December 12, 2008

Pro-life supporters outraged by Planned Parenthood’s holiday gift certificates

By Mary Ann Wyand

Pro-life supporters reacted with shock and outrage at the recent news that Planned Parenthood of Indiana is selling holiday gift certificates for “reproductive health services” that include abortion.

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider.

In Indiana, Planned Parenthood operates abortion clinics in Bloomington, Indianapolis, Avon and Merrillville as well as 35 smaller sites they describe as “health centers,” where they sell artificial contraceptives that function as chemical abortifacients.

The Planned Parenthood gift certificates are being advertised as “the gift of health,” and can be redeemed for “services or the recipient’s choice of birth control method,” according to their press release, which has generated local, state and national media coverage.

Servants of the Gospel of Life Sister Diane Carollo, the director of the archdiocesan Office for Pro-Life Ministry for nine years, said in a nationally televised interview on Dec. 3 on ABC’s “Evening News” that Planned Parenthood’s “gift certificate campaign is offensive because Christmas is about celebrating the gift of human life.”

Sister Diane told The Criterion on Dec. 4 that Planned Parenthood of Indiana president and chief executive officer Betty Cochrum promoted the gift certificates “for women’s health” during her interview on the news program.

“I thought it was outrageous that Planned Parenthood would have the audacity to offer lethal gift certificates for the Christmas holiday,” Sister Diane said. “Apparently, they do [cervical] PAP smears and breast exams, but it’s a fact that these certificates could be used to procure an abortion.”

This Christmas, “there will be 6,000 fewer babies in Indiana” because of abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics in the state during 2008, Sister Diane said. “Nationwide, there will be approximately 290,000 fewer babies because they were aborted in Planned Parenthood facilities.”

Right to Life of Indianapolis president Marc Tuttle, who is a member of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, responded to Planned Parenthood’s press release—titled “Give the gift of health this holiday season”—with indignation.

“While most of us are spending the next month preparing to celebrate the birth of our Savior,” Tuttle said, “Planned Parenthood of Indiana is sinking to new lows in sacrilege.”

He described the gift certificates as “a direct slap on the face of Christians” during the holy Advent and Christmas seasons.

Planned Parenthood’s holiday gift certificates surpass the offensiveness of the national federation’s “Choice on Earth” Christmas cards from previous years, he said, by marketing presents that could result in the destruction of unborn babies.

“Planned Parenthood of Indiana reported committing 5,160 abortions in 2007, the last year for which data is available,” Tuttle said. “We estimate they will abort over 400 babies between now and Christmas while they are selling their holiday gift certificates.”

Volunteers for the Great Lakes Gabriel Project, a parish-based pro-life organization which helps expectant mothers experiencing crisis pregnancies, as well as “40 Days for Life” campaign participants and other pro-life supporters in central Indiana are planning to sing Christmas carols beside an empty manger scene from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 13 in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic at 8590 N. Georgetown Road in Indianapolis.

Organizers of this Advent pro-life prayer vigil said they will sing “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night” in remembrance of the nearly 50 million unborn babies in the U.S. who will never “lay down their sweet heads” on any bed because abortion was legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

They said the manger is also an invitation to abortion-bound mothers to figuratively place their unborn babies upon the manger like baby Jesus.

(For more information about the pro-life Christmas carols on Dec. 13 in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, contact Elizabeth Kane at 317-528-9000 or

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