Planned Parenthood's Katrina relief efforts

Save-the-sperm nutcase Dawn Eden is outraged that Planned Parenthood are offering their services in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Let’s pretend they don’t employ anyone with any transferrable medical skills whatsoever. Let’s pretend that they don’t offer a wide range of women’s health services that might be useful to some of the victims. Let’s pretend the only thing Planned Parenthood have to offer these people is abortion and contraception.

Being outraged that they make the offer is still the wrong response.

“These people need food and water; they don’t need contraceptives.” Non-sequitur. Needing food and water doesn’t take away any need you might have for contraceptives, and unless Planned Parenthood are telling the Red Cross, “Hey, no need to bother feeding these people, we’re giving them contraceptives!” the need for food and water is irrelevant to the question of whether Planned Parenthood are doing the right thing.

Planned Parenthood don’t have experience in providing food and water, but they do have experience in providing contraception, and some people do need contraception. The young girl in the shelter who’s just been raped needs emergency contraception so she doesn’t have the fear of pregnancy added to everything else she has to suffer. The couple who’ve lost everything except for each other need contraception so they can have the basic comfort of a good fuck and start feeling like human beings again. The woman who’s reached safety but lost her birth control pills along with the rest of her possessions needs replacements so she can begin putting her life in order. If you sincerely believe that these people’s needs are so wrong that attempting to meet them is worthy of outrage, I have doubts about your humanity.

Amanda Marcotte, outraged at a particularly inhuman response, vented her feelings:

Just to spite your sorry ass, I will worship the Disco Ball, say “goddammit” loud and often, commit a dozen or so acts of sodomy, consume way too many alcoholic beverages and if I was pregnant, I would get an abortion just to spite you.

I would make the same pledge out of solidarity, but I’ve put too much effort into growing my baby to consider having an abortion for anyone’s sake. Instead, I’ve done the next best thing by donating what little I can to Planned Parenthood’s relief efforts. Anyone who’s outraged at the save-the-sperm outrage, I urge you to do the same. I found it extremely therapeutic.

This entry posted in Abortion & reproductive rights, Anti-Contraceptives/EC zaniness, Katrina. Bookmark the permalink. 

36 Responses to Planned Parenthood's Katrina relief efforts

  1. 1
    Julie says:

    People really amaze me sometimes. There are many, many legitimate reasons that a woman would need her birth control, but may have had to leave it behind. I think what they are doing is awesome! It’s like you said Nick, it’s not like they are saying “forget that food and water, here’s your life-saving contraception”. Women are being raped down there (I don’t know how many, but I’ve read reports of at least four) and may want emergency contraception. Everyone should do what they can and the fact that PP is stepping up is a good thing.

  2. 2
    Yzabel says:

    Yeah, we all know that in times of catastrophe and needs like this one, we absolutely all want to see women go through unwanted pregnancies and put even more unwanted babies into this world…

    Sometimes people amaze me by their insensitivity, inhumanity and lack of logics. Sorry, but if I were to end up without housing and in a situation where I’d need my BF’s comfort or would run the risk of being raped because everything around me is screwed up (and there’ll always be assholes to hurt women in such cases just because they can), hell yes, I WOULD be frigging concerned with NOT adding the burden of a pregnancy to my life.

    Contraceptives may not be a basic, indispensable-to-survival need such as food or water, yet it’s a good thing that it’s taken into account as well. Things are already hard enough as they are.

  3. 3
    alsis39 says:

    Besides, if they weren’t there, some idiot would likely show up here to whine that PP doesn’t care about poor people, that they’re just into making money off “the culture of death” from those who can pay for care upfront and blah fucking blah. :/

  4. 4
    SaraS says:

    Complaining that PP is offering the services it has — contraception and so forth — rather than food and water seems the same as complaining that animal shelters and humane societies are offering dog and cat food. After all, isn’t food for humans more important? How dare an organization offer its actual expertise and resources!!


  5. 5
    Lauren says:

    As someone in the DE comment thread stated, the reason PP is likely promoting their service of providing contraceptives is likely legal. ALL medical organizations in the area were requested to come and help. Since PP is known only as a women’s health organization and their funds are partially federal, their services must be promoted as women’s health services (or something like that — I’m no lawyer).

    Additionally, another commenter pointed out that wading through oil and feces infested water will do much to cause gynecological problems in a large portion of those that were trapped in flooded areas for a good deal of time. These people need pelvic exams and medication.

    What Dawn is really saying is that even though the people of the Gulf Coast are in dire need of health services, they shouldn’t get health services from sinners. I can’t wait until Jesus personally turns her away from the pearly gates.

