Politics

Abortion group hires Obama-linked consulting firm to grill pro-lifers at home

Patrick Howley Political Reporter

The pro-abortion organization NARAL Pro-Choice America hired a consulting firm linked to President Barack Obama to conduct extensive video interviews with young pro-life activists in their homes more than a year ago, without informing the pro-life activists that the videos were intended for NARAL’s use.

At least one of the videos was aired this month at NARAL’s Washington dinner introducing the organization’s new president, Ilyse Hogue. The video was presented at the dinner in order to show pro-choice activists the “passion” of pro-lifers on the other side of the issue “in an effort to fire up (NARAL) members.” President Obama also sent a video message to NARAL that was shown at the dinner.

The young pro-life activist featured in the video had no idea that his interview footage would be used by NARAL to rile people up against him.

Pro-life activist Mark Earley Jr., 24, a University of Richmond law student, told The Daily Caller that he was “contacted out of the blue” more than a year ago by representatives of the strategic communications and political consulting firm GMMB, which was hired by NARAL to conduct the interview. The consultants asked Earley to share his views on abortion for a video interview series.

GMMB worked as a “lead strategic firm” for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and also worked on his 2012 re-election bid.

Earley had done some work in the past for the pro-family civic activism organization Family Foundation of Virginia. But at the time he was approached by GMMB, he was merely a Virginia state employee, and not involved in any political work.

“I don’t really know how [GMMB] knew who I was. They wanted to know if I was willing to be interviewed as one part of a series they were doing on millenials’ views on the issue of abortion. They couldn’t tell me who it was for,” Earley said. “They had been doing this thing for a while. I was just one of several people” GMMB interviewed.

“I didn’t know it was for NARAL,” Earley said.

Though Earley did not know how the interview footage would be used, he agreed to participate anyway, citing a desire to share his pro-life viewpoints with whatever audience the interview footage would eventually reach.

Earley explained that about a half dozen GMMB representatives visited his apartment to conduct the interview.

“They came to my apartment in Richmond. Maybe six people from GMMB. And we did a camera interview. They were down at my apartment for half a day just asking me questions,” Earley said.

“They asked me about my thoughts on abortion, about policy, about underlying belief that would lead to certain conclusions. It was pretty comprehensive. It was very long,” Earley said.

At least one segment of the interview focused on the specific details of Earley’s advocacy work.

“They asked about my personal involvement, any kind of activity or speaking I do on the matter,” Earley said.

Earley has never seen his video interview, and he did not know until recently that it had ended up in NARAL’s hands.

“They said they couldn’t say who else they were interviewing. It seems like they were under a gag order. They couldn’t tell me who it was for. I asked to see the video of me, but they weren’t willing to show me that,” Earley said.

Earley added that he has no idea how NARAL used his interview footage in the “12 to 18 months” between his interview and the recent NARAL dinner.

Newly minted NARAL president Hogue is a veteran activist who has worked for MoveOn.org and Media Matters for America.

“It seems like [Hogue] is well aware of the fact that there is a growing movement especially among younger people that can’t ignore the science and technology any longer that proves the humanness of the womb,” Earley said. “And she recognizes that. So she’s worried about that, she’s specifically afraid of that aspect of it. She’s particularly concerned about the young people.”

Having now learned firsthand about NARAL’s tactics, Earley said that others in the pro-life movement should be especially careful in their statements.

I think it’s all the more important for people like me who care about protecting mothers and children to be prepared and articulate so that when we speak and when we communicate, we communicate in a sensitive way and in a true way, so that we don’t get caught by any opponent or any media outlet saying something that isn’t true,” Earley said.

GMMB declined to comment. NARAL did not return a request for comment.

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