PPA recruits Internet for battle versus Ashcroft and abortion

WASHINGTON: The mastermind behind the StopDrLaura.com Web campaign has been drafted in by Planned Parenthood of America (PPA) to step up the battle against John Ashcroft's nomination as US attorney general and his anti-abortion stance.

WASHINGTON: The mastermind behind the StopDrLaura.com Web campaign has been drafted in by Planned Parenthood of America (PPA) to step up the battle against John Ashcroft's nomination as US attorney general and his anti-abortion stance.

WASHINGTON: The mastermind behind the StopDrLaura.com Web campaign has been drafted in by Planned Parenthood of America (PPA) to step up the battle against John Ashcroft's nomination as US attorney general and his anti-abortion stance.

John Aravosis has created a Web site for PPA, RoevBush. com, which attracted one and a half million hits following its launch last week, half a million hits recorded in just one day. Originally designed as a mechanism for opposing Ashcroft's appointment, the site has been expanded to cover the abortion issue in the week since its launch.

The addition was prompted by President Bush's decision to end funding to non-government organizations offering international abortion advice and services. The timing of Bush's announcement startled PPA.

'It wasn't a surprise, it's something we thought might happen,' said Connie Watts, PPA's national field director, 'but it is amazing how quickly it came down.'

The site allows the user to contact his or her senator directly through an e-mail link, in addition to the usual fax and mail route. It also includes links to 25 of the country's top newspapers, so users can send letters to the editor on the issue of abortion rights.

Aravosis, whose company is called Wired Strategies, first attracted attention last year when he and his friends set up StopDrLaura.com, the flagship protest tool against a Paramount TV program featuring the controversial host. Major advertisers pulled out and the show was a certified flop.

Aravosis believes the new site could wreck Ashcroft's chances of confirmation.

Issue sites have to be 'edgy, interesting and fresh,' he said.



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