful. While I say that, I must also say that the data clearly shows the pregnancy center movement struggles to reach the abortion-determined client, primarily for budgetary reasons," Fisher added.
"The abortion-determined women will not walk into a pregnancy center voluntarily," he continued. "They must be outreached to and found and brought into a system of care. The reason is because they don't want to go to a place that won't offer them an abortion. They want to go to a place that is going to offer them an abortion. Most pregnancy centers, quite frankly, do not have the budgets and the marketing to be able to design these strategies to reach into the abortion-determined marketplace."
2. Testing and optimizing internet marketing strategy
One way for pro-life pregnancy centers and care clinics to bring in more abortion-determined women and families is by optimizing their internet marketing.
"Most of our work in reaching the abortion-determined population is through internet marketing, and what we have discovered over the last five or six years is you can make tremendous gains in market penetration by testing and optimizing internet marketing services that reach the abortion-determined population," Fisher said.
Fisher cited a clinic in Raleigh, North Carolina, as an example of how testing different internet marketing techniques can increase the clinic's ability to reach the abortion-determined population.
"The technology game is always changing so this is a very vibrant environment. But, we ran a test in Raleigh, where we own a women's care clinic and began to just deal with some of the nomenclature of that area," Fisher said. "If you live in Raleigh, you don't often refer to yourself as being from Raleigh. You say you are from the Triangle — Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham. So, we switched out that one word in our ad copy from 'Raleigh' to 'Triangle' and we saw a 29-percent lift in clicks, which meant an increase in calls and an increase in saved babies just from testing and optimizing those ads."
Fisher also explained that the Human Coalition has also tested various website designs to see which ones worked the best at appealing to the abortion-determined population and getting them to call the coalition's call center in Dallas.
"We converted our strategy from a microsite strategy to a landing page strategy. Back in the day, we used to use very large informative sites that didn't work well. So, we converted them to very short, one-page sites with very little information," Fisher said. "As the audiences and internet behavior changed, we went back to more of a microsite environment, giving a little bit more information to the client and still wanting her to call us. That increased the lift."
Fisher said that because of the testing and optimizing with internet marketing strategies, 95 percent of the calls that come into the Human Coalition website are from abortion-determined women and families. In a local market like Pittsburgh, Fisher said the Human Coalition has seen a 1,300 percent rise in the abortion-determined market penetration.
"The marketing has been finely tuned over the years to reach that specific population," Fisher explained. "Great gains can be made to reach more women and get them to contact us."
3. Offer gas money
Even though an abortion-determined woman might have been led to call the Human Coalition or another pro-life agency, there are still a number of circumstances that can prevent the woman from being able to travel to the pro-life center or clinic to meet with a counselor.
Fisher said that on average, only three out of every 100 qualified abortion-determined women who speak with a person on the phone actually decide to carry the baby.
"This is a very difficult number to move, as you can imagine, because the abortion-determined population, which is typically coerced into having abortion, you must address a lot of emotional, sometimes physical and spiritual needs in a very caring, compassionate and non-judgemental environment," Fisher said.
In some cases abortion-determined women might be reliant on public transportation, a friend or family member for transportation to possibly go to a pro-life pregnancy center or care clinic.
That's why the Human Coalition offers women $35 gift cards for gas money if they come in for a visit.
"Now all categories of method of transportation are over a 50 percent appointment-kept rate in the abortion-determined population," Fisher said. "If you were to talk to any medical clinic that is working with a low-income, Medicaid-oriented population, a 50 percent appointment-kept rate is insanely high."
Because of the success of the gift card practice, it is now standard at all seven Human Coalition clinics.
"It is guaranteed more abortion-determined appointments because it has now been tested and vetted so well," Fisher asserted.
4. Utilize atmospherics
There are many factors that go into a woman's decision to get an abortion, such as being able to see her baby in an ultrasound, her home situation, age, marriage status, wealth, etc.
According to Fisher, 60 percent of Human Coalition clients rate themselves as a one on a 1-to-5 happiness scale, meaning they have anxiety about their situation.
"If we are able to help her move just one step up the food chain from a one to a two, her chances of choosing life go up 77 percent," Fisher said. "Meaning, if she is not so depressed and disappointed and has hope, there is a chance she will choose life."
Human Coalition developed what Fisher referred to as "the blue room test." A test that measures the effect that a nicer atmosphere has on making the abortion-determined women feel more calm about her pregnancy.
The test was initially run at the Human Coalition's clinic in Dallas.
"We took two counseling rooms in our clinic in Dallas, which were equal. They were very nicely decorated and very nicely furnished, and we left one alone and the other one we adapted — we painted the walls blue, changed the furniture, got rid of the crumby fluorescent lighting, we changed throw pillows and set up the room in a very specific way based on other medical studies that suggested a very calming environment," Fisher said.
"We ran the same counselors and same nurses, the same trained staff with the same counseling practices in both rooms and studied the life decision rate of those women to see whether or not the blue room had a material test on her life decision."
"The blue room returned a 36-percent lift in life decision rate," Fisher continued. "Again, most of our tests fail but this one was a booyah. In our world, if you get a 1-percent lift, it is like a party. If you get a 36-percent lift, its like New Year's Eve. So, guess what color all of our counseling rooms are. They are all blue in all of our clinics. "
5. 'Continuum of Care' programs
For many abortion-determined women, they are in need of help when it comes to various aspects of their own life and if a pro-life clinic or organization is able to provide the woman with the help she needs, it could increase the chances she chooses to give birth.
Last year, the Human Coalition launched its "Continuum of Care" program at its clinic in Pittsburgh.
"Caring for the mother and the family is incumbent on rescuing the child. We have adapted the 'Continuum of Care.' It's a very efficient way of providing care. Pittsburgh is a perfect example," Fisher said. "In Pittsburgh, we vetted other organizations that already exist that provide fantastic care in 12 different areas, such as maternity housing, drug and alcohol abuse counseling, job placement, job training, financial assistance, health care, adoption services and we basically picked the best of breed."
"We did hire staff in the women's care clinic not to provide all that care but to quarterback that care," he added. "When a client opts into the 'Continuum of Care' program, they are given their own personal coach and that coach designs for them a custom care solution that is monitored and handled throughout women's care process."
Due to the success of the program in Pittsburgh, Human Coalition expanded that program to its clinic in Dallas.
"It is a very powerful solution that is now being tested all the way upstream into the call center because now the call center doesn't have to just say, 'We can offer you a free ultrasound.' They can say, 'Ma'am, what is your primary reason for wanting to abort your child? ... If we can help you, if we can rescue you from that situation and provide you housing and support, will you come and see us?'" Fisher said. "Do you see how powerful that is? To test that now in the call center is mechanism we can use to bring them into care."