An anonymous viral e-mail is circulating nationwide asking people to donate to Planned Parenthood in the name of Sarah Palin. When donors do so, Planned Parenthood sends Palin a thank-you card informing her that donation has been made in her honor. For Altman, it was a concrete way to fight against someone she sees as an "extreme conservative with absurd views."
Altman forwarded the e-mail to her entire address book, posted it as a blog entry on barackobama.com and linked to it on her Facebook page.
No one has claimed credit for the e-mail, and Planned Parenthood's national office says it doesn't know where it originated.
Karrie Galloway, CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said she has received a few calls, but expects more as most people only received the e-mail late last week.
"When people feel that women's rights, women's access to health care, women getting good legal information or accurate, helpful information are being denied, they often think of Planned Parenthood because we often bear the brunt of those policies," Galloway said. "A campaign like this is not completely unfamiliar, but it did take us by surprise."
Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison spurred a similar campaign in January 2001, less than a week after George W. Bush took office. The columnist's idea generated more than $1 million in donations and made Bush one of the biggest donation generators in Planned Parenthood's history.
Planned Parenthood will not have Palin-spurred donation numbers calculated until next week, said spokesman Tait Sye, but he said the e-mail has sparked a "pretty positive, significant response."
"People are responding to how out-of-touch McCain and Palin are on women's health and they wanted to do something about it," Sye said.
Todd Weiler, vice chairman of the Utah Republican party, realizes a common enemy can be unifying, and "abortion activists believe that Sarah Palin fits that bill." But he says they are in the minority in the state.
"Utahns overwhelmingly approve of Sarah because she is a real person who shares their values," Weiler said. "Although this e-mail campaign is designed to mock Sarah Palin, what it really shows is that she is an extremely effective advocate for the family."