Saving Bristol

Comedian Doug Stanhope (also a proud atheist) is raising money…

(If you’re not sure you want to hear the end of that sentence, you’re probably right.)

The money — $25,000 — would go to Bristol Palin, Sarah Palin‘s underage daughter, so that she can pay for an abortion and begin a new life away from her family:

… I, Doug Stanhope, am offering you, Bristol Palin, the sum of 25,000 dollars so that you can abort your child and move out of that draconian home. I have also set up a PayPal link so that others around the world can help increase this amount to ease the burden of starting out on your own at such an early age.

I was once in a similar situation where I’d accidentally impregnated a girl and she had to make that same fateful decision that now faces you. It was easy for her – she didn’t have a fascist, oligarch parent, the entire Republican Party or the sneering eyes of the Christian Right to contend with, much less a daft, puppet boyfriend who’s just waiting for the cameras to stop rolling so he can bolt like a gazelle.

We made the right choice and rather than end up bitter rivals in court battles over custody or support, we are great friends who high-five over our decision and have all the free time and disposable income that young mothers never know. I now pay it forward and offer some of that money to you…

It’s not a joke or anything. Stanhope’s serious about this.

No word on whether Bristol would accept the money if offered…

In case she doesn’t, though, the money will still go to a good cause:

… If for some strange reason Bristol doesn’t take me up on my offer, I will give all funds donated to www.LilithFund.org who help underprivileged women get free or low-cost abortions. I will donate it on election day in Sarah Palin’s name…

I know some of you will find this humorous while most of you will see this as completely tasteless.

Normally, I’d find this sort of thing funny, but it just isn’t striking me that way this time around. I’m not sure why. It’s not like I’m offended by it…

In any case, if you’ve ever heard Doug Stanhope’s standup routines, this type of stunt is actually pretty tame for him.

Either way, the money would be going to a good cause.

(via What Would Ray Do?)

  • Sarah T.

    Wow, really? Really? “Pro choice” means that we accept the choice that Bristol is making, despite her home situation. What an unbearably presumptuous thing to do.

  • http://creationistidiocy.blogspot.com Luke

    1st rule of comedy: Be funny.

    Fail.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    Humourous and tasteless are not mutually exclusive. As for paying for an abortion I live in England where we have a national health service. I pay taxes that go towards all sorts of things including hospitals that provide abortions for free. I see no reason to spent any more than I am for something that is, essentially, a personal choice. I cannot believe that Bristol Palin is unaware of the option even if she rejects it on religious grounds. That’s up to her and I wish her luck with her decision as I would if she had chosen to abort.

  • http://www.chickengirl.net Chicken Girl

    It’s doubtful that Bristol is the one making the choice, though. Between her mom, the Republican party and the Christian Reich, her hands are completely tied.

  • http://stevemegan.blogspot.com Megan

    Tasteless. And not even funny.

  • brad

    You have to remember that Stanhope worked for both The Man Show and Girls Gone Wild. He’s not exactly known for his pro-women views.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    With friends like these…

  • Jen

    This is just going to convince people that liberals are bastards who are trying to force a young Christian girl to abort her baby. Nevermind that she is quite possibly being forced into this choice to marry and breed- this is something we can see, and that is not going to convince anyone we are on the good side.

    I like the idea that the money will go to a the Lilith Fund, but I have no idea he worked for the Man Show and GGW, which makes me a little sick.

  • http://spgreenlaw.wordpress.com/ spgreenlaw

    Sarah T. is 100% right. This is Bristol’s decision and us pro-choicers must recognize that. Presumptuous is the perfect word. I kept reaching for alternatives but all I could come up with was a**hole. Sometimes words fail me.

  • mikespeir

    I agree with Megan. I don’t want to be associated with this brand of “humor.”

  • Becky

    UGH! Sooo tasteless! This helps perpetuate the “pro-abortion” stereotype. Even my Obama-voting dad, in coversation said, “Pro-life and pro-abortion” — nonononono! We’re pro-CHOICE!! We’d like women to be able to CHOOSE legally, so they don’t die in back-alley abortions. It’s not like we’re saying, “Oh! You’re pregnant?? When the abortion?” Ugh.. this cheeses me off to no end because it’s plenty of ammo for pro-lifers. :/

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    ChickenGirl why do you say it is doubtful that it is her choice? She is of an age where she can make her own decisions regarding reproduction (clearly) and we must assume that she is aware of the options open to her. I’m sure that she is heavily influenced by her parents and her upbringing but that is true for all of us. I don’t see her being locked up and forced to carry a child that she does not want.

