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Happy Holidays! Here's a gift certificate for an abortion

The logo for Planned Parenthood of Indiana offering gift certificates for its services including abortion

Here's an original holiday gift idea to help the person who may have everything, including a little something they don't really want. A new way to mark the festive yearend celebration of life -- a gift certificate for an abortion.

This year, for the first time, Planned Parenthood of Indiana is offering holiday gift certificates for that certain someone in your life who may want a breast exam, a pap smear or perhaps not want another life in their life.

Calling them an "unusual yet practical gift this holiday season," the organization is selling gift certificates in $25 denominations, redeemable at any of the group's 35 statewide locations for their services, including health screenings, birth control and abortion services.

A Planned Parenthood website page notes that a standard women's health exam costs $58 while abortions in the first trimester can run from $350 to $900.

There's even an online page to order the certificates if you know someone in Indiana who desires such services.

According to Ms. magazine, an official of the Hoosier Planned Parenthood group explained:

"People are making really tough decisions about putting gas in their car and food on their table, so we know that many women especially put healthcare at their bottom of their list to do."

The official explained the group offers a range of services that can be purchased with the gift cards including pap smears, breast exams, birth control prescriptions and abortions. The organization performs about 5,000 abortions a year, according to one published figure, out of 92,000 patients treated.

Indiana's health commissioner, Judy Monroe, ignores the mounting political denunciations and calls the idea "really a meaningful gift."

It has taken a few days for antiabortion groups to move beyond disbelief and begin commenting on the Christmas holiday sales item. "It is difficult to think of a more tasteless, ghoulish thing to give anyone," wrote one blogger.

Indiana's Right to Life president, Mike Fichter, calls the Christmas gift certificates "a mockery" of a holiday designed to celebrate life by "peddling new ways to promote its destruction."

"Christmas," said Jim Sedlak of the American Life League, "perhaps more than any other time of the year, is dedicated to the miracle of life and divine love." He said the gift cards "would be more accurately described as death certificates."

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

Officials of Planned Parenthood, which operates abortion clinics in Indianapolis, Merrillville and Bloomington, stress the health and pregnancy prevention part of their services.

But Fichter is unpersuaded. "The tragedy is that almost 6,000 fewer children will be celebrating a first Christmas this year," he said, "because they were aborted in Planned Parenthood's Indiana clinics."

--Andrew Malcolm

Comments () | Archives (23)

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Pardon me, sir, but this is a misleading, slanted headline. And the statistics you put into the article refute your language. Abortion is an emotional issue on both sides and has caused unneeded strain to our democracy. I think the overall tone of the debate needs to be elevated.

Your headline does not help, and I would recommend that you remember your position as a journalist is not to titillate and shock, but to inform. This is what makes you a *journalist* and not a blogger, and why I get so much political news from you specifically.

Don't let me down: keep your standards high.

Abortions and women's health are a private matter. There are plenty of political issues to focus on, and you choose this? What's an old crusty white guy like you know about women's health? The only point of your post is to focus on or even to create conflict, not to inform. Shame on you and the LA Times.

It is disgusting how people have gone to being barbarians again. How can they have no shame in paying and gifting people for killing their poor unborn babies.
You give gifts now for murder? Heights of evil. Total evil !!

Celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus -- kill YOUR baby!

I can see it now, some liberal do-gooder handing a pregnant woman in passing one of these things. "Merry Christmas! In case you really don't want that baby, here's a gift certificate to go off it."

How crass. Don't those people even care the blood of millions of babies is on their hands? Those people could've been scientists, artists, scholars, leaders, and instead, they're punished because someone couldn't practice some self-discipline and keep their pants on. Maybe Planned un-Parenthood should be aborted, instead.

Wow, a bit of a jump in logic there...

If you actually examine the statistics you were clearly unhappy including in this post, where you stated at most 5,000 procedures are done yearly our of more than 90,000 patients, I have to question your ability to factor in probability.

Do you really think a gift certificate to Planned Parenthood will result in abortion in a majority of the 'gift certificate' cases? If one is forced to do the math, that means that 95% of what Planned Parenthood provides are not abortions but rather services that actually prevent the need for such a procedure. Thanks so much for applying your lack of logic and morals to an otherwise good idea. Repeat it with me, just because something could happen, doesn't mean it will.

Andrews, I like your blog, but you're treading on thin intellectual honesty ice here.

As a proud Planned Parenthood Volunteer in nearby PA, I get that these gift certificates strike the wrong note for many people--especially when headlines like this scream Planned Parenthood = abortion services. This headline is a crass bid for page-views.

When I escort patients past protesters into the clinic there are always few women just going in for their gyno, or to get some condoms.

