GMMB Response to the Water Foundation: KS, OH, VT

GMMB Response to the Water Foundation

Contact: Traci Siegel,

  • Protecting Reproductive Freedoms

Protecting Reproductive Freedom in Kansas, Ohio, and Vermont

GMMB has won some of the toughest abortion fights at the ballot box following the Dobbs Supreme Court decision, protecting reproductive rights in states including Ohio and Kansas. In both states, messages centered around the freedom to make personal medical decisions without government interference brought together a unique coalition of conservative, independent, and liberal voters.

We were honored to help Kansans for Constitutional Freedom (KCF) deliver a decisive win for abortion rights and reproductive freedom during the August 2022 primary in Kansas. Republicans outnumber Democrats in Kansas by almost 2 to 1, and the state has consistently supported conservative candidates and causes in most national and state elections. Despite that disadvantage, this long shot race to uphold abortion rights in the state constitution became a stunning upset — providing a victory that helped redefine a national narrative for the midterm elections across America, and helped instruct other campaigns on how to effectively persuade conservative voters to support what is considered a more progressive position. 

In Kansas, our team led the messaging, strategy, ad making, and media buying for the “No” campaign against the ballot initiative.  We shifted the narrative away from “abortion rights” and framed the choice in more conservative terms about protecting constitutional freedoms and stopping extreme government mandates. Our campaign messaging featured real Kansas voices, sharing personal experiences and concerns about the threat to the constitution and the government overreach posed by the ballot initiative. The result: a 17% margin of victory for abortion rights, showing the efficacy of the message with voters from all political backgrounds in a traditional conservative state.  

In 2023, we worked with Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights to achieve a historic and decisive victory for abortion rights, enshrining reproductive freedoms in the state constitution by a margin of 56.6% “Yes” to the opposition’s 43.4% “No.” GMMB served as the paid media strategy, buying and creative team for video persuasion content on TV and streaming. From the start, the campaign faced strong headwinds: rampant misinformation, misleading ballot language, and resourceful opponents who spent tens of millions of dollars to suppress and confuse voters.

Our team got to work to clarify the vote confusion, reshape the campaign dialogue to be one focused on abortion, and define “Yes.”  We grew support for the “Yes” side by shaping the narrative about abortion to be one of personal autonomy and freedom from government interference to align with the most effective research findings. The campaign story was anchored in personal freedom for families to make personal medical decisions without government or politicians getting involved. So no matter where voters stood on abortion, there was broader agreement that these personal decisions should be made by women, patients, and families — not the government. As in Kansas, our ads used real-life stories from Ohioans to lay out the serious and real-life consequences and threat of the government’s ban on abortion in the state. 

Despite a significant voter suppression effort by the Ohio Secretary State’s office, as well as misinformation by the opposition, OURR became the first “Yes” ballot initiative in a red state to expand reproductive rights after the fall of Roe. The 13-point win helped shape the national election narrative heading into the 2024 election and demonstrated the continued power of abortion messaging across party lines.

GMMB was honored to help the Vermont for Reproductive Liberty Ballot Committee pass a first-in-the nation amendment to enshrine reproductive rights and abortion care into the state’s constitution. The campaign delivered a decisive win, garnering 76.8% of the vote, and winning in every town in the state including ones Trump has won by 20 percent in 2020.  

Our team led the messaging, strategy, ad making, as well as traditional and digital media buying for the “Yes”  campaign in support of the ballot initiative, Prop 5. While Vermont has a strong progressive base, the campaign had  to raise awareness among supporters and low information voters about the need to vote “Yes.” Our opponents  made the argument that Vermont already had strong protections for reproductive liberty and that this amendment  was an unnecessary and dangerous slippery slope. We quickly moved to quell our opponent’s narrative. The “Yes”  side worked to raise awareness and convince voters that the threat to reproductive freedom was real, even in a  state as progressive as Vermont. And in fact, a “Yes” was the only way to ensure the rights Vermonters had today  were not gone tomorrow.  

Our campaign messaging tapped into the unique, special culture and values of Vermonters, who do things their “own  way,” to inspire Vermonters to be the first state in the country to enshrine these rights for women, patients, and  families in the state constitution. Tapping into Vermonter’s strong sense of place and independence, our ads  positioned reproductive rights and abortion as key elements of the freedom and personal rights Vermonters hold dear.  We used real Vermonters to tell personal stories across a multi-track messaging campaign on traditional broadcast,  cable, CTV, OTT, and social media. We ran persuasion and mobilization ads to raise awareness, educate, persuade  and turn out voters en masse, producing a mix of 30 and 15 second spots for broadcast, cable, Connected TV (CTV),  Over-the-top-TV (OTT), and social media tracks. And it worked: Vermont led the country in protecting reproductive  liberty and set a strong model for a “Yes” campaign.