    I’m not trying to be confrontational, I’d just like to explore what it is that that seems to indicate that the choice is removed from her.

  • Gullwatcher

    This is Bristol’s decision and us pro-choicers must recognize that.

    I wish I were convinced of that, but I strongly suspect making her own decisions is not something she has ever been encouraged to do.

    Even if she were the most strong-minded 17-year-old in Alaska, it would be hard to make any other decision than the one your fire-breathing mother was forcing on you in front of the entire nation.

    Is the joke tasteless? Yes. But think of this – what if it IS Bristol’s true desire to have an abortion, ditch the redneck fiance, and run as far away from mummy as possible? I truly do respect her right to choose, either way, and if this fund makes the choice she wants for herself possible, that’s a good thing. I only wish every young woman in her position had a genuine choice. And if it isn’t what she wants, going to the Lilith fund will help other women make the choice they want.

    If she were anything like her mother, she would probably take the money anyway and then spend it however she felt like, those being the values she did certainly learn at home.

  • http://www.chickengirl.net Chicken Girl

    hoverFrog: If she did decide that she wanted an abortion, is there any way in hell she would be allowed to get one? Mommy Dearest’s political career and reputation as a proper pro-forced-birth Republican are on the line.

    Personally, I’ve got no doubt that when the pregnancy was discovered, Bristol was sat down and told in no uncertain terms, she was going to have the baby and marry the father and there were going to be no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

  • N

    The decision whether to have this baby or not belongs to Bristol. Whether her situation or her family influences it is, well, part of life. My family and life situation influence many of my decisions; ultimately, however, they are still my decisions.

    Doug Stanhope really is doing a disservice to the pro-choice population with this. Ultimately, though, it will be a good donation to the Lilith fund.

    The Man Show was funny with Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Corolla. Stanhope wasn’t as funny. Just sayin’.

  • Beowulff

    For me, the tastelessness is in bribing someone to change their mind. Convincing someone to change their mind is one thing, coercing them with money is something else completely.

  • Gabriel

    Great, just f-ing great. I won’t be surprised if McCain-Palin use this to scare the crap out of people into thinking we want to force people to abort against their will. The same way that McCain-Palin want to force people to have babies against their will. This will help McCain-Pailin. Good job. I really doubt that Bristol has any choice in this at all. If it took force to make her have this kid I’m sure force would be used.

  • http://notreallyalice.wordpress.com Alice

    It did occur to me that I’d love to see the Conservative Republican reaction if the young Ms Palin said “F this” and decided to end the pregnancy and break up with her boyfriend. She’ll have to be pretty strong for all this and I hope she’s ready.

  • Kirk

    Stanhope is a Comedian. Most of his act is “cringe humor”. Meaning it is supposed to be bothersome and tasteless. If you don’t know his act, I can understand why you might think this isn’t funny.

    He used to do a bit where he and a girlfriend had an abortion not because they weren’t ready or were incapable of raising a child, but because he really wanted to know what it feels like to kill a baby.

    He’s not for everyone, but if you have a morbid sense of humor, he’s great.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    ChickenGirl, I’m not up on Alaskan local law but is there anything in law preventing her from getting an abortion if she chooses to? I’m not saying that she wouldn’t be under a certain amount of pressure from her family, there is probably a great deal of pressure, but it remains her decision. Given that she seems to be making no effort to terminate her pregnancy or resist the publicity surrounding it I am only assume that she wants the baby and is happier to marry the father and raise a family than to defy her parents.

  • Polly

    I know some of you will find this humorous while most of you will see this as completely tasteless.

    Completely tasteless. I like Stanhope and I laugh even when he jokes about abortion.

    But, offering money only IN ORDER TO abort, as opposed to the reason so many young girls abort, becuase of a lack of money or other resources, strikes me as sick. Why doesn’t he donate to girls who are pressured to abort by lousy economic circumstances?

