#BBCTrending: Anti-abortion ice bucket alternatives

  • 25 August 2014
Man is doused with water

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been spreading across social media, raising over $50m (£30.16m) for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

But while everyone from Bill Gates to Justin Bieber has participated in the project, some are contentiously sitting out.

Abortion opponents in the US, including leaders of the Roman Catholic clergy, have discouraging participation in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

That's because the ALS Association, where participants are asked to send their donations, supports embryonic stem-cell research.

Since those cells are harvested from an embryo that is then discarded, pro-life groups say the process destroys human life.

"[Y]our money may end up supporting clinical trials that use aborted foetal cells," writes Rebecca Taylor for anti-abortion media organization Life News.

"Even if the money is not directly going to facilitate such research, it will be going to organisations that see no problem in using aborted innocents as biological material for medical use."

Some anti-abortion supporters are still doing the Ice Bucket Challenge, but with modifications.

Many begin their videos speaking out against embryonic stem-cell research and donate their funds to research organisations that are more in line with their values.

At the same time, pro-choice advocates have created a new challenge that raises funds for abortion-access charities instead of ALS research.

Pro-choice activist Andrea Grimes started the #TacoOrBeerChallenge as a joke after she grew tired of seeing so many Ice Bucket Challenge videos.

Many complied with her request to donate money to pro-choice charities, though neither drinking a beer or eating a taco is actually required.

"The Taco or Beer Challenge is about doing what's right for your own taco and beverage needs, just like having an abortion-or not-is about doing what's right for yourself and your family," Ms Grimes wrote on the pro-choice website RHRealityCheck, where she is a senior political reporter.

After taking the challenge, participants can submit videos and images, along with proof of their donation, to the official Taco or Beer Challenge tumblr.

Reporting by Annie Waldman

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