Monday, December 01, 2008

This is what an Abortion Gift Certificate looks like...

Twenty Dollars least according to the more rabid elements of the conservative side of our country. "WTF!?!?," you might be thinking. I certainly was. I'm a pretty big news hawk and I'd never heard of this until it turned up on some conservative blogs. I like the bloggers, I don't always agree with them, but that's why I have this place. I'll let you look up the blogs yourselves, but if you Google search "Abortion Gift Certificate" you'll have no trouble finding them. Here's the thing: they're all protesting the introduction of gift certificates available from Planned Parenthood Indiana. Precious few of the blogs bother to link to the original news story or the facts of the issue, preferring to claim that you can go to and click on their convenient online store link and buy Abortion Gift Certificates just in time to mock the Christmas celebration like the sexually irresponsible heathen you are. (You can't.) See, I've summarized it for you, so now you don't even have to do the Google search.

You wanna know what really happened? The Indiana branch of Planned Parenthood noticed that they're getting lots of calls lately from women who can't afford exams and birth control costs. They're either recently unemployed or recently uninsured, but the bottom line is that they need health care and they can't afford it. Not surprising, considering many health insurance plans won't cover birth control. So, PP Indiana decided to offer gift certificates in $25 increments that could be given to such women. After all, they see some 92,000 people a year, and 87,000 or so of them are there for health information, health care, prenatal care, birth control, and safe sex supplies. So if you follow the right links to get to the website for Planned Parenthood of Indiana you actually can purchase the certificates there, in $25 increments up to $100. (Note that abortions cost $350-900 in the first trimester.)

But there are two things that got the conservatives up in arms over this: first - it was done by Planned Parenthood, which they have decreed to be an abortion clinic regardless of the amount of non-abortion health care it provides (87k people annually in Indiana alone!); second - it wasn't restricted to use on ONLY preventive health care.

Some Hoosiers 24-Hour News 8 talked to asked if the gift certificates could be used towards abortions. The answer is yes. But, Planned Parenthood said that's not the purpose of the gift certificates. Struben-Hall [Vice President of Planned Parenthood of Indiana] said, "They really are intended for preventative healthcare. We decided not to put restrictions on the gift certificates so it's for whatever people feel they need the services for most." --WISH TV
So, if you give someone a gift certificate that is intended for preventative health care products or services, that's an "Abortion Gift Certificate." If you give cash for Christmas and don't stamp those dollars "Not Legal Tender For Abortion," you've just given an Abortion Gift Certificate. In fact, if you give someone a gas card, you've just freed up money in their budget for an abortion. So your gas card is an Abortion Gift Certificate. You can see how this would get out of hand fast, no? If I give my godsons a Wal-Mart gift card for Christmas, intending they spend it on toys or books or games, they COULD go spend it on a gun. Wal-Mart, after all, sells guns and the gift card doesn't have any restrictions placed on it for what it's spent on. Does that mean I gave my godsons Gun Gift Certificates for Christmas?

Here's my favorite part of the WISH TV article, a quote from Indiana Family Institute President Curt Smith:
"I think the way to help family planning is to give the money where there's no agenda. So if somebody wants to help a woman at a time of crisis, they can support the life centers throughout Indiana," said Smith.
Right, because if you search up the Life Centers of Indiana, it's QUITE CLEAR that they have 'no agenda', unless you count the following Principles (1, 7, and 8) from their website:
  • Life Centers is an outreach ministry of Jesus Christ through His church. Therefore, Life Centers, embodied in its staff and volunteers, is committed to presenting the Gospel of our Lord both in word and in deed to women with crisis pregnancies. Commensurate with this purpose, those who labor as Life Centers board members, directors and volunteers are expected to know Christ as their Savior and Lord.

  • Life Centers is committed to creating awareness within the local community of the needs of pregnant women and the fact that abortion only compounds human need rather than resolving it.

  • Life Centers does not recommend, provide, or refer single women for contraceptives. (Married women seeking contraceptive information should be urged to seek counsel, along with their husbands, from their pastors and physicians.)
I'm not opposed to the mission, because I can see the benefit of it to part of the population, but I won't be supporting it because it leaves out a lot of people. I think it's absolutely reprehensible to claim that they have 'no agenda'. They have a very clear agenda, which is to get people to behave according to their moral principles and to deny information and services to people who do not. It probably sounds like I'm offended by that, but I'm not. It is their prerogative to conduct their business in the way they see fit, but the fact that we're even discussing it means that they certainly have an agenda. This is my favorite part of the Principles (it's number 3), because of the delicious irony:
Life Centers is committed to integrity in dealing with clients, earning their trust and providing promised information and services. Life Centers denounces any form of deception in its corporate advertising or individual conversations with its clients.
So calling a $25 gift certificate that's just enough to almost cover half of an annual Pap Smear an Abortion Gift Certificate fits into the principle of denouncing "any form of deception" exactly how?

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