    Why is “choice” always invoked when the choice is to keep the baby?

    If you’re pro-choice, it should be just as much a “win” when a girl/woman freely decides to keep a baby as when she aborts it.

  • PrimeNumbers

    Tasteless idea, and narrow-minded. Sure, Bristol herself probably has little choice in the matter, but asking her to abort her child is just wrong.

  • Ned

    Stanhope cracks me up. I watched a lot of his drunken standup and it’s quite funny. Go Stanhope!

  • Gullwatcher

    @hoverfrog

    I’m not up on Alaskan local law but is there anything in law preventing her from getting an abortion if she chooses to? I’m not saying that she wouldn’t be under a certain amount of pressure from her family, there is probably a great deal of pressure, but it remains her decision.

    Think about it. Even if she wants an abortion, her mother clearly doesn’t want her to have one. Alaska is a small place and Wasilla a small town. Even if McCain loses, Sarah Palin is still a power in the state, and she has shown that she is more than happy to have anyone fired who crosses her. If McCain does win, anyone who ‘conspired’ (and I’m sure they would use that word) to allow Bristol to have an abortion would be in such deep shit they would probably need to flee the country, and fast.

    Would you want an unprinicpled and vindictive state governor or, worse, vice-president, coming after you? Cheney shot someone in the face and got away without so much as a slap on the wrist for negligence, why not Palin?

    @Gabriel

    I won’t be surprised if McCain-Palin use this to scare the crap out of people into thinking we want to force people to abort against their will. The same way that McCain-Palin want to force people to have babies against their will.

    What? How is offering money ‘forcing’ her to get an abortion, but sticking her in front of an entire nation as a paragon of pro-life isn’t forcing her not to have one? Either pressure to have one or not have one counts as force, or it doesn’t. You can’t have it both ways.

    And in no way is it comparable to what McCain and Palin want to do – making abortions illegal is genuine force and far removed from offering financial help to get one.

    @Polly

    But, offering money only IN ORDER TO abort, as opposed to the reason so many young girls abort, becuase of a lack of money or other resources, strikes me as sick.

    Check the wording. The money is NOT offered only she gets an abortion, the exact words are “so that you can”. An offer of possibility, not a bribe to make her get one, and as much to enable her to get out from under her family’s thumb as anything else.

    It’s still tacky, but you guys are making it seem far worse than it is. Even if you don’t like it, as long as the money is freely offered rather than conditional, as it does seem to be, then it’s a genuine offer of help.

  • http://www.fabulouslyinthecity.com Chris (Fabulously in the City)

    Oh this is just so wrong! Let her make the choice she wants to! God, I’m getting angry over this….grrr……..

  • absent sway

    What Polly said. Thank you.

  • Polly

    @Gullwatcher,

    I, Doug Stanhope, am offering you, Bristol Palin, the sum of 25,000 dollars so that you can abort your child and move out of that draconian home.

    I don’t think I misinterpreted. If he meant something else, it’s incumbant upon him (or anyone claiming that) to make it clear that it’s not for an abortion AND also moving out. He seems to be expressing a desire that she do both with his money. He could have said “make a free decision about your body and move out.”

  • Funkshun

    The first rule of comedy is actually: Timing

    Think he might of missed the mark a bit.

  • Aj

    Why is raising money for an abortion “pro-abortion”? He’s not marching her to a clinic at gun point. It’s still her decision. Although all of this is obviously a joke and many of you don’t have a sense of humour. This is for a well deserved charity in reality. They also raise money for abortions but that also doesn’t mean they’re “pro-abortion”. The women who come to them are still given the choice. In both cases the position is clearly pro-abortion, if you want it. That’s pro-choice to me.

    I suggest that the irrational reaction here to this comedian is because of a hostility to abortion present even in the pro-choice population. They excuse themselves for being pro-choice, they say they’d like to reduce them, they give back street abortions as a reason for legalizing abortion. This all assumes there’s something wrong with abortions to begin with.

    If you have reservations about this joke it should be that the subject is not a public figure by choice, and it is refering to a very private matter that couldn’t be defended as a topic of public interest.

  • Gullwatcher

    @Polly

    Exactly. He said “so that you can”, and he did NOT say “only if you do”. That’s a choice as to what she can do with the money, not a condition for obtaining it.

