Christian Right Opposes Pap Smears and Breast Exams December 3, 2008

Christian Right Opposes Pap Smears and Breast Exams

In a move that sounds much more controversial than it really is, Planned Parenthood of Indiana is selling gift certificates in $25 increments. Planned Parenthood of Illinois will be offering something similar beginning on Monday.

They cover a wide spectrum of health problems:

The gift certificates can be given to women and men to cover essential services like screenings and birth control. Services such as annual exams for women, which include breast exams and Pap tests, typically cost $58.

The gift certificates don’t expire. They can be used for co-payments, medication, contraception, and, yes, abortions. Although it should be noted that 95% of Planned Parenthood’s business is not abortion-related. The plan is to offer the certificates all year long.

It is actually a rather thoughtful gift for many people — especially those who may not have proper insurance or have not had the time to get a real checkup recently.

“Our patients are principally low-income women, and so, needless to say, those patients are more challenged now than ever,” [Betty Cockrum, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Indiana] said. “We find that when women are [financially] strapped, they’re more worried about putting food on the table and gas in their car, and their health care is often put by the wayside.”

Almost 800,000 Indiana residents don’t have health insurance, she said.

Now, take a guess at how the Religious Right is seeing this:

“They deserve coal in their stocking, not money for lethal gift certificates.” — Sister Diane Carollo, director of the Office for Pro-Life Ministry for the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

“The Baby Butchers of America want to celebrate Christmas by helping you kill your own children in the womb.” — Slice of Laodicea.

“Planned Parenthood, this generation’s King Herod, you know, the guy who ordered the mass slaughter of babies when Jesus was born.” — Jill Stanek, columnist for WorldNetDaily.

It’s foolish to think anyone would take an abortion so lightly. Only the nutcases think people have abortions just for the hell of it. I’ve never heard of anyone obtaining an abortion by way of a coupon.

Next thing you know, the Christian Right will be pissed off because Amazon offers gift certificates and they sell (*gasp*) condoms!

This is not a gift certificate for an abortion. In fact, the money could be used toward contraception — both of which would help prevent possible abortions.

This is a gift certificate to help women (and men) get the health care they need.

Planned Parenthood should be applauded for giving people the opportunity to show their family and friends they care about them, not condemned because they provide women with a choice.

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  • llewelly

    Yet more evidence that the anti-choice movement has leaders who are fundamentally dishonest; who deliberately manufacture lies to deceive and manipulate their followers. The supporters of the movement are much like the victims of any other sort of con-artist.

  • Justin jm

    …It should be noted that 95% of Planned Parenthood’s business is not abortion-related.

    The Religious Right doesn’t care. There’s no room for details, nuance (or rational discussion) in a binary moral world-view. That is why there still exists (and has always existed) opposition* to birth control, even though birth control is not abortion.

    *I’m not referring to opposition to birth control based on questions about its effectiveness as being irrational. I am focusing on the apparent assumption that it involves ending or killing a fetus.

  • “Planned Parenthood, this generation’s Old Testament God, you know, the guy who ordered the mass slaughter of babies just to make a point.”

  • Eliza

    *Shrug* Sorta like Bill O’Reilly – they can’t get through a day without getting unreasonably outraged about something.

    I like the gift certificate idea. Interesting, though, to consider who might give them to whom. Parents to young adult daughter? Boyfriend to girlfriend? Class gift to a teacher? Just think what a collection of short stories could come of this!

    $58 would buy ~2 packs of birth control pills. Good use of a gift certificate – on prevention & maintenance of a desired (nonpregnant) state of health.

    On the other hand, using one’s limited resources to obtain screening tests, such as breast exam & Pap smears, is not as beneficial as people & politicians tend to think, because screening tests don’t directly benefit your health. (Colonoscopy is an exception when polyps are found, because some of the polyps removed could have become cancerous over the subsequent ~10 years.)

    If a screening test is normal, then in retrospect you didn’t need to have it done (other than feeling the relief of having a normal test, I guess). But, if a screening test is abnormal then further evaluation (biopsy, etc) will be advised, at further cost; screening tests are for screening (duh) and have a fairly high false positive rate (low specificity); they’re not for definitive diagnosis. Then, if the further studies confirm there is a problem, treatment will be advised. And that $58 gift certificate will be long gone, and you’ll wish you had health insurance.

  • Jen

    While I can’t imagine giving this to someone without having some sort of discussion first, I would totally buy these if a friend of mine needed some gift certificates- abortion, pap smear, the pill, whatever they need- its not my business. I absolutely think there is a need. After all, a friend of mine just went off her birth control this week because she can’t afford the $28 a month when she isn’t having sex very often. Women’s health care is expensive, and not always covered by insurance (if you even have insurance, of course).

    Ideally, this would be completely unnecessary because we would have universal health care. Let’s get on that. And ideally, no one would listen to these asses and their women-hating opinions. Christ on a cracker, what jerks.

  • Hemant,

    It might be proper for you to use “Christian Fundamentalists” in articles that relate to uber-conservative Christians condemning actions that can help others.

    After all, not all of us who base our spirituality off the teachings of Jesus are this skewed and/or may not be “left” in their views. The reasoning behind my statement is because most thinking “Christians,” especially myself, will disagree with fundamentalists Christians and their literal interprations of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, as well as their limited views on other issues.

