Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Planned Parenthood gift certificates

Priests for Life is an ultra-conservative Roman Catholic organization "dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia." Mostly it's about ending abortion.

The niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Alveda King, is a "Pastoral Associate" of Priests for Life. She figures prominently in the "African American outreach" of Priests for Life.

According to Wikipedia, King "is currently a Senior Fellow at the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, a conservative 'think-tank' in Washington, D.C. She is a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives and the founder of King for America.

To better understand Dr. Alveda King, note that she received her doctorate degree from Saint Anselm College. Saint Anselm is a Benedictine school and is classified by the Princeton Review as one of the "Colleges with a Conscience." She travels the country speaking at Pro-Life rallies, and endorsed the mossback, Sam Brownback, for the 2008 Republican nomination.

Dr. Alveda King is momentarily furious. She is specifically pissed at the Planned Parenthood organization. The Indiana branch of Planned Parenthood is selling gift certificates in $25 increments. According to PP of Indiana, these gift certificates "can be used for everything from birth control to $58 examinations that include breast exams and pap tests. Men who receive healthcare at Planned Parenthood can use them too."

Planned Parenthood offers men screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, as well as HIV tests and general prostate exams.

When asked if these gift certificates could be used for abortions, PP said yes, but that isn't their purpose. Chrystal Struben-Hall, Vice President of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said "They are really 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."

Sounds reasonable and helpful.

Not to Alveda King. "To give someone a gift card from the nation's largest abortion business is to give death for Christmas," said Alveda. "Planned Parenthood really should call these 'King Herod certificates' after the Roman ruler who slaughtered tiny babies in his vain attempt to kill the baby Jesus."

Well, Alveda obviously isn't aware that Herod did no such thing, but that's a minor point. I guess when you've decided that abortion for any reason is bad, bad, bad, and have concluded that god is on your side, you can stretch the truth a little bit.

And Alveda, certain of her righteousness, is decimating the truth when she claims Planned Parenthood "is defiling the celebration of our Savior's birth."

It's this kind of rhetoric that, being so hateful, ends up so harmful. Even though most scientists and a majority of people in this country believe life begins at birth, there should be room for disagreement and discussion. To call abortion "murder" begs the question and shuts the door to engagement.

And to imply that Planned Parenthood is giving gift certificates to be used for abortions is to color the truth with King's particular prejudice.

The truth is it's a wonderful thing what the Indiana branch of Planned Parenthood is doing. There are many "newly unemployed and uninsured Hoosiers" who will find the certificates a "practical gift option."

As Struben-Hall said, "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 the bottom of their list to do."

Planned Parenthood is trying to help. Before Alveda King sticks her self-righteous neck into the mix, she needs to be willing to accept and raise every single baby born into a situation where its basic needs cannot be provided.

Until then, Dr. King, shut up!

Planned Parenthood of Indiana is here.

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