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Maine Christian group’s taunts backfire as donations pour in to women’s health clinics

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Anti-choice protesters (Flickr Creative Commons)

The conservative Christian group the Christian Civic League of Maine (CCL) sent out an email earlier this week crowing with delight that Maine Family Planning hadn’t met its annual fundraising goals.

Ironically, reported Think Progress, that email ended up being the impetus for a funding push that landed Maine’s network of 18 reproductive health care clinics firmly in the black for the year.

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Bangor Daily News columnist Mike Tipping wrote on Apr. 3 that the CCL was gloating in a newsletter that God had defunded Maine Planned Parenthood.

“They claim that because Maine Family Planning in Augusta raised less money this year during the organization’s ‘Pledge-A-Picketer’ campaign ($5,360, compared to $10,014 last year),” said Tipping, “that God must be acting on the CCL’s prayers.”

“(P)erhaps we should take the League at their word,” he continued. “If God truly speaks through fundraising totals, then obviously more donations to Maine Family Planning right now would be a sanctified repudiation of their repugnant tactics.”

“To that end, my wife and I have just given a donation to Maine Family Planning and I invite you to do the same,” he said.

LGBT activist and author Dan Savage joined in the effort, encouraging his readers and fans to “make the haters at Maine’s Christian Civic League regret sending out that email blast by donating to Maine Family Planning and pushing them past last year’s fundraising total.”

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Think Progress’ Tara Culp-Ressler said, “Jennifer Thibodeau, the director of communications and marketing at Maine Family Planning, the group has raised nearly $7,000 in the past three days alone — pushing this year’s total funds past $12,000. Contributions have poured in from 169 new donors across 14 states.”

Thibodeau said that the group relies on private donations to cover services that can’t be paid for with federal funds like abortions and services to trans men and women. The gush of support prompted by the CCL email, she said, has been a boon to her organization.

“It is a feel-good story,” she told Think Progress. “We’re all feeling really encouraged by this.”

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