    Thanks A lot!

  • Aj


    Why does it matter to us whether they offer abortions or not? It’s not about the gift certificates these people are against abortion because they believe magic man gives souls when the sperm meets the egg. Actually some of them believe that magic man puts souls inside each sperm so they’re against condoms and other contraceptives.

    Seth C.,

    The Catholic isn’t a fundamentalist, and not all anti-abortion morons are biblical literalists or fundamentalists.

  • Lynn

    It is indeed an odd gift choice, but the automatic kneejerk outrage from the right is like white noise now, so whatever…usual suspects spouting the usual hyperbole, blahblahblah…

    I keep wondering when it is going to dawn on these cretins from the religious right that if they actually practiced the kindness and compassion their Jesus preached, less women might seek abortions.

  • Thanks for pointing out that Planned Parenthood does more, a lot more, than just abortions. That point is so overlooked all the time that I myself had just about forgotten.

    Yea Planned Parenthood!

  • cassiek

    The Planned Parenthood clinics in Indianapolis don’t provide abortions, only health care services and birth control. At least that’s how it has been since 1979 when I first came to them to get myself on birth control. They will make referrals to abortion providers, but their mission is to prevent that need.

  • Steven

    Aj wrote:
    “Actually some of them believe that magic man puts souls inside each sperm so they’re against condoms and other contraceptives.”
    Are there folks out there that really believe that? That would mean that every fertile male is walking around with – well, rather a lot of souls in his trousers. What happens to all the ones that never fertilize an egg? Is there a recycling program? What about all the frozen ones?
    I really can’t get my head around this nonsense and I really can’t fathom why my neighbours to the south don’t have the same universal health care that we have in Canada. It’s far from a perfect system but the alternative sounds much worse.

  • Here’s hoping the atheist bus runs over Jill Stanek. I am so sick of hearing from her. The woman is a fraud and a liar, and ought to be sued for libel. I’ll be glad when she’s off the scene.

  • I was hoping to get a hat for Christmas, a safety hat is even better. 😉

    These would make ideal presents for the most outraged of right wing Christian fundamentalists. I’m always keen on joke presents to wind people up. It’s like buying a vegetarian a voucher for their local butcher.

  • Lynn

    Actually, it’s a great idea for your favorite fundie co-worker — it’s more than a joke, too, ’cause gift certificates are non-refundable so PP gets what basically amounts to a donation in the name of your recipient.

  • I’d love to get one of those gift-certificates for Christmas, instead of the usual stuff I don’t really need. Of course, I live in Canada, so I have health insurance, but a certificate like that really says “I care about your health and well-being.”

    The fundies seem to blow a fuse every time women’s health options, particularly reproductive health, expand even just a smidgeon. Especially low-income women, who would probably benefit the most from this program. They seem much more active limiting these women’s choices, than actually helping them out in any real way. Of course, to quote Carlin, “that’s something Christ might do.”

  • jet

    Planned Parenthood is just luring women to the dark side with free pap smears and breast exams.Those things are just too sexy and pleasurable to be good for you.

  • Old Beezle

    “Planned Parenthood, this generation’s King Herod, you know, the guy who ordered the mass slaughter of babies when Jesus was born.” — Jill Stanek, columnist for WorldNetDaily.

    Someone should let Jill know that her analogy is referencing an event that history has no proof or record of. Has she called on people yet to start building arks to avoid the tsunami of home foreclosures that the Fed “prophets” are foretelling? How can you have a dialogue with anyone who uses fictitious points to support their side of the argument? Sheesh!

    oh yeah–go planned parenthood! yay!

  • The Catholic isn’t a fundamentalist, and not all anti-abortion morons are biblical literalists or fundamentalists.

    I can see that, so what does the term “Christian Right” mean? Conservative “Christian”? What are they conserving, besides bias, hatred, exclusiveness, and condemnation? It also seems that they base these views on a literal interpretation of the Bible or for the Catholic, perhaps, tradition?

    Also, what about people who consider themselves “conservatives” but conserve positive values like freedom, love, and equality for everyone? Take this excerpt from an article written by James R. Adams, president of the organization that founded the Jesus Seminar:

    We are Conservatives! By conservative, I mean that everyone who has addressed you has some sense of conserving what we learned as children, what we want to continue into our old age, and what we want to pass on to the next generation.

    When I think about Mrs. Tudor, I think about a great big picture that hung in our Sunday School room. It was a picture of Jesus surrounded by children. They represented all the possible shades of skin color. They were wearing clothing that was once associated with the different continents before all kids in the world wore Reebok’s and Levi’s. Jesus loves everybody. God loves me, and God loves everybody. That’s what I learned as a child. That’s conservative.

    See the full article here

    I know the various references to God are superflous, but this leads to him promoting treating every human with respect and equality. This is what needs to be “conserved.”

  • Kudos to Planned Parenthood. And if they dumbass religion freaks would do actual research, they would find that abortions are a small part of what happens. The end results would actually show Planned Parenthood prevents more abortions than any of these ultra right people that stand outside of abortion clinics or say disparaging remarks like the above.

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