ACLU Launches Seven-Figure Ad Buy on Family Separation and Abortion Urging Biden to Take Action

The American Civil Liberties Union announced a million-dollar advertising campaign to push the Biden administration to reunite children and parents, repair the harms of the family separation crisis, and protect abortion. The buy in Washington, D.C. area cable television, as well as social and digital platforms including Connected TV and newsletters, will begin tomorrow, Dec. 16, and run through early next year. 

After the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy was implemented, the ACLU successfully sued to block family separation and immediately reunite families. Thousands of children were torn apart, sparking outrage around the world. Many families remain separated and devastated in the aftermath.  

“We are now officially putting the Biden administration on notice: Thousands of little children were separated from their parents and remain without justice. Without swift and decisive action, the trauma and harm caused by the Trump administration will soon become Biden’s badge of shame,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “Only by putting the full weight of the U.S. government behind solutions can the Biden administration end this national tragedy. These families have waited long enough, and we need to make it right.”  

Three family separation ads will run across Facebook, Instagram, newsletters, and on MSNBC and CNN in Washington, D.C. One of the ads features separated children and parents sharing their stories. Mandy Moore and Jason George also urge the administration to act swiftly in another of the ads, which was written and directed by Krista Vernoff, executive producer, director, and showrunner. The third ad focuses on testimonials from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Physicians for Human Rights about the devastating impacts of family separation.

Concurrently, the ACLU is also planning an ad buy on abortion, showing what the post-Roe reality of forced pregnancy looks like. With the Supreme Court giving states the green light to effectively ban abortion and seemingly ready to overturn 50 years of precedent, the ability to control one’s own body and future is under its greatest threat in generations.

“While the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe, the solution lies within the American people — not in the courts,” concluded Romero. “What’s afoot is an effort that will force pregnancy onto people, and turn back the clock on our own ability to control our bodies and futures. Elected leaders need to be put on notice that if they support efforts to roll back the ability to get an abortion, they will be held accountable by the overwhelming number of Americans who disagree with them. And with so much at stake, the Biden administration must not hold back.”

Family separation ads:

“Ripped”: Featuring two families separated at the border, including a child who was taken from his mother by the Trump administration. The ad calls on leaders in Washington to repair the harm done and ensure it never happens again. Watch here: 

“Parents first”: Featuring actors and activists Mandy Moore and Jason George, written and directed by Krista Vernoff, speaking as parents and how we have the collective responsibility to put these families back together and help them heal. Watch here: ​​ 

“Torture”: Featuring harrowing images of children and parents separated at the border and testimonials from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Physicians for Human Rights about the devastating impacts of family separation. Watch here:

Abortion ads:

“Disclaimer”: This work is a riff on the cliché pharmaceutical advertisement. But rather than the long list of side effects these types of ads are known for, the spot will highlight the litany of challenges people face when seeking an abortion, and how abortion bans and restrictions lead to forcing pregnancy upon people. 

“Forced”: An exploration of what people being forced into carrying pregnancies against their will must endure as options for abortion care are pushed out of reach for millions. 

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