Weekly Pulse: Anti-Masturbation Crusader Christine O’Donnell is Master of Her Domain

Christine O’Donnell is master of her domain. The deeply conservative Tea Party darling won the Republican senate nomination in Delaware last night with a stunning upset of establishment favorite Rep. Mike Castle.

O’Donnell rose to prominence as an anti-masturbation crusader in the 1990s. Jillian Rayfield of Talking Points Memo has video of O’Donnell’s 1996 appearance on MTV’s series “Sex in the Nineties” in which she and her colleagues from the Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth Ministry. (SALT) O’Donnell warns teens that masturbation is adultery that will undermine their future marital sex lives: “You’re going to be pleasing each other, and if he already knows what pleases him and he can please himself, then why am I in the picture?” she asks.

Lest you think the anti-masturbation ministry was a youthful indiscretion, O’Donnell was still listed as the contact person for SALT on a web directory last updated in 2009. Christina Bellantoni of TPMDC reports that O’Donnell remained an outspoken social conservative on the campaign trail.

Blessing in disguise?

Suzi Khimm of Mother Jones sees O’Donnell’s victory as a potential blessing in disguise for Democrats:

Ultimately, though, the biggest benefactor of an O’Donnell victory could be the Democratic Party, as she has a significantly weaker shot against the likely Democratic contender, lawyer and county executive Chris Coons. […] If the GOP loses Delaware, it could completely blow its chance at getting enough seats for a Senate majority.

Adele Stan of AlterNet reports that, as of 3 o’clock on Wednesday morning, former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte was still locked in a dead heat with Tea Party favorite Ovide Lamontagne for the Republican Senate nomination. Does Ayotte’s name sound familiar? That’s probably because she made a name for herself as the anti-abortion Attorney General behind Ayotte vs. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Beth Saunders reports for RH Reality Check.

If either of these Republican nominee proves too extreme for the voters of New Hampshire, the Democrats could pick up the senate seat being vacated by Republican Judd Gregg.

Urban coal pollution is deadly

In other health news, Michelle Chen reports in Colorlines that coal pollution will kill 13,000 Americans this year, mostly in urban areas:

According to the study, fine particle pollution linked to the coal industry is “expected to cause over 13,000 premature deaths in 2010, as well as almost 10,000 hospitalizations and more than 20,000 heart attacks per year.” The estimated death toll clusters in certain industrial cities, namely New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., affirming other research showing the racial and economic implications of these urban health impacts.

The bright side is that fewer people are projected to die of coal-related illnesses this year compared to last year. It’s not clear whether we have tougher regulation to thank, or the economic slowdown, or both.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact press@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • plume-assassine

    O’Donnell is just another nutjob in a long line of recent Tea Party Christian fascists. Masturbation is a healthy and totally normal expression of human sexuality. Why it should concern ANYONE but the person engaging in (or watching) the act of masturbation is mind boggling. It’s funny how social conservatives such as O’Donnell make noise about trying to prevent teenagers from having sex/getting pregnant, yet they turn around and call self-pleasure “adultery.” Hmm… mixed messages, anyone? What, are we all just supposed to be totally asexual until the government puts a neat little label (“married”) on our relationship? Poor Christine just feels guilty because somebody probably caught her masturbating as a young woman and made her feel bad about it.

  • shaneknee

    We seem to be living in a netherworld where reality can quickly succumb to twisted incarnations of the absurd. One would think, Christine O’Donnell is Manna from heaven for us progressives, but until all the votes are counted from the first state to ratified the United States Constitution, we can only hope. 


    Interestingly, I’m a pro-lifer, but I take a much different stance than that of the typical pro-life movement.


    From a pure science perspective, I have no doubt that life is alive and well within the womb of a mother within a few days after conception. I also don’t buy that just because the living fetus is tethered and is solely dependant to its host mother, that it’s all about her body, thus the fetus has limited rights. However, I’m also a realist, and I understand that true “right-to-life” begins and ends with REAL sex-education programs that teach people, young and old, how to properly use the birth control techniques and products; along with educating people as to the responsibility that goes along with sexuality. Additionally, we provide viable options to abortion, such as adoption, and then promote all of this with a well funded and outreaching campaign within all sectors of our society and communities.


    We are sexual beings, very sexual. And for people like Christine O’Donnell to want to interject her dark-aged theology and beliefs within our government is very dangerous.


    Criminalizing abortion is not the answer. I thought at one time, maybe just allowing abortion for those who have been raped or whose lives are in danger might be a good compromise, but being married to a criminal defense attorney, I know too well the amount of false rape claims that would be filed. Additionally, back alley abortions, especially among the poor and the young who live in families where any rational discussion of sexuality is taboo and sinful, would probably flourish, thus claiming lives and / or creating terrible complications.


    No doubt, abortion is not an easy decision for any person, especially the mother…but in the end, we must let common sense, education, personal responsibility and choice rule the day.


    So see, not every pro-life person adheres to the ideals of the mainstream pro-life crowd…;) 


    Great site and glad to be a part of it.


    Peace and God’s Blessings…..



  • rebellious-grrl

    I couldn’t stop laughing this morning when I heard that Christine O’Donnell won the primary. I kept thinking about her anti-masturbation campaign and laughed. What a joke. I hope the dems kick her butt in Nov.

