A Modest Proposal for Roe Day

by Tedra Osell on January 22, 2012

I challenge everyone who has commented in the “Do You Trust Women” post and considers themselves pro-choice to donate $2 to Planned Parenthood (or your abortion rights organization of choice) <b>per comment</b> to celebrate Roe Day.

That’s $126 for me, and I’ll round up to $130.

If you do it, leave a comment saying how much you donated. No checking people’s math, and obviously no one can check to see if you actually did donate; we’re on the honor system here.



Sus. 01.22.12 at 9:51 pm

Great idea – the comment thread to your original post quickly became so muddied I lost any inclination to add to the discussion, but I’ve gladly contributed $50 to PP in a show of gratitude for your efforts to keep that discussion productive. My first involvement with PP was as a student in the 80’s. When Reagan cut their funding I had significantly more time than money so I volunteered my time to a local clinic. It was an eye-opening experience. I left with a full appreciation of the wide range of health-services they provide to women who might otherwise not receive them. Well done.


Mike 01.22.12 at 9:55 pm

One comment didn’t get me up to the minimum amount, and that seems stingy, so I gave $50. I’ve been meaning to donate for a while but it’s one of those things that’s slipped my mind–thanks for the impetus! It’d be pretty amazing (ironically?) if that thread actually did turn into a sizable donation to PP.

(If anyone’s skittish due to the non-obvious domain of that link, yes, ppaction.org is linked to from the main Planned Parenthood page. Not that I expect Tedra to mislead, intentionally or not, but I’m always a bit hesitant before I enter my CC# on the internet.)


Tedra Osell 01.22.12 at 9:59 pm

Thank you, Mike, for your parenthetical. It truly didn’t even occur to me that people would worry about that. Anyone who is concerned can obviously just google “Planned Parenthood” and go from there, or send a check.

Also yes re. minimum donation ($5, not $2). I actually was originally going to propose $5, but when I did the math that was way more money than I can afford right now :P


Tedra Osell 01.22.12 at 10:00 pm

(And of course thanks to both Mike and Sus. for going along with my suggestion!)


Sean Lai 01.22.12 at 10:04 pm

I didn’t comment in the last thread but this is as good a time as any to give money to Planned Parenthood. These are lean times for me so I gave $25.


RKG 01.22.12 at 10:38 pm

When I was between gender reassignment surgeries, the local Planned Parenthood was not helpful. They didn’t know what to do when a man wanted a pap smear and reconfirmed my hatred for institutions that fight so hard to maintain a gender binary. Perhaps Planned Parenthoods in other cities handle trans patients better. I have heard horror stories and pleasant ones.

But I will not donate $4 to Planned Parenthood. I will donate it to the local health organization that has made me feel like a whole human since the day I walked inside. They have a jar for donations up front. I’ll put in $5 this week. But Planned Parenthood will never get my money again.


Tedra Osell 01.22.12 at 10:51 pm

That’s totally cool. “Your organization of choice” works for me.


Tedra Osell 01.22.12 at 10:54 pm

Also, btw, is it “gender reassignment” rather than “sex reassignment” surgery? I used the other in that other thread, my bad.


Benjamin S Nelson 01.22.12 at 11:08 pm

5$, even though I only posted just now, once, and it’s in moderation. I figure that means I’m entitled to one more post.

Unfortunately, since I have nothing more to say, it’ll probably just be LOLcats. Forewarned :. forearmed.


Henri Vieuxtemps 01.22.12 at 11:10 pm

‘A Modest Proposal for Roe Day’ should be something else. Something funny.


Tedra Osell 01.22.12 at 11:13 pm

Did you donate, Henri?

And I, for one, am highly amused by asking people to put their money where their mouths are.


Alan 01.22.12 at 11:29 pm

This is a geat idea, especially from my perspective since PP is under fire here in Wisconsin thanks to our crazed Teapublican governor and legislature. Put me down for $50.


Tedra Osell 01.22.12 at 11:54 pm

Alan, Ben, and Sean: thank you.