  6. 6
    Robert says:

    I went and read the post in question (not the 102 comments – who has the lifespan). She isn’t outraged that they are offering their services, or if she is, she doesn’t say so. She’s outraged that they’re using the hurricane as a “hook” for fundraising.

    Also, Amanda’s response was not to something appearing on Dawn’s blog, but to some idiot preacher. Not sure what the connection is supposed to be, there.

  7. 7
    alsis39 says:

    She’s outraged that they’re using the hurricane as a “hook” for fundraising.

    (Yawn.) I want my 25 bucks back from the Red Cross. Who do those scum think they are, using this tragedy as a “hook” for their fundraising ?!?!

  8. 8
    Nella says:

    Yeah, because creating new mouths to feed will totally help. There is NO REASON AT ALL for families who have lost everything to want to delay expansion plans (if they had any) while their city is underwater and there is a food shortage. How evil and Godless of me to think otherwise. Strangely, though, i don’t feel repentent at all…

    PS what would Dawn do if she was caught up in a disaster and the only medics around normally worked for PP? I am genuinely curious about this question, but since i’m asking it on a pro-choice blog piss-taking is obviously expected.

  9. 9
    Amanda says:

    Thanks for the link, Nick. This whole thing has really brought the worst out of some conservatives. I’ve had to ban a few people from Pandagon, and I usually don’t ban that many people. I had to ban someone for suggesting that rapists should be happy to conceive and I had to ban someone for using racial slurs to talk about Katrina victims. For some reason, this whole things seems to have unmuzzled the wackos just when it might have been wise for them to bite their tongues even harder.

  10. 10
    Jesurgislac says:

    Robert: She’s outraged that they’re using the hurricane as a “hook” for fundraising.

    Yes, I noticed that. (And wrote about it at more length here.) I found that peculiarly bizarre: does she really object to charities helping Katrina refugees also doing fundraising that makes reference to Katrina? If so, she needs to get in touch with the American Red Cross and protest, surely? Planned Parenthood is small potatoes by comparison with how the American Red Cross are “using the disaster as an excuse to raise money”.

  11. 11
    Robert says:

    I think that her objection lies in the nature of the organization. PP is not primarily a disaster-relief organization; the Red Cross is.

    To analogize, one of my work clients is a nonprofit that sends Bibles to people who can’t afford one. They will probably be sending out Bibles to Katrina victims, too. It would be a little cheesy for them to put a huge Katrina banner on their web page and talk about how important it is for donors to step up now, though; their primary mission doesn’t have anything to do with disaster relief.

  12. 12
    Jesurgislac says:

    PP is not primarily a disaster-relief organization; the Red Cross is.

    So, when PP helps out the victims of a disaster, they shouldn’t make reference to their doing so in any of their fundraising material?

    I just ran across an entry on a livejournal community from a girl who wants to bake cookies for 5000 refugees who’ve been evacuated to her home town. She wants advice on the practicalities of it, and one piece of advice was “ask for charitable donations, because that’s an awful lot of ingredients you’ll need to bake that many cookies”. I bet Robert and Dawn would object to that piece of fundraising, too.

    How ugly is it to object to refugees being helped, and to the organisation (or individual) who’s helping out asking for charitable donations to support their help? There’s an awful lot of ugliness going round right-wing circles right now directed at victims of Katrina, but this ugliness objecting to people fundraising to help the victims is somewhere right up the top of the ugly list.

  13. 13
    Sarah in Chicago says:

    I’m sorry Robert, but that is a completely DUMBARSE analogy, and you really should know it.

    There are very real and immediate needs for health services, including reproductive health services (like PP) in situations like this (hell, I think if there is EVER going to be a justification for EC, I think this is it … not that this will convince the crazies on the other side mind you), but there is no need for fucking bibles in any kind of immediacy.

    Maybe this is my atheism speaking, but there is no connection. Yeah, I would be taken aback if I saw a Katrina banner on a bible distribution charity’s website, because there is no emergency need. Not in the fucking slightest. But there IS a need for PP’s services, and I think they are obligated by their mission to not just step up the plate here like they are, but also to solicit donations on that basis.

    Look, I am normally willing to give credence to your positions as generally something I will disagree with but at least respect (normally), but this time, that is bullshit, and you know it.

  14. 14
    jennifer says:

    Here is the email I received from Planned Parenthood:

    Dear Friend,

    On television, in the papers, and over the airwaves … you have seen the shocking devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in the gulf coast region. Today we stand together as a nation, each of us stunned by the magnitude of this natural disaster and by its impact on the lives of tens of thousands of Americans.

