August 19, 2013; Mother Jones


With all of the blather about metrics, there is ample evidence that many of us still give from a combination of the heart, impulse, and what strikes us as right.

Obviously, someone is still using direct mail, and with a pretty creative twist. Life Dynamics is a Texas based anti-abortion group that has been direct-mailing DVDs to lawyers, urging them to mount malpractice lawsuits against abortion providers in an effort to “force abortionists out of business by driving up their insurance rates.” Though never successful, the campaign has been ramped up a notch with this latest slick missive sent to 53,000 lawyers.

In the videos, two actors claim that most minors who become pregnant are not impregnated by a peer, but by an older man; therefore, any abortion is a potential cover-up of statutory rape. The actors direct viewers to, which specifically accuses Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation of legal malfeasance.

Of course, there is the age-old question of how to get the direct mail recipient to open the envelope. In this case, the envelope promises, “This 11-minute DVD will revolutionize your legal practice.”

Life Dynamics has been at this for more than two decades, having started with a mail campaign to lawyers in the early 1990s, and its budget hovers around a half-million, so how did this ramp up happen? Well, maybe the fact that Farris Wilkes’ Thirteen Foundation, whose assets are derived from hydraulic fracturing and an oil field services company, gave the effort $850,000 this year is a clue.

But Mark Crutcher, who runs Life Dynamics, is playing his cards close to the chest. According to the article, “Crutcher refused to respond to questions about the campaign from Mother Jones, stipulating that he would only agree to an interview if the full transcript, and nothing else, were posted online. The Thirteen Foundation did not respond to a request for comment.”

Apparently, abortion providers are not that worried about Crutcher’s escalation of his campaign. “Clinics are following mandatory reporting laws,” said Vicki Saporta, the president of the National Abortion Federation. “This is just another one of their campaigns which, to my knowledge, haven’t gotten any traction precisely because clinics are following the law.”

In a way, some of us may feel that this is the best use of this money—doing something more ineffective than effective.—Ruth McCambridge