Meredith 01.22.12 at 11:55 pm

Planned Parenthood was the ONLY practical source of birth control for most middle class, unmarried young women in the 1960’s and 1970’s. But most of their clientele were, overwhelmingly, not young middle class college students like me, but poor women. And I bet that’s still true. And not just for birth control (or abortions — a statistically small portion of their work). Women should get pap smears and breast exams regularly. And for poorer women especially (though for many women), an ob/gyn office also provides the only basic health checks they’ll ever get (e.g., taking blood pressure). PP is vital for women’s general health, not just reproductive.
I gave to PP last year for the first time in a long time and will give again this year. Not sure how many times I commented on the last post, but if length of comment were figured in, I owe PP a lot! (A owe PP a lot, period. We all do.)


md 20/400 01.23.12 at 1:49 am

Good idea. No comments from me in the other thread, but I donated $50.


Mise 01.23.12 at 2:24 am

Can I also add a link to Choice Ireland? http://www.choiceireland.org/


David 01.23.12 at 2:27 am

In remembering and honoring Roe, don’t forget Griswold v. Connecticut , the true goal of the anti-choice crowd (one should always avoid pro-life, it’s not true and is a dangerous ceding of the language).


Tedra Osell 01.23.12 at 3:18 am

Mise, thanks for the link.


christian_h 01.23.12 at 3:35 am

Hundred bucks. PP is the only source of prenatal care for many young women who do have children, so I’d challenge even anti-abortion commenters to donate ;)


Charlie Kilian 01.23.12 at 3:55 am

Wow, I’m glad I didn’t comment last time — I shudder to think what kind of bill I would have been unknowingly racking up. ;) But I consider myself pro-choice, and it’s a worthy cause. I contributed $25.


Bruce Baugh 01.23.12 at 4:14 am

The reality of SSI and Medicaid cuts is that in a month when I need to see a doctor, I basically have no extra spending money. But I love the concept, and will do so the first month my body gives me a break.


Tedra Osell 01.23.12 at 5:38 am

Bruce, for god’s sake don’t feel obligated to stretch your budget. That was most emphatically not my goal!

And Christian, thanks :)


Tedra Osell 01.23.12 at 5:39 am

md 20/400! And Charlie! Hi to old friends. And thank you :)


Bruce Baugh 01.23.12 at 5:46 am

Tedra: Oh, I know. But the thing is, I’m happier with myself if I look ahead toward my next opportunity for some charity, and this is a darned good cause and occasion. So it’s in the plan.


Charles S 01.23.12 at 7:31 am

This reminded me to go and renew my membership with NARAL, so thanks for that!


NomadUK 01.23.12 at 8:44 am

I didn’t post in the previous thread, having nothing useful to add. I escaped from the US years ago, and am deeply grateful for the wonder, imperfect though it may be, that is the NHS. But people I love do live there, and you just never know what the future will bring, so I will send PP $15, and hope that the young ladies I know grow up to be as steadfast and sure of themselves as Tedra.


Henri Vieuxtemps 01.23.12 at 9:59 am

@11, sorry, I don’t believe in charity.

I pay taxes, and the government is responsible for using this money to finance all the necessary social programs and public services. By sending my own money to under-financed services, I would be letting an incompetent (or malevolent) government off the hook and prolonging its reign, thus making myself complicit in its misdeeds.


Jan Marien 01.23.12 at 12:28 pm

Henri Vieuxtemps has a point. I also think that instead of charity (buying off our uneasiness) we need responsible governments.
But that is a theoretical concept (and sometimes tastes like dogma) and everyday life isn’t lived in theoretical concepts. So, I am a regular contributor to Amnesty International and from time to time I support — though being a Belgian — the fine American NGO Partners in Health. Honouring your fine gesture I’ll send them 50 €.


bobbyp 01.23.12 at 1:36 pm

I think I had 17 or 18 comments….put me down for $40.

I, for one, appreciated Tedra getting in there and mixing it up with the commenters….many thanks.


Lynne 01.23.12 at 2:09 pm

I had about five comments. I’m sending $25 to the local PP.


krippendorf 01.23.12 at 2:10 pm

I am donating $25: $2 for my comment on the prior thread, $20 for the education, and $3 for the excuse to delay course prep one more day.


Henry 01.23.12 at 3:41 pm

bq. I pay taxes, and the government is responsible for using this money to finance all the necessary social programs and public services. By sending my own money to under-financed services, I would be letting an incompetent (or malevolent) government off the hook and prolonging its reign, thus making myself complicit in its misdeeds.

And I am sure that the government has taken _full notice_ of your noble refusal, and will be promptly changing its policy forthwith. Or, alternatively, that those many people who are being let down by the government’s abject failure to “finance all the necessary social programs and public services” will be able to forget their conditions of misery and squalor, while they applaud you for your refusal to prolong this reign of iniquity!

This reminds me of that wonderful moment in _Small World_ where Fulvia Morgana justifies her self-indulgence in caviar, champagne and the like, by claiming that she is doing her little bit to “heighten the contradictions” (I don’t have a copy of the book by me, so may be slightly muddling the details).


MPAVictoria 01.23.12 at 4:15 pm

Henri Vieuxtemps is obviously the alter ego of Mr. Pink.


Henri Vieuxtemps 01.23.12 at 4:24 pm

Good video. It’s quite different, actually, but even with that, I see he did manage to convince Tim Roth.


MPAVictoria 01.23.12 at 4:34 pm

“Good video. It’s quite different, actually, but even with that, I see he did manage to convince Tim Roth.”

Yeah but did you notice how everyone else at the table thought he was a jerk?


Henri Vieuxtemps 01.23.12 at 4:49 pm

It’s because Buscemi (or Tarantino, really) doesn’t explain it right. There is a good reason not to tip in restaurants in the States: employers should pay fair wages. But I do tip in restaurants. Only because of the personal interaction.


MPAVictoria 01.23.12 at 4:59 pm

“It’s because Buscemi (or Tarantino, really) doesn’t explain it right.”

I guess that is one possible explanation….


js. 01.23.12 at 5:18 pm

Brilliant idea. Just put in $25.


Katherine 01.23.12 at 5:53 pm

I have just commented on that very thread – I won’t be contributing to Planned Parenthood, but I do already contribute £2 a month to the National Abortion Campaign here in the UK. I think that fulfills the criteria set out.


Uncle Kvetch 01.23.12 at 5:57 pm

$10, with pleasure.


Aulus Gellius 01.23.12 at 6:36 pm

This seems fair. I gave $10. Because I first thought, “$2 seems stingy, I’ll give $5,” but then saw that $5 was the minimum, and wanted to hang on to my sense of pleased self-righteousness. Ahhhhh.


Aulus Gellius 01.23.12 at 6:37 pm

My comment’s in moderation. Shorter version: I gave $10.


novakant 01.23.12 at 7:28 pm

Yeah but did you notice how everyone else at the table thought he was a jerk?

Well, everyone else at that table is a also violent criminal – that’s the irony of this scene.


christian_h 01.23.12 at 7:53 pm

I happen to think Henri has a point, but misses it. PP is not only a charitable organization – it is a political organization, fighting for exactly what Henri (and most of us I’d wager) demand. Giving to them is not the same as giving to a charity that’s designed to be just that and perpetuate charity over economic rights.


MPAVictoria 01.23.12 at 8:10 pm

“Well, everyone else at that table is a also violent criminal – that’s the irony of this scene.”

And even the violent criminals displayed more empathy.


bianca steele 01.23.12 at 8:21 pm

It’s been a while, but wasn’t everyone else at the table a member of the gang? The Buscemi character was an outside contractor.


Emma in Sydney 01.23.12 at 8:23 pm

Contraception and family planning are provided through the health system in my country so I am still trying to work out where to donate. I will, though.


MPAVictoria 01.23.12 at 8:28 pm

“It’s been a while, but wasn’t everyone else at the table a member of the gang? The Buscemi character was an outside contractor.”

From how I remember it they were all independents gathered to do one job. That is why they all had code names i.e., Mr Pink, Mr. White. etc.