    With a heavy heart, I must tell you that this devastation has directly reached the Planned Parenthood family. Our health centers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama stand in various states of disarray and disaster. How bad is the damage? We have not even been able to get to many of our clinics because they are under water.

    I can tell you that medical supplies and equipment have been destroyed, and our clinics are being flooded with requests for services. Frankly, we urgently need your assistance to get the supplies and resources needed to provide that help.

    Your immediate help is urgently requested. Please make an emergency gift today to help the women, children, and men caught in this disaster. I pledge to you that 100% of your gift will go directly to the Planned Parenthood affiliates and health centers in the affected region … so that they can serve the women, children, and men who have nowhere else to turn.

    Planned Parenthood staff in this region, and beyond, are determined to do all that we can to serve every person who comes through our doors. Your support will allow us to serve those most in need during this unprecedented crisis.

    Thank you,

    Karen Pearl
    Interim President
    Planned Parenthood Federation of America
    On behalf of the Planned Parenthood community

    Robert’s analogy to Bible fundraising is complete idiocy. If you can’t understand why Planned Parenthood is trying to raise funds for the thousands of women who are going to need their services then, well, just fuck off.

  15. 15
    mythago says:

    PP is not primarily a disaster-relief organization; the Red Cross is.

    You’re right that she is objecting to “the nature of” PP, but your analogy is (as I’m sure you’re quite aware) specious; if an organization is in fact providing disaster relief, does it matter if disaster relief is the organization’s “primary” purpose? That test would excoriate most churches that raised funds for Katrina and provided aid–after all, very few churches have disaster relief as their “primary purpose.”

  16. 16
    Robert says:

    OK. You’ve all now demonstrated that it’s possible to work up a perfectly good head of steam denouncing Dawn for her thoughtcrime.

    Why, then, the necessity to misrepresent what she was objecting to?

  17. 17
    Jesurgislac says:

    Why, then, the necessity to misrepresent what she was objecting to?

    Oh, come off it, Robert, you’re not that naive.

    Dawn plainly objects to the purpose of Planned Parenthood in itself.

    One may (and I did) ridicule what Dawn claimed was her objection, that they’re mentioning Katrina in fundraising appeals, because we take that complaint seriously, Dawn needs to complain to the American Red Cross much more urgently than Planned Parenthood.

    Nick Kiddle did not represent Dawn Eden’s ugly little rant. It’s plain Dawn is objecting to people being helped in a way she disapproves of.

  18. 18
    Jesurgislac says:

    Oops. That should have been:

    Nick Kiddle did not misrepresent Dawn Eden’s ugly little rant. It’s plain Dawn is objecting to people being helped in a way she disapproves of.

    PIMF. INC.

  19. 19
    mythago says:

    You’ve all now demonstrated that it’s possible to work up a perfectly good head of steam denouncing Dawn for her thoughtcrime.

    Invoking Orwell because people on one blog criticized an idiot post on another is beneath you, Robert. I’d expect that from a generic troll, but from you I am used to better.

  20. 20
    Nick Kiddle says:

    I went and read the post in question (not the 102 comments – who has the lifespan). She isn’t outraged that they are offering their services, or if she is, she doesn’t say so. She’s outraged that they’re using the hurricane as a “hook” for fundraising.

    If you read the comments, it might become clear to you that the objection extends to the very idea of offering contraception to Katrina victims. The line about needing food and water, not contraception was a quote or near-paraphrase from said comments.

    Also, Amanda’s response was not to something appearing on Dawn’s blog, but to some idiot preacher. Not sure what the connection is supposed to be, there.

    Amanda can correct me, but I got the impression she was blowing her top after reading a stack of lunatic responses to Katrina and the preacher’s remark was the final straw, if you can forgive a slightly mixed metaphor. Also, it was some combination of the two that led me to donate and to urge others to donate.

  21. 21
    Amanda says:

    OK. You’ve all now demonstrated that it’s possible to work up a perfectly good head of steam denouncing Dawn for her thoughtcrime.

    Translation: Arguing with conservatives who actually want to take away your freedom is censorship.

    Really, it’s rich defending someone who wants to force teenage rape victims to bear children by arguing that meanie liberals who argue with her are making her less free. Dawn’s smart enough to know she’s a woman and she makes it quite clear that women shouldn’t be free.

  22. 22
    Amanda says:

    I’ve been watching the news coverage of this disaster a lot the last few days … and you know what’s been sticking out in my mind most about these images? All of the pregnant women who are trying to survive.

