.- The Indiana affiliate of Planned Parenthood is offering gift certificates for birth control and other services, including abortion. While an announcement of the program encourages customers to purchase the certificates to âgive the gift of health this holiday season,â one critic characterized the effort as âlethal.â
Indiana Planned Parenthood is offering the certificates in $25 increments through its web site or at its 35 locations in the state. Prospective customers are advised that the gift certificates could be used as co-pays in conjunction with partial insurance coverage.
âWhy not buy a loved one a gift this holiday season that they really need and one that will contribute to their health throughout the year?" Indiana Planned Parenthood President and CEO Betty Cockrum said in a statement on the state affiliateâs web site. âThe gift certificates are also a wonderful idea for that person in your life who puts everyone else first and has been putting off taking care of her or his own health. Now, thereâs no excuse for those people in your life not to get the basic health care that they need.â
The certificates may be used for breast exams and Pap smears, but may also be applied to defray the cost of an abortion, the Associated Press reports.
"I certainly don't think anyone would consider giving it for that purpose," Planned Parenthood of Indiana spokeswoman Kate Shepherd said.
Cockrum reported that Planned Parenthood in Indiana performs abortions on about 5,000 of the 92,000 patients it sees each year.
In Indiana the organization operates abortion clinics in Indianapolis, Merrillville and Bloomington.
Sister Diane Carollo, director of the Office for Pro-Life Ministry for the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, criticized the program.
"They deserve coal in their stocking, not money for lethal gift certificates," she told the Associated Press.
Mike Fichter, president and CEO of Indiana Right to Life, was also critical.
âThe tragedy is that almost 6,000 fewer children will be celebrating a first Christmas this year because they were aborted in Planned Parenthood's Indiana clinics,â he remarked.