Anyway I am sorry for causing this thread to go so off topic. My grandfather passes away 2 weeks ago and the funeral expenses/travel costs associated with that ate up most of my disposable income for the next while. However I will be donating to Planned Parenthood next time I have some free money.


mds 01.23.12 at 8:42 pm

PP is the only source of prenatal care for many young women who do have children, so I’d challenge even anti-abortion commenters to donate ;)

But how can the first part be true, when over 90% of what PP does is abortion? A pursuit that makes them a hefty profit as well, I might add, which is why they badger women into having repeated frivolous late-term abortions at taxpayer expense, though liberal women obviously need little convincing. All while twirling their moustaches and cackling malevolently. Or so I’ve heard.** So your emoticon is well-chosen.

**I haven’t actually heard any of the political activists who pretend to care about children and pregnant women while also attacking WIC, food stamps, Head Start, sex education, affordable health insurance coverage, etc, etc, etc, etc, mention the moustache-twirling or cackling. But it would seem to follow from the rest of their horseshit characterization.


adam.smith (was Sebastian(1)) 01.23.12 at 9:41 pm

10$ – that’s all I got, so I’ll claim a student discount.


John Quiggin 01.23.12 at 10:41 pm

Good idea, Tedra! I gave $50 to Family Planning Queensland.


Tom M 01.23.12 at 10:57 pm

But how can the first part be true, when over 90% of what PP does is abortion? A pursuit that makes them a hefty profit as well, …

Well said, Jon Kyl, well said.

Thank you, Tedra, for that post. When my wife (and I.. I was there) became pregnant with our third child and discovered she would be a Down Syndrome baby, we discussed the possibility of an abortion but she decided to move ahead. When we discovered, in the 7th month that the baby had a not uncommon heart valve problem, she wanted to have the baby knowing the baby would need an operation soon after birth.
There were few good choices to make and things did not go well but I learned a lot from those months but mostly learned that we each make our own choices or should and I use that experience to respond to my wife’s co- religionists at this time of year that when (as others have said) they start showing as much concern for women as they do for foetuses, I might listen to them.

I sent $100 just because.


shah8 01.23.12 at 11:34 pm

Money’s headed to my dentist, unfortunately. Only good wishes can be sent.


Meredith 01.24.12 at 12:38 am

shah8, take care of thy teeth (and you should! really!). Only to say, (pro)life is a balancing act.


Tedra Osell 01.24.12 at 1:52 am

Thanks to CharlesS, Nomad, bobbyp, Lynne, krippendorf, js, Katherine, Uncle Kvetch, Aulus Gellius, Emma, MPAVictoria, adam.smith (I approve the name change), John and Tom for playing along! And to Shah8 for good wishes, which are always good things too.

And thanks to Henri for the valuable lesson that sanctimony is a marvelous way to console oneself for one’s selfishness.


zrichellez 01.24.12 at 2:42 am

I decided to donate $66.50 which will able them to designate 2$ to Roe vs Wade day as per your great suggestion.
People seem to lose track of the fact that “abortion services” account for only 3% of the total services provided by Planned Parenthood.
Patient care provided is broken down as follows:
Cancer Screenings and Prevention 16%
Contraception and testing 35%
STD testing 35%
Other women’s Health Services 10%
Abortion Services 3%
Other Services 1%
(with 11.4 Million total services in 2009)
It would be nice if government transfers covered everything so Henri could sleep better. They sadly do not and without this agency the poor and uninsured would suffer.
Why someone would believe the poor are not entitled to contraception, HIV screening, or Pap tests is beyond comprehension. That would keep me up at night.


adam.smith (was Sebastian(1)) 01.24.12 at 3:00 am

In all fairness, those numbers are a bit misleading. 3% is not the share of abortion-related services as part of their total budget, it’s the number of services, where handing someone a condom and a pamphlet counts as a service, too.
That’s not to take away from the point that PP does a lot more than abortions, but I do think the fact that a woman can go there knowing that they’ll give her all options without judgment – including abortion – is really crucial.


LFC 01.24.12 at 3:12 am

Since according to Tedra’s “do you trust women” post, Roe is based on sexist assumptions (since it allows some statutory restrictions on abortion after a certain point), I’m not sure why her celebration of Roe Day is completely unqualified (or maybe it isn’t, I don’t know).


zrichellez 01.24.12 at 3:13 am

totally agree .
“without judgement” and without being turned away for inability to pay.