    Bean, I know it’s a not a whole lot of comfort, but it will comfort you to know that I’ve gotten word back from 2 people working for the medical relief effort in the Astrodome and pregnant women are being examined by obstetricians.

  23. 23
    Kyra says:

    I’m thinking that conservatives in general have a problem with accepting help with their “saviors of the world” delusion they’ve got going. My grandma heard on TV that something like 27 or 34 other countries offered aid, and Condoleeza Rice turned all of them down, saying “We can take care of ourselves.” Well, why the FUCK aren’t we, then?! Unless she’s saying “We rich and/or white people can take care of ourselves; the rest of the people aren’t worth saving, so they can die in order that the United States doesn’t appear weak by accepting aid from other, lesser countries.”

    Regarding Dawn the Heartless and Sadistic Traitor to Womankind: Nasty bitch! Not only are health care services (which PP happens to PROVIDE) kind of at a premium down there, with critical injuries probably taking precedence over basic health care, but in addition, it just so happens that women who’ve just lost all they had ARE NOT LESS DESERVING of contraceptives just because of the situation they are in. THIS IS NOT A TOSS-UP BETWEEN FOOD AND CONTRACEPTION! People are NOT going without food so that others can have birth control! The two are mutually exclusive—the existance of one does not threaten the other, and therefore if you can have both, SO MUCH THE BETTER!

    If she manages to screw up any of PP’s services in the general area, I would advise anyone who becomes pregnant due to lack of birth control to sue her for contributing to their suffering by denying them the medication they needed to avoid the condition of pregnancy, or something like that. Maybe sue her for the cost of the abortion, since they had that expense in part because of her. Add medical expenses and emotional trauma.

    Regarding Amanda’s very sweet rant—If I were pregnant, I’d attempt to have the fetus removed alive (technically not an abortion) and then have it put in one of those preemie things and shipped to Dawn somehow, with a not telling her that she has no right to expect me to support something I don’t want just because she values it, and if she wants it then SHE can support it. Probably dead by then, but oh well, that’s what would have happened anyway.

    Dawn wants to save babies? Fine. Just so long as they’re not in the bodies of women who don’t want to support them.

    Much congratulations to Planned Parenthood, by the way. After the humane society, they’re the charity I’d be happiest to see if I were one of the disaster victims.

  24. 24
    Rock says:

    It is hard to understand that a person who’s basic belief system is supposed to be love could think BC is the only issue that PP deals with and how that isn’t reason enough. I try to get to where she can be coming from. Perhaps in Dawn’s mind the fact that some are dying from lack of immediate needs, food, water and shelter creates a situation where her narrow view only allows her to see that having a kid is a much lower threat than dying without clean water. (Who knows?) Her distrust of PP obviously taints her view.

    When one chooses to go to the extremes on the other side do we look any better? Mississippi has the highest per capita giving of any state in the nation, well over $2000.00 per person, and has for some years. (In spite of us being the lowest per capita income state in the union.) This is largely attributed to the fact that it is the center of the Bible belt. Real people giving as a response to faith.

    Working in disaster areas in the South, while feeding and cleaning and picking up the pieces I have prayed with many, many individuals suffering from trauma and loss. The Spiritual needs are as profoundly deep as healthcare in times of crisis. As many in the South are Christian it is completely consistent to offer a cup of water, a word of prayer (and a long hug), a Bible if they wish to have one, and BC and healthcare as that is a very human need. I also think clean needles and meds for addicts would help too, how would you think kicking heroin would be in the midst of this sort of isolation and filth? (I wrote a paper supporting needle distribution as part of a holistic outreach program, it included a section on condom distribution as the Christian response to stop infection vectors in the drug community, keep folks alive until the miracle can happen. I know some church based urban outreach that already do. Ours is not there yet.)

    There are numerous tragedies occurring from this, ignorance and fear are a bad combination. Let’s not succumb to the same sort of thing. Blessings.

  25. 25
    Amanda says:

    Rock, the mayor of New Orleans pointed out that a huge factor in the criminal behavior is that the flood has caused an epidemic of drug addicts going through withdrawal all at once. That is one of the reasons that people are breaking into hospitals.

  26. 26
    Ampersand says:

    Nick, you wrote, “Planned Parenthood are offering their services…” Shouldn’t that be “Planned Parenthood is offering their services?” Planned Parenthood, in this context, is singular.

    Also, why no link to Dawn’s post? I think it’s important that readers have an easy means of reading for themselves what you’re criticizing.

    (Speaking of the original post, Dawn, in a moment of awe-inspiring hypocripsy, has now updated her post with a fundraising plea for “crisis pregnancy centers.”)

