Comedians Raise $50,000 in Online Pro-Choice Telethon For Texas Women
Lady Parts Justice, a pro-choice organization, organized an online telethon Monday night to raise money for women denied access to abortion clinics under new Texas law. The event, called “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can Choose” (based on the popular quote from the Texas-set television show Friday Night Lights), deviated from the typical hokey or boring tone expected from most telethons.
Comedians Sarah Silverman and Lizz Winstead hosted the showcase, which featured several comedians, most of whom were female. Guests included Amy Schumer, Beastie Boy Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, and the entire cast of the Netflix hit Orange is the New Black. The three-hour event raised more than $50,000, but the auction item that received the most attention was a napkin, ahem, used by Silverman.
On MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, Winstead explained that by using humor in the event (at one point, a giant vulva paraded across stage), abortion becomes a less taboo subject and can engage people to get involved who normally wouldn’t. Silverman added that some people are “really, really scared of vaginas.”
Once the show started, its hashtag, #TexasWomenForever, quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. (We gathered some of the notable tweets from last night, including a shoutout from Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, whose filibuster against abortion restrictions propelled her to the national spotlight, and an offer from celebrity chef Mario Batali to match donations to some of the people who didn’t support the cause.)
The telethon comes in the middle of a legal battle over new abortion regulations passed earlier this year that requires doctors who perform the procedure to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. On October 28, federal district judge Lee Yeakel ruled the provision unconstitutional, only for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to allow the law to go into effect pending their ruling. Opponents of the law have asked the Supreme Court to issue an injunction, arguing one third of the abortion providers have ceased offering the procedure.
Lady Parts Justice is streaming the entirety of the telethon on its website, which you can watch below: