By JOHN FORTMEYER
WILSONVILLE — The head of a nationwide pro-life educational agency seeks to have an impact in America’s largest population centers, and it now specifically has its eye on Portland and much of Oregon.
Carl Landwehr, founder and director of Missouri-based Vitae Foundation, came to Oregon last month and met with leaders of Christ-centered pregnancy resource ministries from throughout western Oregon.
Landwehr spoke at a gathering of about 20 representatives of the pregnancy centers at a Oct. 16 evening gathering in Wilsonville. He also visited centers in Oregon City, Hood River, Eugene, Lebanon and Albany and was interviewed on KKPZ’s Rose City Forum radio show.
“I am impressed with the work you and your pregnancy care centers do in Oregon,” Landwehr told the Wilsonville meeting. “You are, in my opinion, heroes.”
He went on to describe them also as “patriots and pioneers,” noting that when the pro-life movement grew after the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion, the centers began their efforts from scratch.
“There was no playbook for you,” he said. “You just jumped in and went to work.”
A sociologist by training, Landwehr founded Vitae to encourage pro-life work, and its long-range goal is to establish an ongoing presence in the nation’s top 25 media markets. It is already assisting centers in such locales as New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles; Seattle was the first West Coast city with a Vitae presence; the independent Washington News Council two years ago upheld a complaint Vitae made two years ago about biased reporting against its work by Seattle’s KUOW radio.
Vitae provides detailed research of target audiences and markets as well as professionally produced ad messages. Additionally, it lends advice on ad placement to inquiring pro-life organizations and pregnancy centers.
Landwehr estimated that his agency has done $2.5 million in research over the years regarding the best ways to use the media to promote pro-life ministries.
“We have to be about the business of getting women into your ‘store,’ your center, (instead of) them going to the ‘abortion store,’’’ Landwehr told the center directors. “It’s a big marketing piece to let the world know that you help women wholistically.”
The message to abortion-minded women must be a hope-filled one, he said. “This woman coming to you is drenched in fear, and whoever manages that fear the best can save the baby,” he said.
Deborah Tilden, a Newberg resident active in pro-life work who arranged Landwehr’s visit, was thrilled by the centers’ response. “This is such an answer to prayer for me,” she said.
For more information, go to VitaeFoundation.org.