It turned out to be a hoax - but the message behind it is totally (and uncomfortably) real...
‘I am a 26 year old female and I am currently 7 weeks pregnant. I have every intention of having an abortion, but I’m giving you a chance to stop it.’
Welcome to the internet’s most controversial crowdfunding page. In a bid to highlight the belief that many pro-lifers don’t actually care about an unborn baby’s future – that they just care about telling women what to do (and not do) with their bodies – an anonymous student wrote asking for donations. If the money she received exceeded $1 million, she’d put it all in a trust fund for the baby, continue the pregnancy and give the child up for adoption – ensuring it would go on to lead a happy life. If she didn’t receive enough, then she’d have a termination as soon as possible.
Of course, as is the nature of the internet, the page has since been revealed to be a hoax, promoting Chad Kultgen’s new novel, Strange Animals.
But that doesn’t actually make it any less powerful.
‘I hope to give the American public a concrete example that the [pro life movement] doesn’t actually care about the life of a child, they care about controlling the lives and choices of women,’ Chad’s character writes. ‘The pro-life movement cares very little about saving lives and far more about controlling women by minimising their choices in a wide variety of ways.’
It makes sense. But – predictably – since the page went live (and before the hoax was revealed), criticism from the far right has flooded the internet, as they struggle to take the message on board.
‘It’s morally questionable to pay someone who is blackmailing you – as she dangles the threat of ending her pregnancy up as a political bargaining chip,’ writes Christian Today. ‘Life is priceless, but how much should we pay this woman? Absolutely nothing.’
‘This smacks of extortion,’ 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. What would stop her or a thousand other women from just getting pregnant and thinking the pro-life movement would give them a million dollars?’
As it stands, abortion is heavily restricted across America – something that drives women to desperate (and dangerous) measures in an attempt to retain control of their bodies. Who can forget this woman, whose bid to terminate her pregnancy saw her faced with a potential murder charge, and the threat of the death penalty. Closer to home, in Ireland, Sarah Ewarts was forced to spend thousands of pounds flying to the UK for a termination, after discovering that her baby was suffering from a terrible foetal disease. In Poland, women are resorting to drones to get access to the abortion pills they desperately need.
So, while asking pro-lifers to put their money where their mouth is and prove how much they care about one unborn child’s future might make you feel uncomfortable, its value can’t actually be underestimated.