I'm sure, given the current economic circumstances, they could use a little Christmas health as well.

Not my favorite headline, not my favorite balance of coverage--and not what I expect from my favorite political blog.


What a sad state Indiana must be. Your GIFT certificates cheapen life! Death certificates is a better description of what you are promoting.

I have to say, I am shocked at how little thought went into lots of these comments. Hooray for the knee jerk reaction!

If you read the post, it mentions that abortions are a relatively small part of what Planned Parenthood does. And if you read their intended purpose for them (find the website), its for the regular health checks that Planned Parenthood thinks people are going to skimp on because of the down economy. To state that clearly,the intended purpose is NOT abortions, but meeting basic health needs.

Though the title of the article does a wonderful job of helping with those knee jerk reactions

"Abortions and women's health are a private matter...."
Posted by: Maggie Knowles | December 02, 2008 at 08:57

Abortions are not about WOMEN'S health, they are about a BABY'S health, which ceases with the killing of the human baby (who already has an immortal soul).

There are countless problems with your article, but the one I will focus on is:

Regardless of how you feel about abortion, it's incredibly disrespectful to the countless women who get their regular annual exams at Planned Parenthood because it's the only clinic they can afford (or because they - heaven forbid! - CHOOSE to go there because they like the healthcare they receive) to proclaim that the only reason to visit PP is to get an abortion.

Gift in the German language is poison. Fits.

just because something could happen doesn't mean it will?! are you kidding me? theres no back bone in your mauntra. as someone who has personal experience with others who have had abortions, the subject of this article sickens me. its one thing to give a woman the choice to abort her baby, and another to even further cheapen her choice by giving her a gift card to do so. for women who simply do not have abortions solely for financial reasons, this brings them one step closer to what is most likely a choice being made in ignorance and fear. what kind of information is being handed out with these gift cards in order to fully educate women who might just choose abortion, about the full reality of the choice they are making and its full affect? I doubt little if any, since that is what is offered to most women who will make planned parenthood their baby chop-shop of choice.

yes, alot of women might choose to just use their gift card as a quick and easy way to receive gyno care, or pregnancy prevention and education. my concern is not about that part of the cards purpose--nor is it the concern of the others who have posted their feelings about the abortion end of this option.

Very nice post i like it.

this blog is completely soulless. so many women rely on planned parenthood exclusively for their reproductive health care, including cancer screenings. many, many women go to planned parenthood for reasons other than abortion and many women who go there would never think of having one. you are the lowest common denominator of men who comment on women's right to health and safety without lending gravitas to the empathy and compassion such issues require. shame on you.

I am a woman, not a man ccr, and my opinions stem from my disgust with the wanton misuse of the term "a womans right to choose" as it affects the lives of millions of murdered babies. as I said, I am not concerned about the health end of the cards use. if that was truly the main concern of planned parenthood, there would be no need to include its use for abortion services; it would simply be a thoughtful gift for better health.

Ah. So your idea of "celebrating life" is to ridicule women who may die of cancer because they can't afford a pap smear and breast exam. You must be very proud.

Just scanning these posts got me thinking a little about my own past. I went through this, but as a man. Contrary to popular belief, it really does suck to have zero control over a situation even when offering to take care of the child. Maybe I’m not like most men, or women for believing it was my responsibility to try to keep the child… alive. There's nothing even remotely “fair” or “equal” about this on the man’s end. However, it was not easy for the girl either. Sometimes I think about that what that little person was going to look like or talk like or any other numerous qualities you (the reader) have. Ultimately she did it, I paid for it, and in 2 or 3 hours she was resting, sipping on a Sprite. This stuff ain't easy. If you’re human and have any emotions at all, it’s hard not to know and realize when you lay your head down to sleep, deep down you conspired to end the life of a real, teeny human being. Anyway, I find it weird that PP can help over 90 thousand women be smart and responsible, while also providing a big shoulder to cry on as they sharpen their tools for the other five thousand. I think PP should rethink its choice to mentally and emotionally (and physically as well) scar women for the rest of their lives. Women have no choice in the ticking time bomb that will go off in the years to come. All PP had to do was omit abortion from the list of available gift purchases and they didn't. I think it’s pretty tacky timing as well. As we all know, Christmas celebrates birth.

Nice and informative post.

Heheheh..that's something unique.......

wow thats not something you see everyday

Maybe I’m not like most men, or women for believing it was my responsibility to try to keep the child… alive. There's nothing even remotely “fair” or “equal” about this on the man’s end. However, it was not easy for the girl either. Sometimes I think about that what that little person was going to look like or talk like or any other numerous qualities you (the reader) have.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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