EDIT: Thanks (so many thanks!) to everyone for spreading the word about this, we've reached the original goal in less than ten hours (even if the widget hasn't updated yet). At this point, do feel free to keep donating -- I'm trying to network with other Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas providing abortion services in the hopes that more of them will be interested, and any amount over-and-above will be used to buy a few backup/additional players (and some iTunes gift cards to help fill up the playlists) and then donated to the organization as cash -- but in the interests of cutting out the middleman and getting some cold hard cash into the hands of organizations that are doing good work, please also consider donating to Planned Parenthood directly, or to the National Network of Abortion Funds or a state-specific abortion fund, where your donations can help to preserve women's right to bodily autonomy and personal choice.

A month ago, the story The Right Not to Know appeared in the Texas Observer: one woman's experience with a second-trimester abortion after discovering her desperately-wanted baby had a genetic defect that meant abortion was by far the more humane choice. This was just after Texas's new sonogram law went into effect, meaning that she had to endure not only a 24-hour wait, not only have a third (and medically-unnecessary) sonogram, but was also forced to listen to the abortion doctor describe the sonogram images and read off a boilerplate (bullshit) state-mandated script about the risks of abortion.

My heart was breaking as I read the article -- I challenge anyone to read it and not be furious -- but one paragraph in particular really stood out to me. Emphasis is mine:

"I'm so sorry that I have to do this," the doctor told us, "but if I don't, I can lose my license." Before he could even start to describe our baby, I began to sob until I could barely breathe. Somewhere, a nurse cranked up the volume on a radio, allowing the inane pronouncements of a DJ to dull the doctor's voice. Still, despite the noise, I heard him. His unwelcome words echoed off sterile walls while I, trapped on a bed, my feet in stirrups, twisted away from his voice.

Hang on, I thought. I'd just been to the dentist; the dentist's office specifically invites you to bring your iPod or other handheld music device to help drown out the sound of the drill, and if you don't have one, they have one in the office (loaded with Metallica and Guns and Roses and other loud stompy music) that they can lend you. Surely if it works for dentistry, it would work for this as well. This is a problem technology can solve!

The president/CEO of Planned Parenthood of West Texas got back to me this week and said she'd love to take me up on it. So I'm fundraising! She has requested four units (one for Abilene, one for San Angelo, and two for Midland) and it's possible more clinics might get back to me requesting the same, since I asked the woman who replied to my initial broadcast email to forward it around in a more directed fashion.

The goal right now: $480 to cover four 8GB iPod Nano units and $560 to cover seven pairs (to make sure there's one spare in each location, since headphones are less durable) of Audio Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling On-Ear Headphones. So, total fundraising goal for this round, which may increase if more clinics get back to me: $1060.

See my journal for information on how to donate, or use the widget below!

[Widget removed because we've more than reached our goal -- thank you, everyone, but at this point please donate directly to Planned Parenthood or to the National Network of Abortion Funds instead!]