How Lizz Winstead Is Using Comedy in the Fight for Abortion Access
Attacking thorny issues has been Winstead's forte for more than two decades. Throughout her career, though, even at The Daily Show, she never felt she was going far enough. "I was an anger fluffer," she says. "But when people then asked me what to do, I didn't have an answer. It wasn't my job to have a call to action—until I realized it could be."
Photo:Courtesy of Lady Parts Justice League
So in 2011, after seeing the widespread passage of TRAP laws (targeted regulation of abortion providers) across the country, Winstead started pouring her funny and fury into reproductive-rights activism. She met with physicians at small medical offices to take stock of their needs. She hosted comedy benefits to raise money for clinics. And in 2015, Winstead founded LPJL, whose pro-choice comics and advocates make and share original videos calling out onerous laws (a House Hunters parody reveals how abortion clinic closures force many women to travel hundreds of miles for care) or busting pseudoscience (a cartoon Plan B pill explains she's a pregnancy preventer, not terminator).
To date, LPJL staffers and volunteers—more than 1,000 nationwide—have visited 36 independent abortion clinics to offer moral and practical support. LPJL might plant flower beds at a health center in Iowa City; treat nurses to margaritas in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; or usher patients past anti-choice protesters in Jackson, Mississippi. They also organize comedy performances to connect the local community with clinic staff. "We're like a USO show meets Habitat for Humanity," says Winstead. "Our work might seem like random acts of kindness, but then you realize these doctors are demonized for saving lives. No one actually shows up to tell them they're awesome and their work is valued."
Want to support LPJL's mission? Learn more about how to give back and get involved.