Michigan: A Survey on the Reproductive Freedom Ballot Measure

Diane was on a phone call with someone identifying themselves as being with ‘Telepoint Market Research’, and the person was asking Diane to participate in a survey.

It started with asking about voting in Michigan, likelihood of voting, preference in governor’s election, and whether she was voting on ballot initiatives.

There was a question about what was the most important topic for the governor and legislature to take up, and gave a long list of topics.

Then there were a bunch of ‘questions’ about the reproductive freedom ballot initiative. These had a pattern that the ballot initiative was claimed to have a consequence, and would that make you more likely or less likely to vote for or against the measure?

Here are a batch of the ‘consequences’ that were stated to follow from passage of the reproductive freedom ballot initiative, from banal to over-the-top hysteria:

  • Abortion facilities would be allowed to have lower standards than other health care facilities (the measure doesn’t seem to have anything like that; consider this counter to apply to most of the rest of these)
  • Would allow people other than MDs to perform abortions (most abortion services shouldn’t require an MD; this doesn’t even seem scary)
  • Would allow ‘gender-confused’ minor children to have procedures that would sterilize them
  • Would permit selling babies (Eh, what?)
  • Minors can get abortions without parent approval (while there are issues here, it’s much better to err on the side of permitting the pregnant person to determine the course of the rest of their life than to make a blanket denial of that)
  • Would punish faith-based health providers (we noted that if such providers don’t want to actually provide health care, they should take up another line of work)
  • ‘Partial birth abortion’ (described as ‘child is born and then allowed to die’) would be permitted
  • Abortion facilities wouldn’t be required to be kept clean (seems a bit of a repeat of one from earlier)
  • Would allow taxpayer money to pay for abortions

That’s not all of them. I only started making notes after we heard the ‘selling babies’ one and LOL’d at it, so this is based on notes as further questions happened and recollection of earlier ones.

It didn’t take long into this for Diane to be telling the survey-taker that her ‘questions’ were misleading in content, and it wasn’t really a survey instrument that she was following.

Diane requested information about who had commissioned the ‘survey’ several times during the call, and the survey-taker at one point said that they had asked their supervisor, but at the end when Diane asked what the supervisor’s response was, the survey-taker just ended the call.

Given the strong fictional content of the call, it is an open question whether it actually was someone from ‘Telepoint Market Research’ or not. But given that they list a ‘partnership’ with Cambridge Analytica, it doesn’t seem much of a stretch that such an outfit would stoop to this kind of thing.

As to the client, be on the lookout for TV ads featuring items from the ‘survey question’ list above to try to sway voters to vote no on the reproductive freedom ballot initiative in Michigan. I think that will likely clarify that. Diane and I speculate that they floated all those to try to determine what items caused the strongest negative reaction in respondents. It is Saturday night, and the fact that there would be a ballot initiative is just over a day old. This obviously indicates there is a lot of monied opposition to the reproductive freedom ballot initiative, and they are getting right on with spending $$$ to get the opposition rolling.

Update 2022-09-12: Edited the list of items.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

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