    I’m noticing a very unpleasant trend in this thread. Apparently, an unimaginable amount of social, familial, political, and public pressure on a 17 year old girl to have a baby results in “her free choice”, but offering her money to do as she pleases is somehow “coercion”.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    We’d like women to be able to CHOOSE legally, so they don’t die in back-alley abortions.

    Does the “they” in this sentence refer to the woman having the abortion, or the woman being aborted? Because the woman being aborted would die no matter where the abortion is performed.

  • Aj

    Gullwatcher,

    I’m noticing a very unpleasant trend in this thread. Apparently, an unimaginable amount of social, familial, political, and public pressure on a 17 year old girl to have a baby results in “her free choice”, but offering her money to do as she pleases is somehow “coercion”.

    It’s a bit of a masquerade, some people who call themselves pro-choice seem to only consider the legal status, but they’re certainly not pro-choice in any other context.

    Daniel Hoffman,

    Does the “they” in this sentence refer to the woman having the abortion, or the woman being aborted? Because the woman being aborted would die no matter where the abortion is performed.

    Does the “woman” in this paragraph refer to the embryo or fetus being aborted? Because a woman can’t be aborted.

  • Pseudonym

    I find it amusing that everyone wants to put words in Bristol’s mouth. We have no idea what she thinks, or what she would think if things had been different. After all, if she hadn’t had an anti-sex-education bigot for a mother, she might have not become pregnant in the first place. We don’t know.

    This is a political stunt. Bristol is not a public figure, and in particular is not running for office. IMO she is completely off-limits.

    I would say “Doug Stanhope should know better”, but he doesn’t. He probably thinks he’s being edgy, but he’s actually just being stupid.

  • spence

    I think there are three things that need to be said:

    First of all it is a part of the job description of any comedian to not treat anything with seriousness or gravitas, especially guys like Stanhope.

    Second, I hardly think he expects Bristol to accept this money, but is using this situation as an excuse to raise money for this charity he mentions.

    And third, just for the record, he has largely disowned both the man show and girls gone wild as ‘paycheck’ jobs.

  • Maria

    tastless

  • Jen

    Hoverfrog, I also said I thought Bristol doesn’t really have a choice, and I would like to point out why:

    1. Teens are often subject to their parents. I can guarantee she does not have her own insurance or doctor.

    2. “In 2005, 81% of Alaska counties had no abortion provider. 23% of Alaska women lived in these counties. In the West census region, where Alaska is located, 18% of women having abortions traveled at least 50 miles, and 5% traveled more than 100 miles.”

    3. Where is she going to get the money for the abortion? Does she have a job? Does she have a car? Can she leave to travel, says, 100 miles without alerting her parents why?

    4. If she really wanted to marry the kid, why is she waiting? Why does that kid look like he wants to run far, far away?

    Now, maybe she wouldn’t have want an abortion anyway. Maybe its a coincidence that my Christian friend whose parents are Christians, whose grandparents are Christians, who grew up in a Catholic church in America just so happens to be a Christian. But I am guessing it has more to do with the lifetime of brainwashing.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ hoverFrog

    All good points Jen but none of them actually prevent her from getting an abortion if she wants one. They just make it difficult. My personal opinion is that it should not be difficult to get an abortion but that’s beside the point.

    She’d have to travel, she’d have to borrow money and she’d have to overcome her fear of parental disapproval. Her boyfriend presumably can drive and has access to money. As she hasn’t done those things it can only be assumed that she would rather have the baby than go to these efforts.

    Who knows, perhaps she’s utterly delighted with the prospect of parenthood. I know I was first got my girlfriend pregnant.

    I may sound unsympathetic to pregnant girls in difficult situations but I’m really not. I want them to have access to medical treatments both for pregnancy and for terminations if they choose. I think that it is barbaric that medical aid is denied to people in one of the richest nations, if not the richest nation, on the planet. I also think that it is wrong to invade her privacy and speculate about her motives and opinions…even though I’m doing it too.

    Her mother thrust her into the limelight with no regard for her feelings and that is unconscionable. As far as I know, she has never asked the press to grant her family even a little privacy. I would hate to see someone with so little regard for others in a position of power. If she can ignore the needs of her own children for political gain then she can ignore the needs of the next hurricane victims, war victims, or the victims of poverty.

