Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania has come up with a great way to raise money, as well as morale.
Now, I don't know what the numbers are, but it seems to me that most Planned Parenthoods in the US have problems with protesters standing outside, hurling insults at staff, volunteers, and patients alike. Not only does this cause distress (and occasionally physical harm, if things get violent) to the staff, it greatly increases their needed volunteer base, because they need people who will accompany patients past the protesters, and it makes some patients less likely to come to PP to get the care they need.
This may strike some protesters as a good thing, but what they probably don't realise is that when they heckle and shame people who cross their picket line, they're preventing more than just abortions. For many women, too poor to pay for health insurance, but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, Planned Parenthood is the only option they have for healthcare, period. When you picket a PP clinic you make it harder for a lot of women to get basic medical care. And when you cause a PP to close, you make it impossible.
So, in order to raise morale, and make it easier for the staff and volunteers to face the stream of insults and epithets every day, PPSP has come up with the Pledge-a-Picketer program. From the website:
You decide on the amount you would like to pledge for each
protester (minimum 10 cents). When protesters show up on our sidewalks, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania will count and record their number each day from October 1 through November 30, 2005. We will place a sign outside the health center that tracks pledges and makes protesters fully aware that their actions are benefiting PPSP. At the end of the two-month campaign, we will send you an update on protest activities and a pledge reminder.
If you pledge 30 cents per protester, and PPSP has 100 protesters in October and 160
protesters in November, your donation would be 78 dollars for the entire two-month campaign.
Similar to sponsoring a runner in a charity marathon, your pledge total can be capped at a pre-set amount, if desired.
I think this is a brilliant idea, and I encourage anyone who cares about women's health to give what you can, or at least spread the word.
(Via Chris Baldwin)