The fastest vibrators in Chicago race for reproductive rights

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Personal PAC's February 16 fund-raiser will feature a vibrator race, with proceeds going to pro-choice causes. - HANS WISCHEWAUTZ; PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY SUE KWONG
  • hans wischewautz; photo illustration by Sue Kwong
  • Personal PAC's February 16 fund-raiser will feature a vibrator race, with proceeds going to pro-choice causes.

With Donald Trump laying siege to America, Americans are scrambling to find creative ways to resist—in addition to marching in the streets, converging on airports, or thundering in rage till they turn blue in the face.

As such, the reproductive rights activists at Personal PAC have come up with an interesting way to raise money for their cause—a vibrator race.

Think of it as a turtle race—only with vibrators.

Before I dive into the details, let me point out that the stakes in reproductive rights are high.

Yes, abortion is currently legal. But if Roe v. Wade is ever reversed, Illinois is one of four states where it would immediately become illegal.

That's because of Illinois's so-called "trigger law."

"If those decisions of the United States Supreme Court are ever reversed or modified . . . to allow protection of the unborn," the law reads, "then the former policy of this State to prohibit abortions unless necessary for the preservation of the mother's life shall be reinstated."

Passed by the state general assembly in 1975—soon after Roe—the trigger law's barely drawn any notice since then.

But pro-choicers are paying attention, since Trump and his VP, Mike Pence, came into office, vowing to reverse Roe. And let's face it, Neil Gorsuch, Trump's newly nominated Supreme Court justice, is supposed to be the decisive fifth vote against Roe.

State rep Sara Feigenholtz introduced a bill (HB 40) that eliminates the trigger language. It will be interesting to see if she can round up any Republican supporters.

"At the moment, no Republicans have signed on," says Feigenholtz.

None—as in n-o-n-e?

"That's correct."

Still, her bill will pass if enough Democrats vote for it. But to officially change the law, Governor Rauner, a Republican, has to sign it.

In the old days, before he ran for governor, Rauner donated big bucks to various pro-choice causes

But since running for office, he's been inching away from his pro-choice roots for fear of alienating his right-wing base. Apparently, he's willing to sacrifice reproductive rights for the right to abolish unions.

Every politician has his priorities.

It will be interesting to see if Rauner signs HB 40, should it pass.

At the very least, Rauner's evolution on choice will give everyone something to talk about at the February 16 Personal Pac fund-raiser—you know, the one with the vibrators.

I've now reached that point in my story where journalistic protocol requires me to offer an explanatory sentence—apparently, journalism school teaches you to never overestimate the knowledge of readers.

If this were an article about TIFs, I'd write: "TIFs are effectively a property tax surcharge adopted by the mayor . . . "

Oh, you know the rest.

In any case, a vibrator is a device that—you know what? Forget it. I think most of you know what vibrators are. I bet even Pence has heard of them. For all I know, he uses one. Nothing wrong with that, Mike.

Personal PAC is a fund-raising and lobbying group that donates to pols who support choice—so they're pushing hard for HB 40.

The vibrator thing was the brainchild of the Future Voices Council of Personal PAC, a subsidiary of the larger group filled with millennials.

"It seemed like a fun thing to do," says Emily Rosenwasser, a Future Voices member.

Here's how it works: They put a photo of a prominent antichoice politician on the tip of a vibrator—sort of the dick's head. Trump and Pence are obvious picks. But any of Illinois's Republicans would do, including Rauner, who's probably hiding under a sofa until the issue goes away.

They raise money by "betting" on which vibrator wins.

The problem is how to make the vibrators move forward as opposed to spasmodically jerking in a circle. Wait, did that come out right?

"It's like a science experiment," says Rosenwasser.

To help out, she recruited her boyfriend, John Gedeon, a furniture maker. See, fellas—you too have a place in the reproductive rights movement.

An Internet check revealed that vibrator races have been held in the past—here, watch one yourself.

Essentially, Gedeon will build a racetrack with a slip gate, a finish line, and walled-in lanes—so the vibrators can't cross into each other's lane.

"You turn on the vibrators, lift the gate, and they're off," Gedeon says. "The challenge is to tilt the track so the vibrators go forward at just the right pace. If it's too slow, it's boring. If it's too fast, it won't last long and it won’t be fun. Sort of like actual sex."

Oh, those furniture makers—they got a million of them.

The fund-raiser takes place Thursday, February 16, from 6 to 8 PM at Big Chicks, 5024 N. Sheridan. May the best dickhead win!


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