An anonymous person protesting our ever-diminishing reproductive rights is soliciting donations to save her fetus. Real or not, she’s raising some million-dollar questions.
There is a woman who is about to have an abortion unless donors give her a million dollars. And it must be true, because I read about it on the internet.
A few weeks ago, a person created a website called “Pro-Life Anti-Woman” claiming that she was a pregnant 26-year-old early in her first trimester, and that she would abort the pregnancy unless she was able to raise $1 million for her unborn child in just 72 hours—the length of time that a person now has to wait in order to obtain a termination in the states of Missouri, Utah, South Dakota, and North Carolina. The clock would begin ticking on July 7 and end on July 10, and if the money was obtained, she would continue the pregnancy, place the child for adoption after the baby is born, and allegedly put all of the pledges in a trust fund for the baby once he or she turns 21 years old.
“I’ll keep none of the money for myself so if I am to be vilified in this process, it can’t be for that,” the anonymous poster wrote. “If the $1 million goal is not met by the end of those 72 hours, any and all donations received will be refunded and I will have an abortion that I have already scheduled for July 10 in my home state. Mathematically this means that every one of the 157 million Americans that identify as pro-life needs to donate less than one cent to stop this abortion. 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.”
The site was picked up by the Dr. Drew Show but mostly ignored until last week, when a variety of mostly conservative websites and news sites began writing about the effort, most of them complaining about what they viewed as a simple blackmail attempt.
“Some comments say she is trying to hold pro-lifers hostage by saying they must prove it if they want a baby to live,” writes Susan Michelle Tyrell, a LiveAction blogger, over at LifesiteNews. “If pro-lifers don’t give her $1 million, she will kill the baby. If she gets the money, she promises to have the baby and give him or her up for adoption, sending the $1 million with her child in the form of a trust fund. She calls it a baby, too, not a fetus, indicating she understands exactly what she’s doing: ransoming the life of her preborn child for self gain. Early human trafficking at its (un) finest, some might say.”
Leading anti-abortion activists agreed. Troy Newman of Operation Rescue told Vice News reporter Colleen Curry that, “This smacks of extortion and a media stunt,” while Pro-Life Action Leagues Eric Scheidler said, “It’s almost a kind of terrorism, holding someone hostage this way.”
It turns out the premise has been revealed to be, not unlike Birthornot, little more than a marketing ploy for a book. As a media stunt, “Pro-Life Anti-Woman” isn’t the first to take to the internet as a platform to rally people to weigh in on an impending abortion. In 2010, a Minnesota couple used the web domain “Birth or Not” to poll over whether or not they should get an abortion, earning themselves massive media coverage as well as nearly 1.5 million votes telling them to abort (the couple claims those votes were mostly fraudulent). Afterward, the father admitted there was never any real intent to abort and that the overall hope to eventually write a book about their viral internet experience.
Raising money to not abort, though? That’s a new one, and not totally unreasonable. Regardless of whether or not a person intends to keep a child after giving birth, pregnancy is an expensive thing, with most in hospital deliveries running at least $10,000 even for an uncomplicated vaginal birth. A C-section could double or triple that and complications may leave a patient with debt that would take years to pay off.
Even without her own medical expenses factored in, $1 million for a child in a trust is not an overblown amount to ask for when it comes to raising a dependent from birth to age 21. The latest date claims that it will cost a middle class family roughly $300,000 to get a child just to age 18. Add in four years of college, which is expected to be about $70,000 per year in two decades, and that’s nearly $600,000 already.
Were $1 million in donations going to flow into the “Pro-Life Anti-Woman” website in three days? Well, definitely not now. However, it wasn’t an insurmountable target. As the website owner notes, with 157 million people claiming to be “pro-life,” that’s a donation of less than one cent from each of them, in order to potentially save a life. When you look at the $2.3 million that has been provided to shoot the “Gosnell Movie,” raising $2.1 million of it in just 6 weeks. Yet although creating more pro-life media is a worthy goal for those who want to end legal abortion, it still will not directly stop a person from aborting a pregnancy such as this challenge to anti-abortion activists potentially may.
Even though the website’s scenario is a fiction, and there is no real pregnant person waiting for an appointment, willing to carry to term if only enough people donate funds to stop her, it still fulfilled one purpose: It revealed that abortion opponents will eagerly spend $2 million to make a movie, but not half of that to potentially save a life.
It’s not just about the stories. Journalism is also about who is telling them.
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