Planned Parenthood gives out gift certificates

By Gianna Shikitino
February 19, 2009

When I think of gift certificates, restaurants and stores cross my mind. Never would I think of an organization such as Planned Parenthood being the provider of gift certificates.

I can see this stirring up controversy, maybe even praise.

National Public Radio had a talk show in December about the idea of Planned Parenthood giving gift certificates to women in need of healthcare during the tough economic downturn. Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, explained on the show that the gift certificates can be used for any services offered by the clinics, including abortions.

I think it’s a strategic way to reel in more women who are not receiving healthcare, but my concern is that young women will abuse the privileges. They may see it as a free ride for purchasing Plan B, birth control or may even use it towards an abortion.

If Planned Parenthood is worried about women lacking healthcare, don’t you think they would worry about their supplies running out? And with the economy being in a terrible condition, how will they receive the supplies they need if they’re basically giving them away for free?

The government will most likely turn down the idea of providing Planned Parenthood with more funding. So if Planned Parenthood is thinking of ways to promote their company’s services, they better think of ways to buy more supplies.

Richards’ goal for the use of certificates is to provide family planning and primary healthcare needs. She stated that Planned Parenthood clinics throughout America see almost 3 million women a year for birth control and breast cancer screenings.

I have never been to Planned Parenthood, nor do I plan on going there anytime soon, but I do know what Planned Parenthood offers and why many women go there.

And from what I heard, they did not go there for things such as breast cancer screenings.

In my opinion, Planned Parenthood’s initiative is clever; but I feel as though young women who are not mature enough will take advantage of the opportunity.

Yes, it is nice to give to those who are not receiving healthcare; I have no problem with that. But I think this gift-giving is a strategic way to promote Planned Parenthood and its services.

I feel as though the Planned Parenthood Federation of America used the excuse of the economy’s condition to expand their services.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe M.D. praised this idea of giving gift certificates in the mist of the financial crisis. So far, Indiana is the only state allowing Planned Parenthood to provide gift certificates in the United States.

Will the number of states following the idea change in the future? My guess is that if the gift certificates become a success, then possibly other health commissioners will approve of it.

The number of women without healthcare who have low income continue to grow each year, according to Richards. I can see how she cares about women in America who are not provided with healthcare, and I can also see why women may praise this idea.

Many women turn to Planned Parenthood rather than family or friends. I do not see a problem with that, whoever you feel comfortable going to is your choice. I am not saying that Planned Parenthood is a bad organization, I am sure they have helped many women over the years.

I think Planned Parenthood should monitor who they give the gift certificates to. I don’t think that women under the age of 18 should have access to the gift certificates, because in my opinion, younger teens who aren’t mature enough will think, “Oh hey I’m going to go out tonight, do whatever I want, and maybe tomorrow I’ll stop by Planned Parenthood and use the gift certificate on Plan B.” I’m not saying all girls under 18 act like that, but there are girls out there who abuse Planned Parenthood and its services.

Gianna Shikitino

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