Abortion rights group starts advocacy campaign aimed at men

A prominent Illinois abortion rights group is launching a provocative campaign titled “CallBS” to promote its political advocacy for reproductive rights for women while attempting to engage supportive men on the issue.

The digital media campaign from Personal PAC includes the Chicago-based group Men4Choice and is aimed at demonstrating to men that their reproductive health rights don’t face the same potential government restrictions that confront women.

The effort also is part of Personal PAC’s advocacy for Illinois legislation to expand abortion rights, which Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he would veto. More broadly, the campaign is aimed at creating activism ahead of next year’s elections for governor and the General Assembly.

The campaign’s title is “CallBulls—,” with the full word spelled out — or “CallBS” for short. It launched with a six-week digital media campaign featuring Illinois men who support abortion rights, using ads and videos on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Organizers say more than $100,000 has been invested in the program, which its backers vow will be a long-term project to engage men and direct them to activism that includes door-to-door canvassing and phone banks. They say the aim is to engage men on what has traditionally been a women’s issue. In addition to the digital advertising, the group has a website, CallBS.org.

But that name?

“That’s how this whole thing evolved,” said Oren Jacobson, co-founder and executive director of Men4Choice, noting the reaction of men when asked about the possibility of government involvement in their reproductive health. “Most guys sort of react the same way. Frankly, we wanted to design a campaign that talks to men the way guys talk to each other.”

Men4Choice, Jacobson said, is a 2-year-old group that has traditionally played a resource and partnership role with Personal PAC, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.

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