Pro-life groups ramped up their PR efforts this week to make plain
their condemnation of human embryo research following the creation of
the first embryonic human clone in the US.
Political campaigners The ProLife Alliance and charity LIFE have been
quick to put emergency media relations plans in place in a bid to
counter positive coverage of the announcement made earlier this week by
US-based biotech firm Advanced Cell Technology (ACT).
Despite small PR budgets and a lack of dedicated in-house PROs, the
pro-life groups are beefing up their ongoing lobbying, educational and
LIFE confirmed it immediately issued a press notice opposing the
research and has since been placing spokespeople around the country on
standby for numerous media interviews.
National LIFE chairman Professor Jack Scarisbrick said they are also
actively targeting MPs and Lords to keep them informed of the
'We are dependent on three spokespeople and local LIFE employees who are
available to do interviews,' said Scarisbrick. 'We are are battling to
get people to understand that all human life is equal - PR and education
are the only vehicles for this.'
Those groups against human embryonic cloning have a tough challenge in
getting their messages across to the media, especially when
well-resourced private sector opponents have more funds available for
'It's a David and Goliath situation,' said ProLife Alliance director
Bruno Quintavalle, who is pushing for a global ban on all forms of
'We don't have a big PR machine, but we are doing what we can to put our
On the other side of the argument, ACT is busy communicating the
potential benefits of its research in the UK and US, desperate to put
across the message that they are not 'cloning human beings, but
developing life-saving therapies'.
This message has been backed up by sufferer support groups, such as the
Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS), which has been campaigning in favour
of stem cell research for 18 months.
PDS PR manager Greg Vines said they will continue to target MPs, Lords
and MEPs directly and through the media, often putting forward its
members - Parkinson's sufferers - as spokespeople.
As the Government prepares to rush emergency legislation on embryonic
cloning through the House of Lords, the PR battle is hotting up on all