Supporters of Planned Parenthood are trying to boost the abortion giant’s shaky bottom line by selling sex toys, uterus-themed emojis and sex-positive wrapping paper.
The merchandise may be X-rated, but abortion opponents say it’s just another argument in favor of weaning Planned Parenthood off taxpayer funding.
“Planned Parenthood from the beginning has been the recipient of private charitable donations and foundation donations,” said Jay Richards, executive editor of conservative news website The Stream. “If you look at all of the corporate donations they have, it’s staggering. Even other nonprofits, like the Susan G. Komen foundation, which deals with breast cancer, give Planned Parenthood funding. And now, apparently, we have sex toy shops.”
Planned Parenthood received an outpouring of support after Republicans swept the 2016 elections and secured a coalition capable of defunding the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Among the abortion giant’s benefactors is Vibrant, a Denver-based adult toy shop that was established with the “sole mission” of supporting Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Items for sale include vibrators, dildos and rings priced anywhere from $20 to $220. One hundred percent of its proceeds go to the local Planned Parenthood chapter.
“Having a partner like Vibrant is critical to our future,” said Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which advertises Vibrant’s line of toys on its social media accounts.
Nasty Woman Sex Toys (slogan: “Resistance Never Felt So Good!”) features a similar lineup of toys and donates 20 percent of all proceeds to Planned Parenthood.
“Nasty Women of the past fought for us, but it looks like the time has come that we will need to continue to fight the good fight,” the store says on its website.
Unbound, a shop that sells handcuffs and restraints, gives its customers the option to “send a vibrator to Congress and save Planned Parenthood.” For just $15 the store will send a sex toy to a representative of your choosing, with 75 percent of proceeds going to Planned Parenthood.
Craft Boner is an adult-themed arts and crafts shop that sells, among other things, wrapping paper that says, “Santa doesn’t care if you’re a slut.” It has a “Support Planned Parenthood” line of merchandise, complete with “Sassy uterus” T-shirts and tote bags, from which 30 percent of proceeds go to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.
For just $1.99 Planned Parenthood supporters can download “Ooti the Uterus” emojis onto their smartphones. The anthropomorphized reproductive organ can dance, lift weights and read a book — and 100 percent of proceeds go to Planned Parenthood.
“Ooti’s here so we can celebrate this amazing reproductive organ as well as support the fantastic health services Planned Parenthood provides,” the emoji’s designers say. “All proceeds from Ooti will be donated to Planned Parenthood so they can continue offering accessible care to those who need it.”
Mr. Richards, a researcher at The Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business and Economics, said it’s not surprising that Planned Parenthood has attracted such staggering support from the adult industry.
“The fact that there are these tongue-in-cheek sex organizations giving support to Planned Parenthood, frankly, in a weird way, is absolutely appropriate,” Mr. Richards said. “Planned Parenthood is both an instigator and a recipient of the sexual revolution — the separation of sex and procreation at all costs, even through the death of the unborn. It makes perfect sense that lascivious organizations would give support to them.”
But fundraising for Planned Parenthood isn’t limited to the sex industry.
After the presidential race, myriad musicians, restaurants and fashion designers pitched in to try to keep the abortion giant’s doors open.
By February Brooklyn-based designer Matt Rudinski had raised $250,000 for Planned Parenthood, selling “Nevertheless, She Persisted” T-shirts on his Teespring page. He’s since expanded the line to include sweatpants, hoodies and tote bags.
Recording artists ranging from John Legend and Mary J. Blige to Bon Iver and the Foo Fighters collaborated on a curated series of recordings called “7 Inches for Planned Parenthood.” The record costs $100, with all of the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood.
Pearl Jam and the Lumineers are among the rock bands that have donated the proceeds from concerts to Planned Parenthood.
Comedian Samantha Bee, host of “Full Frontal” on TBS, raised $1 million for Planned Parenthood by hawking “Nasty Woman” T-shirts after the presidential race.
Mr. Richards said the overwhelming response to the possibility that Planned Parenthood would lose its funding speaks to the power of the abortion giant’s brand.
“I think it shows that Planned Parenthood is a very high-profile organization that’s perfectly capable of being funded by voluntary, private donations,” he said. “The fact that we know the name of Planned Parenthood — everyone in the United States knows about the organization — this is one of the most high-profile 501(c)(3) charities in the United States.”
Of course, Republicans have yet to deliver on their promise to divest Planned Parenthood’s more than $500 million in annual taxpayer funding to women’s health clinics that do not perform abortions.
Mr. Richards said seeing powerful corporations and high-profile individuals rallying behind Planned Parenthood is in its own way “distressing.”
“But at least when it’s a private organization, no one is being compelled to support the work of Planned Parenthood,” he said. “That’s the moral bright line. Taxpayer funding forces all of us to be morally complicit in the actions of Planned Parenthood. That’s why I think it’s much more morally grotesque.”
• Bradford Richardson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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