It was the cheesy crunch heard 'round the world.
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, sat in a burgundy chair in the New York office of his communication director on Monday afternoon, half-grinning, eating Doritos.
“Hey NARAL Pro-Choice America, you don't 'humanize' a fetus. Fetuses are already human beings – Eating Doritos,” Pavone wrote when posting this picture on his own Facebook account.
Less than a day after that update was posted to the social network site, it had drawn almost 10,000 “likes,” more than 3,600 people had shared it from their own accounts, and about 400 people had commented.
And that was barely a speck on the tip of the social media iceberg the pro-choice group found itself crashing into early in the week.
The hue and cry came after the anonymous person who runs the Twitter account for NARAL Pro-Choice America (formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League) decided to sound off on ads during Sunday's Super Bowl 50.
NARAL Twitter gave props to some Super Bowl ads with the hashtag #MediaWeLike, praising for instance a Subaru commercial “with dog parents driving their puppies around!” Ads NARAL Twitter didn't like it hashtagged #NotBuyingIt.
NARAL Twitter really stepped in it with its protest of a Doritos commercial. The commercial, the winner of a fan design-a-commercial contest, featured a husband and wife in a hospital for a sonogram.
“He's eating Doritos at my ultrasound,” the wife complained to the doctor, which prompted her unborn baby to take notice. The fetus on the ultrasound seemed to be grabbing for the chip. The husband moved it around in a game of virtual keep-away.
“Give me that!” said the wife. She snagged the chip and tossed it. Super Bowl watchers saw the baby on the ultrasound jumping for it and the wife gasp in what looked to be instant, drastically shortened labor.
Many viewers found this funny. According to Salesforce numbers, it was among the most talked about ad on social media Sunday night.
But NARAL made sure to advise it did not approve of this message, tweeting: “#NotBuyingIt – that @Doritos ad using #antichoice tactic of humanizing fetuses & sexist tropes of dads as clueless & moms as uptight. #SB50”
Conservatives, pro-lifers and many anti-politically-correct Americans made hay out of this gaffe. Headline writers at the New York Post weighed in with something like the consensus view: “Doritos baby commercial gets the dumbest denunciation ever.”
And while tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people weighed in against NARAL in social media, Father Pavone sat in his chair, savoring his Doritos and perhaps the moment as well.
Pavone may have been amused by the NARAL response, but he was not surprised by it, he told AMI Newswire Tuesday. “The behavior of abortion promoters in light of the commercial is very predictable and true to form."
He pointed out that NARAL is “selling and promoting abortion” and argued that “abortion can be marketed only if the reality of both the unborn child and of what the abortion does to that child are hidden.”
The pro-life priest granted it is “easy to talk about freedom, choice, women's health and the Constitution” because few people are against freedom, choice, women's health or the Constitution.
However, the minute folks start “talking about or visualizing who the unborn child is, and what abortion does to that child, abortion is no longer the attractive option that the advocacy groups are advocating,” Pavone said.
Even in a silly chip commercial.
NARAL Pro-Choice America did not respond to repeated requests for comment on who wrote the Tweet and whether it was ill-advised.