    Robert, I read Dawn’s post and thought she was reacting both to the fundraising and to what PP provides. Reading further into the comments, Dawn herself clears up any doubt: she is definitely outraged over the services PP provides. Dawn writes: “My point is that Planned Parenthood, unlike true relief organizations, is not providing care for those ‘real babies’–only the means to prevent and abort them.”

    Since Dawn herself says that her point is about the services (BC and abortion) that PP provides, calling Nick’s post a “misrepresentation” of Dawn’s point seems unjustifiable. Nick is not obliged to address every point Dawn makes, and the particular claim he makes – that Dawn is outraged over PP providing services to Katrina victims – is well supported by what Dawn herself has said.

  27. 27
    wolfangel says:

    Use of either singular or plural is acceptable for groups/collective nouns, especially in British English — American English not so much (Canadian English sometimes, it depends).

    (I have nothing else to add about the PP story; I think it’s good that they’re helping, and unsurprising that someone who is anti-contraceptives is anti-contraceptives in this specific situation.)

  28. 28
    Robert says:

    Amp, if she does indeed go there in her comments, then I retract my statement.

  29. 29
    Amanda says:

    Honestly, the saddest thing is the way Dawn and them all pretend that they are *so* concerned about PP’s single-handed genocide via birth control of black people that is, suffice it to say, an urban myth of the ugliest sort. In the meantime, conservative commentators and politicians are fantasizing openly about using this flood as an excuse to tear New Orleans to the ground and rebuild it so that the former, predominantly black citizens won’t be able to return. From that vantage point, it’s awful convienent that the foot-dragging by the federal government maximized the number of black citizens who died in this tragedy that might do things like resist being pushed out of their homes.

    I’m just sayin’.

  30. 30
    Amanda says:

    Or to be more explicit–if you were actually concerned about conspiring against black people, you would be WAY more worried about actual living, breathing, real black people who are in very real danger of being permanently displaced rather than theorizing about the potential babies being forcibly conceived in midst of the anarchy that New Orleans devolved into for 5 days.

  31. 31
    Rock says:


    Yeah, it is kind of a no brainer, all commerce has been disrupted, dealers too. While some folks might think that it is too bad, the dope fiends get what they deserve, I see them as a desperate group of people if dealt with prior to the storm would be less of a danger now. Faced with detox or going to a hospital full of what I need I would go to the hospital. It would be far easier and safer to set up a room for distributing meds and a place to watch them, the relationships that develop often are just what many addicts need to get to where they can kick. Can you imagine how many are on the same rig, with no clean water, no bleach, and no alcohol? However, if the urban poor are ignored, what kind of response should we expect for the addict? Poverty is not a crime against the poor; it is an indictment on the society that allows it. Blessings.

  32. 32
    Fielder's Choice says:

    I want to second Lauren’s point that wading through filthy water is likely to cause ob-gyn problems in women and UTIs in both sexes. What will be the upshot of this? For one thing, sterility, and for another thing, miscarriages. Sorry, but an organization which encourages people to get their embryo miscarried by choice and their systems sterilized, especially when they can’t easily pay for the upkeep of more children, doesn’t sound like the most sensitive ob-gyn provider to Orleans Parish at the moment.

  33. 33
    Elena says:

    This brings to mind the movie “Saved” when the pregnant fundamentalist teenager finds herself needing to go to a PP-like clinic for pre-natal care. When a friend spots her leaving, she pretends she was there to drop off anti-abortion literature.

    I know this is frivolous and beside the point, but pro-life wackos are such a drag. They ruined a parade in a small town nearby here recently and all they do is write letters to th editor with righteous indignation about how they did it to rattle people.

  34. 34
    Jesurgislac says:

    Fiddler’s Choice: Sorry, but an organization which encourages people to get their embryo miscarried by choice and their systems sterilized, especially when they can’t easily pay for the upkeep of more children, doesn’t sound like the most sensitive ob-gyn provider to Orleans Parish at the moment.

    What deeply, deeply bizarre things you anti-choice anti-life people say. How do your minds work?

    Not to mention that you have Planned Parenthood’s mission exactly reversed. You should check their mission statement on their website before you post.

  35. 35
    Rock says:


    I am a little lost also, I am not sure that is what they meant, perhaps a little clarification.

  36. 36
    Search Guy says:

    I have made a customized search engine that links only to crisis situation type websites (like relief aide, evacuation planning, crisis management, etc), see … This niche portal was made after the Katrina devastation and hopefully it will assist humans in/during the next disaster….