Indiana Chapter of Planned Parenthood to Offer Gift Certificates
Planned Parenthood of Indiana will offer gift certificates for their services this holiday season. The Indiana state vice president of PPFA told Indiana's CBS 10 that the decision to offer the certificates is in part because of the economic downturn: "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." Nearly 800,000 in the state do not have health insurance, according to the Associated Press.
PPFA of Indiana offers a range of basic health care services including annual exams that include pap smears and breast exams, dispensing of birth control prescriptions, as well as abortion services.
The gift certificates have drawn criticism from anti-choice forces. The Office for Pro-Life Ministry for the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Indiana Right to Life, and the American Life League are among the groups who have denounced the gift certificates. However, Dr. Judy Monroe, Indiana’s health commissioner, has called the certificates a "really a meaningful gift," according to the Washington Times.
Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of PPFA of Indiana responded in the Washington Times to charges that the certificates promote abortion: "an abortion is a tragic and urgent situation in a women's life, and gift certificates don't lend themselves to that." She also said that "even a gift certificate of $25 goes a long way toward what's potentially a life-saving but certainly just essential, basic health care for a loved one." Only 5,000 of the 92,000 patients seen annually by PPFA of Indiana receive abortion services.
Media Resources: Associated Press11/27/08; The Washington Times 11/29/08; CBS-10 11/26/08
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The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
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Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
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