Billionaires Sam and Helen Zell Hope to Counter Tea Party By Donating to Planned Parenthood

Helen Zell

Political pundits may disagree about whether or not the Tea Party movement is a socially conservative movement, but Planned Parenthood certainly thinks so. According to a report in Chicago Business, there are plenty of wealthy pro-abortion donors who think so, too.  The article specifically profiles three wealthy pro-aborts who are increasing their donations to Planned Parenthood in response to recent defunding efforts energized by Tea Party activism. Among them are billionaire Helen Zell. Sam and Helen Zell own the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

Trying to counter efforts by Tea Party and other social conservatives to eliminate sex education and women’s health services, Ms. Zell, 69, is spending more of her wealth to underwrite Planned Parenthood. She’s pledged some $600,000 over three years to improve its facility on the Near North Side. She’s given hundreds of thousands more to the Chicago arm of the American Civil Liberties Union, which defends abortion rights. “I want to get the most bang for my buck,” she says.

Normally, “bang for your buck” refers to a monetary return on investment. In Zell’s case, the “bang” she is getting for her “buck” is dead babies and misinformed women.

True to Planned Parenthood’s form, despite the fact that many of the most prominent figures in the Tea Party movement are women, particularly Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, the article frames abortion as if it is a women’s issue instead of a human dignity issue, with the Tea Party movement being the primary “threat” to women.

Democratic political consultant Laura Tucker and business attorney Fay Clayton also have beefed up their donations to Planned Parenthood since the Tea Party began mobilizing at the state level to cut government funding. They say they are driven by fear for their own children and anger that they are fighting a war they thought was won 38 years ago, when the landmark Roe v. Wade case deemed abortion a constitutional right.

“These legislative attacks have energized women,” says Carole Brite, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood in Chicago, pointing out that the chapter has seen a notable increase in gifts lately, with checks from $5 to $5,000.

While the Tea Party movement generally identifies as a movement made up of “average people” claiming their own dignity despite their humble status, this article doesn’t shy away from highlighting that these donors are in the “upper crust” of society.

Sitting in her high-rise off North Michigan Avenue over a cup of coffee recently, Ms. Zell recalls her own experience with abortion.

Some, apparently, equate dignity with dollars.

A pro-life point of view is offered, with a quote from pro-life activist Joe Scheidler, but Scheidler is characterized as “far right”.

Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, says the pushback by big names like Ms. Zell is proof that the far right is winning.

“It shows how effective the pro-life movement has been at exposing Planned Parenthood,” says the 44-year-old Aurora father of eight who stages anti-abortion rallies near the Aurora facility built with $1 million from Ms. Zell. “Who would have guessed a year-and-a-half ago that we would be talking about defunding Planned Parenthood? And here we have one state after another doing that. Momentum is on our side.”

Certainly the pro-life movement is gaining ground with help from the Tea Party movement, but it’s clear also that, for the time being, there are billionaires willing to help pick up the slack when taxpayer funding is taken away. Ending abortion will require legal recognition that the unborn child is a person protected under the Constitution.

  • Guest

    Equating the pro-life movement with the Tea Party or the “far right”?  Is that really what passes as an objective, accurate, hard news article?

    • oldmanbob

      What the Tea Party is in the rest of the nation is I’m not sure.  Here in southwest Oregon they are only about taxes, taxes and taxes.  The only reason they want to defund PP is to stop spending; life has nothing to do with it.  Some even want to keep killing legal to reduce welfare.  I have not seen one bit of pro-life talk yet.

      We need to keep our focus on saving babies and take great care not to join with the Tea Party or any other party.  A person or a movment is known not by just who their foes are but also who their friends are.  Lets take care who our friends are.

      • http://twitter.com/LisaGraas Lisa Graas

        The article isn’t a suggestion to join or not join anything. My primary commitment is always to the right to life. Whomever would like to join in that effort is welcome, in my book, no matter who they are. Having said that, as I wrote in the last paragraph, only legal protection for the child is going to have a lasting and substantial impact on our goal to end abortion in America.

        • oldmanbob

          Thank you for making it clear you are not trying to join up with the Tea Party or any other party.  We need to keep the focus, as you and the rest of Live Action are, on saving lives and working to gain legal protection for all of us born and waiting to be born.  We dare not lose our focus, therefore we cannot join up with the Tea Party in their tax campain.
           
          Keep in mind “Faithful are the wounds of a friend. But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Prov. 27: 6.

          May God blessyou as you keep up this good work.

    • Hope to the hopeless

      To Planned Parenthood, anyone who opposes them is “Tea Party” or the “far right” It is stupid and illogical but Planned Parenthood is trying to paint pro-lifers in a corner, they care not what is actually true.