LFC 01.24.12 at 3:15 am

P.s. I support PP, but my money for donations pretty much spoken for at the moment.


joel hanes 01.24.12 at 3:34 am

I made no comment in the Roe thread (it’s one of those topics on which I generally maintain a respectful silence).

But many of the young women I knew when I was myself young depended on Planned Parenthood for most reproductive health services — it was a place where they, their decisions, and their privacy, were invariably respected.

Accordingly, I have just donated $128 to the PP program development office closest to my current home, and another $128 to the PP program development office in the state where I grew up.

Thanks, B., for the impetus.


Tedra Osell 01.24.12 at 3:43 am

zrichellez and joel, thank you.

(And Joel, who is this B. person?)


Tedra Osell 01.24.12 at 3:44 am

58: Because Roe saves fucking lives, is why.

Also, PP is a great organization.


joel hanes 01.24.12 at 3:52 am

> who is this B. person?

Oh, just some pseudonymous academic with an attitude, whose writings on Unfogged (and on another now-defunct blog) often pleased me, and (more important) occasionally made me intensely uncomfortable in that special way that I’ve come to recognize as the signal that I need to shut up and listen, because my preconceptions are being challenged.


Emma in Sydney 01.24.12 at 4:09 am

Okay, sent $50 AUD to Family Planning New South Wales. I didn’t even know one could donate to them before this thread, so there’s that.


Henri Vieuxtemps 01.24.12 at 5:16 am

What, am I the one who sounds sanctimonious here? Oh well.


John Quiggin 01.24.12 at 5:48 am

“What, am I the one who sounds sanctimonious here? ”

Umm, yes.


Henri Vieuxtemps 01.24.12 at 8:19 am

In that case: sorry about my sanctimonious public display of non-charity. I hope it’s not too offensive; I didn’t just bring it up, I responded to an inquiry.


Natilo Paennim 01.24.12 at 8:04 pm

I paid ~$600 for the direct actions I took against Operation Rescue supporters when I was a kid. I think donating to PP is great, not least because, as I think was pointed out extensively at Tedra’s old blog, they are often a provider-of-last-resort for any number of medical treatments including, but not limited to, abortion. At the same time, I recognize that these sorts of ameliorative interventions are not going to change any minds, or political outcomes. Over the course of the 1980s and 1990s, the anti-choice movement grew steadily, only becoming a concern to pro-choice activists and regular people if they thought a big court case might go the wrong way. We see now how foolish that oversight was. The anti-choice movement was the thin edge of the wedge for a new fascist movement in this country, one that has become more powerful than even the KKK of the early 20th century. Anti-choice views map very closely to anti-environment, pro-prison/death penalty, anti-tax, anti-immigration, anti-gay and white supremacist viewpoints. I do not think that the appropriate response to this is to maintain the failed liberal policy of tolerance and graciousness in defeat. When I fought against Operation Rescue in the 1990s, it was not the mass of hundreds or thousands of red-shirted NARAL volunteers half a mile away who prevented them from closing down an abortion clinic. It was the 50 or 60 radicals in black masks who maintained a physical barrier and threat to the noxious machinations of the anti-choicers.

The one thing that can stop this bloody tide of reaction is for good people to put aside their goodness for awhile and become just as ruthless and vicious as our opponents. You can’t vote fascism out of existence, we’ve seen that time and time again. Physical confrontation and constant vigilance are the only things that will save us. Make no mistake: If they win completely, everyone here is going into the cattle cars.


hellblazer 01.25.12 at 12:06 am

$50. Because shah8 has reminded me (no dig intended) that I need to go and enrich some local dentist sooner rather than later, and so should contribute here while I still have money, or indeed teeth.


Wax Banks 01.25.12 at 1:40 am

My wife and I try to make some help-the-good-guys donations each year around the holidays (Med Students for Choice, National Network of Abortion Funds, Drs w/out Borders, etc.); it’s been a crazy year, but we’ll pull the lever for one or another unborn-American-killing monstrosity in short order, I’m sure.


DelRey 01.25.12 at 2:14 am

Physical confrontation and constant vigilance are the only things that will save us.

I suspect your “physical confrontation” did more harm than good. What ended those clinic blockades was the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and similar state and local laws, not being “as ruthless and vicious as [your] opponents.”


