I think this is a terribly bad idea.
The parents of Terri Schiavo have authorized a conservative direct-mailing firm to sell a list of their financial supporters, making it likely that thousands of strangers moved by her plight will receive a steady stream of solicitations from anti-abortion and conservative groups.
“These compassionate pro-lifers donated toward Bob Schindler’s legal battle to keep Terri’s estranged husband from removing the feeding tube from Terri,” says a description of the list on the Web site of the firm, Response Unlimited, which is asking $150 a month for 6,000 names and $500 a month for 4,000 e-mail addresses of people who responded last month to an e-mail plea from Ms. Schiavo’s father. “These individuals are passionate about the way they value human life, adamantly oppose euthanasia and are pro-life in every sense of the word!”
Privacy experts said the sale of the list was legal and even predictable, if ghoulish.
People gave their money to help Terri. That the Schiavos would authorize the solicitation of money from these donors for causes other than Terri sells out their trust.
Let me put one caveat — if they donors were told the information could be sold, that’s a different matter. But the default option in a case like this (without notice otherwise) should be the presumption that the money is going to help Terri, not for activist causes.