Anne Nicol Gaylor, a personal hero of mine, is celebrating her 86th birthday today (we referenced her brilliant essay “What’s Wrong With the Ten Commandments?” from her 1983 book Lead Us Not Into Penn Station in our post yesterday). She co-founded the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 1976 with her daughter Annie Laurie Gaylor, which is of course impressive enough. I met her years ago at an FFRF convention in Orlando, and it was truly an honor for me to shake her hand and say “Thanks for this.” But what I did not know until only a few years ago was that in 1976 she also founded Women’s Medical Fund, a Wisconsin non-profit that helps pay for abortions for women who cannot afford them. For over 35 years she has been the sole volunteer, answering every desperate call personally to the tune of some 800 women and girls every year, and writing every single check — almost 20,000 to date.
Because the U.S. citizenry generally and our state governments in particular are overrun with misogynous doucheweasels of the odious Christianist persuasion, even where women have a legal right to abortion for all intents and purposes access is severely restricted if not outright eliminated. Wisconsin is one of the worst states in this regard: 93 percent of Wisconsin counties presently have no abortion provider. The state has enacted pretty much the complete suite of embarrassingly stupid and hateful laws, including biased counseling required by physicians and a mandatory 24 hour delay, mandated parental consent, prohibition of private insurance coverage for abortion, insidious TRAP laws, and of course draconian prohibitions on public funding.
In a fundraising appeal in 2009 Gaylor wrote, “Of the 632 women the fund has helped so far this year, 147 were teenagers. Of these, nine were only 13 years old, and one, not yet a teen, was just 12!” Some quotes:
Abortion is a blessing. [source]
How presumptuous of someone to think the world is interested in a half-dozen or eight or 10 of their kids. [source]
There were many groups working for women’s rights, but none of them dealt with the root cause of women’s oppression–religion. [source]
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds. [source]
Nothing fails like prayer. [source]
The words ‘In God WE trust’ are not only unconstitutional, they aren’t even accurate. [source]
And here is a merry seasonal one:
For a fact, the Christians stole Christmas. We don’t mind sharing it with them, but we don’t like this pretense of theirs that it is the birthday of Jesus. It is the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun–Dies Natalis Invicti Solis. Christmas is a relic of sun worship. [source]
As you might imagine, over the decades she has gotten some pushback from some of the aforementioned doucheweasels. She was discussing her 1975 book, Abortion is a Blessing, on a Philadelphia talk show when an audience member rushed her from behind and put her in a chokehold. (I am sure Jeezus himself would have done the same!) More recently, after this article about her work appeared in The Wisconsin State Journal, a couple of CPD cases wrote bizarre essays condemning her. Here is an except from a piece by a doucheweasel of the Catholic Deacon species, which I have taken the liberty to edit for accuracy:
Anne Nicol Gaylorthe Catholic Church is doing is Evil. It should not be given the legally favored status of a “Charity” under the law. It is more akin to a War crime. After all, there is an undeclared War on the WombWomen and sheit is helping to fund it by writing checks. So far, 18,986 checksbillions of dollars and counting! The Bizarro World of Charities that Kill and Tax Deductions to those who fund Evil must be exposed. In John Paul’sthe words of someone we never heard of “Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name.” All righty, then: The Catholic Church is a woman-hating scourge, one that cannot possibly be eradicated from the planet soon enough.
Then there was this hateful @$$columnist from a paper in Milwaukee who describes himself as “generally a right-wing guy” (I know, right?! whodathunkit?) and describes Gaylor as “Sweet little old Granny Blood-Money.” He is inexplicably “astonished” and “horrified” at Gaylor’s heroic work, whereas I am astonished and horrified that people who think like this are taken seriously enough to be given columns in newspapers:
One donor last year, a California woman who’d in the past given to the anti-religion group Gaylor used to lead, forked over $20,000, based presumably on Gaylor’s fund-raising pitch, which tells of helping girls pregnant at 12 or a girl raped by her father.
Both, of course, are horrible situations, almost as horrible as being not merely pregnant but chopped into little pieces and not at 12 but at a much, much more vulnerable age. After all, being killed by a choice-armed mother is much less tragic than being raped by monstrous father, yes?
No, actually. It’s not.
Yeah, actually. It is. This hypocrite — who it goes without saying would never support society taking his blood or using his organs against his will — also said this:
Gaylor, the paper goes on to detail in inexorably unfolding horror, founded the fund whose sole purpose is to pay for abortions. Last year alone, it paid out $162,000 or so, three-fourths of it from individual donors and a quarter from foundations that apparently do not see some humans as, well,
Per Palace custom, we will be celebrating the birthday of Anne Nicol Gaylor today in the Grand Entry Hall near the Palace’s Shrine to PZ Myers. Baby-back ribs, Bloody Marys and gourmet, gluten-free, consecrated communion wafers will be served.