The following story was updated Dec. 1, 2010
A week after the start of Advent, in which many people are preparing to celebrate the birth of the Infant Jesus, the largest provider of abortions in Alaska plans to utilize a popular holiday bazaar in Anchorage to promote and raise funds for their organization, although funds raised during the bazaar cannot be used to pay for abortions.
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest (PPGNW) is scheduled to be one of 35 non-profit organizations that will participate in the annual Mitzvah Mall, a Dec. 5 holiday bazaar hosted by Congregation Beth Sholom, a Reform Jewish synagogue in Anchorage.
In November, the Catholic Anchor incorrectly reported that Planned Parenthood would be accepting gift donations at the Mitzvah Mall that could be utilized for abortions. In actuality, Planned Parenthood will be accepting donations to help pay for birth control pills, educational opportunities and other services provided by the organization. While Planned Parenthood performs hundreds of abortions in Alaska each year, Director Clover Simon says that the holiday gifts purchased at the Mitzvah Mall cannot be designated to pay for abortion procedures.
In 2008, Planned Parenthood participated in the Mitzvah Mall and offered donors the option to give money towards various birth control options as well as a “one night’s stay in a hotel for out-of-town patients.”
The Mitzvah Mall, however, is not the first time Planned Parenthood has utilized the Christmas season to promote its organization.
In 2007, Planned Parenthood made national headlines when the organization used the Christmas season to promote its “Choice on Earth” holiday cards in which people could purchase holiday-themed cards with customized messages, which featured themes ranging from “Choice on Earth” (with gold snowflakes on a purple background or golden birds on a tree branch) to “Seasons Greetings” (featuring a pink background and a white silhouette of a parent and child) and “Happy Planning for the New Year” (with a parent hold a child’s hand).
One card featured two Christian doves holding an olive branch.
In Alaska, Planned Parenthood recently made headlines for its opposition to a successful ballot measure that now requires abortion practitioners to notify at least one parent of a minor girl before they perform an abortion on her.
Planned Parenthood runs five clinics in Alaska, four of which perform abortions and one that refers for abortion. On average, more than 600 abortions are performed in Alaska annually.
Printed with permission from CatholicAnchor.org, newspaper for the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska.