As you may have heard, there’s a public health emergency going down in Texas, where a far-reaching abortion ban has made the procedure virtually impossible for many women to obtain. The law in question, HB 2, went into effect on November 1. It shuttered about one-third of the abortion clinics in the state, and created a new requirement that physicians who perform abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, an impossibility for many rural doctors.
The remaining clinics are now stretched to the breaking point, and the nonprofit foundations that help women pay for abortions are quickly running out of money. The Supreme Court is now deciding whether to block the law’s implementation while it’s being appealed in a lower court; in a brief to the Supremes, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott argued that the law wasn’t hurting anyone. No one he cares about, anyway.
A group of New York women wanted to help. Comedians Lizz Winstead and Sarah Silverman teamed up with the New York Abortion Access Fund last night to host “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can Choose,” an online telethon broadcast from a New York basement that raised money for four Texas abortion access funds: the Lilith Fund, Texas Equal Access Fund, Fund Texas Women and Whole Woman’s Texas Action Fund. With the assistance of some other famous ladies and a person in a velvety soft-looking vulva costume, they raised $50,000 over the course of three hours. They even got props from Democratic gubernoatorial hopeful Wendy Davis, who tweeted her thanks. And, as you can probably imagine, they also made large swaths of the right-leaning Internet spitting mad.
Winstead and Silverman seem to have anticipated how an abortion telethon would be received by #tcot. As the night went on, they did a periodic “troll check” from the stage, reading tweets from anti-abortion folks, many of whom waded into the telethon’s hashtag, #TexasWomenForever, to share their thoughts.
At the end of the evening, Winstead also announced the upcoming launch of “V to Shining V,” which she described as “a massive interactive website … to go into all the different states and expose all these assholes.” By that, she meant politicians restricting abortion access, at both the local level and statewide offices. It’s set to go live in about six months, and will surely piss off the remaining five anti-abortion folks they didn’t manage to reach last night.
And now, as long as we’re here, let’s look at a sampling of the angry tweets about the telethon. Buckle up:
If you are an actual person donating money to an abortion telethon, you are pathological. Period. #TexasWomenForever
— Milkshakes Anytime (@MomMilkshake) November 19, 2013
— Bryan R.. (@youthpastorbry) November 19, 2013
When you see something as bizzare as an abortion TELETHON, you pull over and watch in horror: http://t.co/vDDH9UiAKl
— Inez Feltscher (@InezFeltscher) November 19, 2013
— RightGirlNYC (@RightGirlNYC) November 19, 2013
#TexasWomenForever Moral, upstanding women are the backbone of society. Watering down morals is destructive to everyone.
— Ian (@Ian2813) November 19, 2013
— Michael (@TerpNC) November 19, 2013
Hope and dead children. #TexasWomenForever
— Erin Dillard (@TheFlyingMs) November 19, 2013
This term reproductive freedom. Are y’all serious. You have the choice to reproductive freedom before spreading your legs.#TexasWomenForever
— Penelope George (@Kitten4Liberty) November 19, 2013
— ••• katie ••• (@PatriotDrummer) November 19, 2013
— Zayin (@zainiboy915) November 19, 2013
It goes on like that, but you probably get the point. And yes, that last one is Wendy Davis as a cleavage-y Hitler. (Update, 7:30 a.m.: That eye-popping meme has already been deleted.) It was a lively evening.