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  • Fozzy

    It’s funny when you read these responses and see how people who are fans of Doug’s comedy are a bit clearer of thought (whether you’re pro-choice or not). And, strangely enough, they’re not the ones being rude here. I want to know how many people actually read and understand http://www.savingbristol.com. He’s not forcing her to have an abortion but giving her the ability to choose what she wants. If she really wanted the abortion he’ll give her enough money to start her life over. $25,000 will cover the procedure, moving to a new state or country, buy a car, rent an apartment and have a financial cushion. If she actually wants to keep the baby then he’ll donate the money to someone else who wants it and that’s that. There are plenty of women who would be grateful for that kind of generosity.

    A couple thoughts need to be brought up. Those of you who say she has a choice need to remember that she’s 17 and being watched and judged by the media and her mom backed by half of the most powerful people in the US government. If she wants to make any decision for herself I bet she has to pass it by a team of people first who hardly ever let her out of their sight. There’s no way she’d be able to take money for an abortion and make it to a clinic before she was picked up as a runaway. As for this being brought up by the Republicans against the Democrats….he’s a Libertarian. He has no affiliation with the Demo’s besides wanting Obama over McCain.

    Btw….after finding out about that website I laughed my ass off for a day. Just think if she takes the offer. The media coverage alone will be priceless.

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  • Polly

    @Gullwatcher,

    Exactly. He said “so that you can”, and he did NOT say “only if you do”. That’s a choice as to what she can do with the money, not a condition for obtaining it.

    I still don’t read it that way.
    He didn’t specify what he’d do if she were willing to take the money to start a new life WITH her baby. Going by his unverifiable presumption that she wants to abort but can’t, I can only conclude that he’d withdraw the offer to Bristol and donate the money elsewhere if it turned out she wanted to carry to term.

    Did you read the full offer? His goal clearly is to help girls get abortions if they want them. So, if she doesn’t want one, but still wants the money do you think he’ll still give it to her instead of them?
    I seriously doubt it.

  • Aj

    Polly,

    He didn’t specify what he’d do if she were willing to take the money to start a new life WITH her baby. Going by his unverifiable presumption that she wants to abort but can’t, I can only conclude that he’d withdraw the offer to Bristol and donate the money elsewhere if it turned out she wanted to carry to term.

    I agree, it’s reasonable to assume that. A homeless charity will withdraw their offer of a house if the person becomes a former homeless person.

    Did you read the full offer? His goal clearly is to help girls get abortions if they want them. So, if she doesn’t want one, but still wants the money do you think he’ll still give it to her instead of them?

    And what is wrong with that?

  • Polly

    @Aj,

    And what is wrong with that?

    You’re responding to a post in an ongoing conversation I’m having with Gullwatcher. You seem to want to change the discussion to adress a different question. I’m not interested.

  • Gullwatcher

    @Polly

    So, if she doesn’t want one, but still wants the money do you think he’ll still give it to her instead of them?

    Frankly, yes, I do. I read his whole post – it’s about choice and freedom. Not to put to fine a point on it, if the money could be used for an abortion, it has to be given to her ASAP. At that point, it’s hers no matter what she does.

    And having read the whole post, I think that even if she honestly told him that she wanted to have the baby but wanted to get our from under her family’s thumb and the limelight, I think he would have no regrets about giving it to her.

    Which is still all just speculation – all we really have to go on is what he actually said. Since he didn’t make any explicit conditions in the offer but left it open as something she MAY do with the money, unless you have other evidence that there are conditions attached, it seems pointless to maintain that there are.

  • Polly

    @Gullwatcher,

    And having read the whole post, I think that even if she honestly told him that she wanted to have the baby but wanted to get our from under her family’s thumb and the limelight, I think he would have no regrets about giving it to her.

    I’d like to think that’s true, but I don’t.
    We’d have to ask him to be sure.
    I’m done.
    N-joy,
    Polly

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    I dunno, if I were Palin Sr, that I would want my daughter having kids with a schmuck whose MySpace page said “I don’t want kids.”

    Bristol Palin’s choice, in that home, under the circumstances, was no choice at all.

    Just as was McCain’s selection of a running mate.


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