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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More on the Abortion Gift Certificate Issue

Planned Parenthood condemned for 'lethal gift certificates'
Ken Kusmer - Associated Press Writer

11/29/2008 4:45:00 AM

INDIANAPOLIS - The nation's leading abortion provider is under fire for handing out gift certificates for its services.

Pro-life supporters say the scheme by Planned Parenthood of Indiana denigrates the holiday season.

The network of 35 clinics across the state announced it is offering holiday vouchers for basic health care services "or the recipient's choice of birth control method."

The organization decided to offer the vouchers because so many people are uninsured or are putting off health care because of prohibitive costs, said Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana. Nearly 800,000 Indiana residents don't have health insurance, she said.

Planned Parenthood's annual exams for women, which include Pap tests and breast exams, typically cost $58. The vouchers can be used for the exams, but also for insurance copays and for medication.

Opponents of abortion said Planned Parenthood was making a "mockery" of the holiday season.

"The tragedy is that almost 6,000 fewer children will be celebrating a first Christmas this year because they were aborted in Planned Parenthood's Indiana clinics," said Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana operates abortion clinics in Indianapolis, Merrillville and Bloomington.

"They deserve coal in their stocking, not money for lethal gift certificates," said Sister Diane Carollo, director of the Office for Pro-Life Ministry for the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

But Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Monroe applauded the Planned Parenthood offer, calling it a "really a meaningful gift.

"Spokeswoman Diane Quest of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America said the Indiana branch is among a handful of its 99 affiliates that currently offer gift certificates or have done so in the past.

Indiana’s Planned Parenthood Offers Holiday Gift Certificates for Clinic Services

Wednesday, December 03, 2008
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) – “Looking for an unusual, yet practical gift this holiday season? Planned Parenthood of Indiana is now offering gift certificates for services or the recipient’s choice of birth control.” That’s the pitch on Planned Parenthood of Indiana’s Web site, inviting visitors to purchase gift certificates in $25 increments for all services – including abortion – at its 35 clinics across the state.

“The gift certificates are intended for basic, preventive health care, such as annual exams,” a spokeswoman from Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) told CNSNews.com. “But it’s up to each patient how they use them.”

Planned Parenthood Federation of America said PPIN is one of a “handful” of its chapters around the country offering the gift certificates.

But critics said Planned Parenthood should not use Christmas as a marketing tool.

“The word inappropriate hardly describes Planned Parenthood’s scheme,” said Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., who works for a number of pro-life causes, including Priests for Life. “To give someone a gift card from the nation’s largest abortion business to is to give death for Christmas.”

In an Associated Press story, Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, defended the gift certificate campaign, saying it would help the people in the state without health insurance gain access to health care.

The Associated Press also reported that Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Monroe praised the gift certificates as “a really meaningful gift.”

But King said she finds them offensive, especially as a taxpayer who contributes to the money the U.S. government gives to Planned Parenthood each year through its Title X funding, which does not include paying for abortions.

“No amount of spin can turn this promotion into anything other than an abomination,” King said. “Congress gave Planned Parenthood $3 million last year, and now a chapter of this group is defiling the celebration of our savior’s birth. As one of America’s taxpayers, I want my money back.”

Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union, told CNSNews.com: “I think in this holiday season where we’re celebrating the birth of our lord and savior Jesus Christ, it’s ironic that Planned Parenthood would take it upon themselves to offer gift certificates that would include giving money to someone who would be looking to have an abortion or seeking an abortion.

“I think it’s ironic, it’s a diabolic scheme or scam, however you want to put it, and I just think it’s really sad,” Gardner said.