March 8, 2016; Fast Company, “Co.Exist”
In 2011, under threat of a protest by the Westboro Baptist Church, comedian Lisa Lampanelli vowed she would donate $1000 to Gay Men’s Health Crisis for every protestor who showed up to her Topeka, Kansas show. Forty-eight showed up, and she rounded the donation up to $50,000.
This attaching of a donation to behavior one finds reprehensible is perhaps not likely to stop the behavior, but it may even things out on a karmic level. Now, the launch of a website called DefundRefund adds a bit of automation to the whole concept, making it easy to fund Planned Parenthood Action—the 501(c)(4)—in the name of any GOP candidate promising to defund Planned Parenthood, the 501(c)(3).
Nick Elliott designed the site in response to the GOP debate in September 2015, where all 11 of the candidates expressed their intentions to defund Planned Parenthood.
“After that,” he said, “it was just a matter of finding the right donation model and making it a reality.”
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The site, once you get to it, is ready to provoke you with choice quotes from Republican congresspersons and presidential candidates. It places a donation button next to each, and then every week, the project sends a check to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
“We believe it’s time to get in front of the narrative and say that 81 percent of Americans want abortion to be legal and available, even if they have nuanced opinions about circumstances,” says Elliott, who sees the site as being one way to point to the gap between public opinion and political rhetoric on the issue. “When you compare any of these figures to the absolute terms in which GOP leaders are speaking, it’s pretty clear their opinions are out of sync with the silent majority. And DefundRefund gives us a chance to prove it with our pocketbooks.”
And, he promises, “If and when they actually stop threatening Planned Parenthood, we’re more than happy to take the site down.”—Ruth McCambridge