  • prochoicekatie

    Shane –

    Your opinion is incredibly refreshing – and the pro-choice community supports individuals who choose (for themselves) to not use abortion while not taking that choice away from others. It is also especially nice to hear from those that are supportive of reducing the number of abortions by preventing the need versus criminalizing the procedure.

    In regards to the article the most hilarious thing about the video is her argument that a guy (or girl) who masturbates (successfully, I guess) has no need for a partner or spouse.

    I didn’t realize a relationship (and more ironically) a Christian marriage was only about getting each other off.

    I’ll be sure to tell my boyfriend that conversation, emotional support, and quality time are no longer relevant parts of our relationship.

  • lauracarroll

    I have heard it all now from pro life women candidates.  As scary as she is, I am happy to be reading that the dem’s are pleased she won this round as it will ultimatley help them.  We need more women in Congress to be sure, but not pro life and beyond advocates like O’Donnell! 


    Families of Two


  • saltyc

    I know too well the amount of false rape claims that would be filed.

    That’s not actually what happens in places with a rape exception, such as exists in Brazil. What actually happens is that women who are raped can’t get a legal abortion because they don’t want to file charges,  or the medical authorities don’t let her know of the exception, and many other situations that make the exception rarely practiced. Filing rape charges can lead to worse consequences than an illegal abortion, especially when the rapist is a family member.

    The truth is, where there is a rape exception, there aren’t more false rape charges filed, but women are jailed while recovering from abortions, and THAT’s the real problem with “pro-life.”

    This, in my mind, puts in stark focus what the real difference is between someone who takes on the pro-life label and a pro-choicer. It’s NOT the question of the humanity of the fetus, that is not the deciding factor, there is a wide difference of opinion on that on our side.

    It’s whether you trust women. That’s the difference.

    And if you think that the problem with criminalizing abortion with the exception of rape, is that women would file too many false rape allegations, rather than the actual problem that the vast majority of rape is un-reported or that women are not believed and therefore it would not be an actual exception in practice, proves to me that you think very little of women. And maybe you shouldn’t be the one trying to convince women to do this or that because maybe the real problem is in you and the way you see your fellow women, as somehow less trustworthy than yourself.

    I don’t care for the pro-life lite crowd. Wolf in sheep’s clothing. Until you spend as much time convincing your fellow “pro-lifers” to stop their persecution of legal abortion, to stop throwing women and doctors in jail, to stop the closing of clinics, as you do preaching to women that abortion is wrong, I’ll know you’re full of it.

  • ack

    Thank you, shanekee, for your pragmatic view on this issue. While I agree with salty that rape exceptions impede abortion access for rape and sexual assault victims, rather than increase false claims, I agree with the rest of your goals.


    I’ve always wondered how the rape exception crowd expects to deal with that if it were in statute. What do they require? A police report? A sexual assault forensic examination? (Which is not the same as a police report.) What if I don’t go to the hospital or report to the police, like most victims, but later find out I’m pregnant? How do I “prove” that the pregnancy was the result of a rape? I think that rape exceptions place a lot of pressure on victims, when, from my perspective, we need to be making the whole range of services more accessible.


    I’ve always hoped that we could all get on the same page regarding the prevention of unwanted and/or unplanned pregnancy. It’s frustrating when folks who want to limit abortion access also fight tooth and nail against comprehensive sex ed and access to reproductive health care. 


    It’s particularly awesome to see that you don’t wish to criminalize abortion. I get hung up on that part of the debate. If we keep abortion legal and safe, while increasing access to contraceptives and education on how to use them, we will all be closer to our goals. Yours is to reduce abortion rates. Mine is to increase reproductive health and reduce unplanned pregnancy and the associated risks to women. Win freakin Win!


    You and I will always differ in our opinions on abortion. But if we can agree that abortion will happen regardless of its legal status, and agree that reducing unwanted pregnancy is a good thing and that we should take active steps to help our communities do that, we’ll be able to influence public policy to accomplish those goals.


    In nerdspeak:


  • carolyninthecity

    “if he can please himself, then why am I in the picture?”




    ok now that I’ve got that out…What the hell?? 

    this kills me. As though touching yourself can act as a total replacement for partnered sexual activity. Maybe I’ve never given masturbation that much thought because it never bothered me and it always seemed perfectly natural. It’s so hard to understand what these people are going on about when the bible has no relevance in my life I suppose. 


    ten bucks says Christine O’Donnell has never had an orgasm. 

  • rebellious-grrl

    ten bucks says Christine O’Donnell has never had an orgasm.

    If that’s the case I kind of feel sorry for her. (Just kidding) 

  • ack

    “Oh, no thanks, I don’t want you to bring me to orgasm. I’ve got a hand for that. I’m going to take a shower, be back in a few.” 


  • grayduck

    Good luck on that “Vote Coons- he’s for masturbation!” campaign theme.

  • prochoiceferret

    Good luck on that “Vote Coons- he’s for masturbation!” campaign theme.


    I think it’s more like “Vote Coons—he’ll focus on the economy and other important issues instead of trying to get people to stop masturbating like some kind of lonely Christian creeper!”