Update: The website described below and condemned by both pro-life and pro-choice advocates was later revealed to be a marketing ploy by an author of a novel. The website was redesigned this week to explain that prolifeantiwoman.com was actually an "augmented excerpt" of a novel released this week by author Chad Kultgen.
Klutgen told VICE News that he "always had the idea to put this into the world as if it were real, because I've always liked the idea of throwing any fictional thing into the world as a marketing tool to cut through the clutter of the way things are traditionally marketed... Now we're not only debating the idea of this girl making the website, but also whether this marketing technique is morally correct and successful. They're part of the same piece of art, the book and the website, they're part of the same experience."
Pro-life and pro-choice advocates today both criticized a website recently launched by a woman who says that she is seven weeks pregnant and is demanding $1 million from pro-life supporters in exchange for not having an abortion.
The website, prolifeantiwoman.com, asks in large print, "How much would you pay to stop an abortion?"
"I have every intention of having an abortion," the woman writes anonymously in an essay posted to the site, "but I'm giving you a chance to stop it."
She describes herself as a 26-year-old graduate student who lives in a state that recently passed a law requiring women to wait 72 hours after a consultation with a doctor before getting an abortion. Last month, North Carolina became the fourth state — after Missouri, South Dakota, and Utah — to adopt such a law.
Beginning on July 7, the woman will give pro-life advocates 72 hours to make donations. If they reach $1 million, she says that she will deliver the baby, give it up for adoption, and put all of the money in a trust fund for her child. If that amount is not raised, she will return the donations and go through with an abortion that she has already scheduled for July 10.
The author of the website seems skeptical that the million-dollar sum will be raised, and presents herself as intent on illustrating for the public that pro-life supporters will actually not do whatever it takes to prevent an abortion.
"The pro-life movement cares very little about saving lives and far more about controlling women by minimizing their choices in a wide variety of ways," she writes, "not the least of which is readily available reproductive health care."
She said that the 157 million Americans who identify as pro-life need only donate less than a cent each to prevent the abortion — though it is unclear if her website will actually accept donations of a fraction of a cent.
"I hope to give the American public a concrete example that the conservative right in America doesn't actually care about the life of a child, they care about controlling the lives and choices of women," the essay says. "We have to acknowledge this and we have to stop it."
The author of the website said that she will remain anonymous throughout the process.
'It's almost a kind of terrorism, holding someone hostage this way.'
Pro-life advocates told VICE News today that there was consensus among movement leaders to not donate to the project.
"This smacks of extortion and a media stunt," Troy Newman, president of the pro-life group Operation Rescue, told VICE News. "There's nobody that's going to give in to this ridiculous piece of nonsense trying to present to us an ultimatum."
This sentiment was echoed by Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life League.
"It's one thing to be a desperate woman seeking an abortion, but this woman is exploiting the situation, holding their own unborn child hostage for a million dollars," he said. "It's almost a kind of terrorism, holding someone hostage this way."
Newman and Scheidler said that pro-life groups support pregnant women with money and resources across America in their effort to help prevent abortions — including at many crisis pregnancy centers where staff members attempt to discourage women from pursuing one — but their inclination to do so stops short of participating in this sort of crowdfunding.
Watch the VICE News documentary Misconception: The Fake Abortion Clinics of America:
"We've had a longstanding position that we don't negotiate with terrorists," Newman said. "What would stop her or a thousand other women from just getting pregnant and thinking the pro-life movement would give them a million dollars? That's why we don't give into extortion and threats."
"But we are all praying," he added. "I was on large conference call yesterday and we all prayed that this woman will change her mind, see the error of her ways, feel the quickening of her baby, and have a change of heart."
Joyce Arthur, executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, said that although the author of the website raises valid points, she doesn't think the "PR stunt" will work.
"It sounds sincere," she said. "It's an interesting and perhaps clever idea, but I disagree with it because I don't think it will fulfill the goal that it states. She wants to show the hypocrisy of the pro-life movement and make them step up to the plate, but I don't think it's going to work. They're not looking at it from that perspective. They'll say it's extortion or something like that."
Nevertheless, Arthur agrees with the author's assertion that pro-life supporters don't actually care about women and babies.
"It's already proven by other things seen in culture, one key example being all the crisis pregnancy centers that are run by the anti-abortion people who claim that they'll help women," she said. "They don't, really. They give minimal help, a few diapers, parenting classes. They don't prepare women for the huge job and expense it is to raise a child."
Arthur suggested that this amounts to an abandonment of expecting mothers in need of assistance.
"Myself and other prochoice advocates are convinced that the anti-choice supporters are more about punishing women for having sex than saving babies," she remarked.
Follow Colleen Curry on Twitter: @currycolleen