Natilo Paennim 01.25.12 at 3:00 am

72: Shows what you know. We kicked OR to the curb by going where they went — to their fake churches, to the abortion clinics — wherever we had to go. When we were done with them, OR wasn’t welcome in the most far-right churches in the region. Cops, courts and well-meaning liberals had nothing to do with that. Likewise, FACE has been used to harass and SLAPP several far left organizations, but good luck learning about that from the corporate media. If FACE was so great, why has the power of the Xtian far right continued to grow and grow and grow, like a cancer?

See, the thing you don’t understand, is that these crypto-fascists aren’t human beings. Sure, they have human cells, and perhaps some human physiognomy, but a 180 lb. tumor is just as human as they are. If you had a 180 lb. tumor, would you pass a law restricting its access to the other parts of your body? Would you have an interfaith dialogue with it? No, no you would not. You would have it cut out of you, and you’d take the radiation treatments, and you’d take the chemotherapy, because, even at the risk of harming some of the healthy parts of your body, it would be worth it to be rid of the thing. There’s no half-measures when you’re fighting fascism. Sabate knew that, so did Assata Shakur.

What would it take for you to actually take this seriously? If they killed your friend in a bomb outrage, would you take it seriously then? If your niece died from a back-alley abortion, would you take it seriously then? If they came for people like me in the night, and waterboarded us and locked us up in a secret foreign prison, would you take it seriously then? No, you’d keep going on, blithely unaware of how hot the water in that pan was getting, until it was too late to jump out.

Remember the heroes of Cable Street!


Tedra Osell 01.25.12 at 4:24 am

Emma, hellblazer, Wax: Thanks :)


ehj2 01.25.12 at 3:25 pm

What a wonderful idea. It’s difficult for me to acknowledge a good deed, even though I know I wouldn’t have accomplished this without your prompting. I had to convince myself that this note was part of the contribution to make it make sense (that without this note my gift was but half a gift). And then I had to convince myself I wasn’t simply rationalizing. It’s hard to see the water, but sometimes I can do the right thing even though my motives are obdurately resistant to my understanding.

Thank you for who you are and what you do.


Tedra Osell 01.25.12 at 9:46 pm

Thanks, ehj2.


DelRey 01.26.12 at 12:48 am

Natilo, I think your comments are so absurd they’d make a great recruiting tool for the anti-abortion movement.


ehj2 01.27.12 at 2:50 pm

Stumbled upon this article during my daily reading. I wish I’d had this a week ago.

I wish I hadn’t needed to fix a tractor and could have followed out the conversation. This would have given me opportunity to fine-tune my comments, and practice at public conversation – it’s immeasurably more difficult than it looks. I wish I could write with greater fidelity what I actually mean when I first write it.

Slightly off topic but this thread is at an end and I’m not obviously interrupting anything. I go out of my way to read “feminist” literature (and I wish that word wasn’t starting to feel as estranged as the term “liberal”). You have my vote as the most engaging and thought-provoking and accessible feminist of your generation. You probably feel the burden of your wisdom (I can feel you cringe but it’s the right word). Any form of wealth is less an entitlement than it is an obligation and I suspect you hear the clamor out here (and within you) for a book. You have a unique voice.

I’m heartened you’re writing here, that you can pace yourself with other writers and choose your battles at your leisure in what remains a long slog.

The blog is an interesting medium and I suspect we will discover one of its strengths is its capacity to mix the impersonal with the personal, the abstract conversations about life with the direct experience of it. As commenters, we will learn how weak the anecdote is as argument, how useless anger and despair and ad hominem attack.

I think public conversations are about citizenship and participation in community, so even though I’m horrible at it, I feel some obligation to try. It’s an ironic progression. At one time we had to read a lot of print to be informed citizens. Now we have to comment at blogs to learn how to have public voices as participating citizens. And we end up starting to wonder, “If I can’t persuade someone else, how did I manage to persuade myself?”


The Economics of Second Trimester Abortions



Josh K-sky 01.27.12 at 10:25 pm

‘A Modest Proposal for Roe Day’ should be something else. Something funny.

Clearly, it should be this.

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