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On Those Planned Parenthood Gift Certificates

December 9, 2008

Because people keep pointing me to this story, a word or two on the Planned Parenthood gift certificates being offered by some Illinois/Indiana clinics.

1) Yes, Fox News, the certificates could be used “for deadly purposes.” Planned Parenthood does provide abortions, which is legal. That money you give your niece for Christmas could also be used “for deadly purposes” – make sure you check, just for consistency. I mean, I get cash gifts from members of my family for Christmas, but nobody is ever all up in my business about whether I might use it for an abortion (which is just one use of cash, and just one use of such a gift certificate).

2) Abortions cost way more than $100, the upper limit for a single certificate (according to the news – apparently it’s $50 in Illinois) – from ~$350 up to ~$900. I’m just telling you because you may not know. I seriously doubt that providing someone with a gift certificate to Planned Parenthood is going to convince them to have an abortion where they otherwise would not have – in addition to the significant remaining procedureal cost, there are often barriers of travel, lodging, and waiting periods (and associated additional costs) to overcome.

3) Planned Parenthood’s services consist primarily of non-abortion services. The organization’s annual report indicates that abortion accounts for about 3% of services provided, with contraception at 38%, STI testing and treatment at 29%, and cancer screening and prevention at 19%. Another 10% is composed of things like pregnancy tests and prenatal care. My local Planned Parenthood provides, among other services, breast exams, routine physicals (for men and women), UTI treatment, birth control, cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, and thyroid screening, testicular cancer screening, and care for menstrual problems.

In the current economy, such a gift certificate may be a compassionate gift for the woman in your life who has lost her job and/or health insurance, or is simply struggling to balance the funds for taking care of her family and taking care of herself. This assumes, of course, that you care whether women (and men!) have access to health care, or if you’re solely focused on cutting off every possibility of abortion.

5) For Stacey: parental consent is a whole separate can of worms, one that reasonable people can and do disagree about. However, most reasonable people (even those who aren’t in the state legislature) don’t think it’s a legitimate or adult argument to write that those who are not opposed to the certificates “hate baby Jesus and wish illegitimate children like him were never born.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 9, 2008 8:36 pm

    I’ve volunteered for Planned Parenthood for several years. When I volunteered at one of the health center locations, the majority of our patients were there for breast exams, Pap smears, and birth control. I don’t think I ever saw a patient there to discuss the possible need for an abortion.

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