A 26-year-old anonymous woman says she’ll go ahead with her planned abortion… unless conservatives can raise $1 million (which will eventually be put in a trust fund for the child). She explains her plan on a website set up for this purpose:
On July 7th I will start accepting donations on this page. I will accept donations for 72 hours, the same amount of time this state currently requires a woman to wait after a consultation with a doctor until she can have an abortion. If one million dollars is raised in those 72 hours then I’ll have the baby, give it up for adoption and every cent of that one million dollars will be put in a trust fund for the child, which he or she will have access to when they turn 21.
The backward direction this country is headed in terms of its treatment of women I feel is due in large part to the influence of the religious right disguised as the pro-life movement. The pro-life movement cares very little about saving lives and far more about controlling women by minimizing their choices in a wide variety of ways not the least of which is readily available reproductive health care.
… I hope to give the American public a concrete example that the conservative right in America doesn’t actually care about the life of a child, they care about controlling the lives and choices of women. We have to acknowledge this and we have to stop it.
Well, as far as getting attention goes, she’s very clever.
As an effective way to get people who are anti-abortion to rethink their position? Not so much.
Let’s assume all of this is legitimate and we could verify everything she’s saying.
If she actually raised the money, you can fully expect copycats, and the anti-choice crowd isn’t going to raise a million dollars for all of them. So why would they pay the “ransom” now and inspire more of this?
And her argument that, if conservatives don’t raise the money, it means they don’t “actually care about the life of a child”? That’s ridiculous, too.
I’m vegetarian for ethical reasons, but if you told me you were going to kill a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner unless I paid up, and I said no, it doesn’t mean I’m a hypocrite. The broader principle matters more to me than every specific case. I want to persuade you to rethink your position so that, as a whole, the slaughter of animals goes down.
I’m pro-choice, but I’m pretty sure that’s the gist of the anti-abortion argument, at least on a philosophical level. (We see the same thing on the flip side, where making abortions illegal rallies the pro-choice side to fight even harder on this issue.)
In case you’re wondering, the anti-abortion crowd isn’t planning on taking the bait when the donation window opens on Tuesday:
“This smacks of extortion and a media stunt,” Troy Newman, president of the pro-life group Operation Rescue, told VICE News. “There’s nobody that’s going to give in to this ridiculous piece of nonsense trying to present to us an ultimatum.”
This sentiment was echoed by Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life League.
“It’s one thing to be a desperate woman seeking an abortion, but this woman is exploiting the situation, holding their own unborn child hostage for a million dollars,” he said. “It’s almost a kind of terrorism, holding someone hostage this way.”
Yeah, there’s the usual overblown rhetoric, but besides that, I’m not surprised by their stance.
This stunt just reinforces the stereotype held by right-wingers that pro-choice liberals are heartless on this issue. This woman is using her fetus as a pawn in a publicity stunt!
Really, our position is the compassionate one, putting women in control of their bodies and making the well-being of the mother a priority. But I promise you no one on the other side is seeing that compassion on this website.
We talk about the importance of choice because pregnancy is so personal and women should have the right to make that decision on their own. What they do with their bodies shouldn’t be up to politicians — much less strangers with deep wallets. By forcing others to decide the fate of the fetus, she’s giving up the very thing we fight so hard to protect.
If she wants an abortion, she should have one. And I’m glad she’s drawing attention to the myriad obstacles conservatives throw along that path — 72-hour waiting periods, unnecessary ultrasounds, abortion clinics being shut down for no good reason — but I’m guessing this stunt will just backfire, doing even more damage to our shared cause.