Reproductive Rights

How do women distinguish between a right and a privilege?

The Center for Reproductive Rights found itself at a tricky crossroads – looking for ‘force multipliers’ to amplify their reach at a time when Americans are in such an uneasy relationship with institutions, and frankly, one another.

The research brief centered around exploring how to get more women under the tent of the organization’s mission (and in turn broadening the donor base). We wondered, ‘how do women even define reproductive rights’? How do women distinguish between a right and a privilege?

This topic in media is consistently depicted as a political/religious battle. Consequently, reproductive rights have become synonymous with abortion. When the topic of reproductive rights gets politicized, it becomes socially taboo. At the least, it’s a real dinner party downer. We found women of all stripes and backgrounds interpreted reproductive rights with a long radius that included everything from mental health services for post-partem depression, to prenatal nutrition, to sex education. Yet, they did not feel anyone was protecting access to these things.

Our work identified what we call “The Cycle of Suppression” – a model that illustrated why women aren’t talking about these topics among themselves and how politics has hijacked the conversation. This learning paved the way for a wholly new communication strategy for our client and illuminated an unmet need among women to have these conversations facilitated without rhetoric or confrontation.

The work Meg and Hal did helped us get from surface level observations and assumptions to deeply rooted insights and learnings that even those who had been working in the reproductive rights space all their careers were surprised about. I always worry about investing in research and then not being able to take back any “a-has” to the clients, and in this case, it was just the opposite.  To this day, the clients and board members will refer back to specific examples from the videos (i.e. “Well, you remember that woman who had never even asked her husband if he’s pro-choice or not”).  So seriously, thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.
Holly McGavock, SVP, Group Planning Director, Edelman

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