Planned Parenthood "I Had An Abortion" Shirts Cause Huge Uproar From Women
by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
July 27, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Shop Planned Parenthood’s online store, and you’ll find a collection of items promoting the organization — everything from pins to posters, from condoms to “milk chocolate birth control pill packs.”
But recently, Planned Parenthood’s sales site tried to expand its merchandise line by touting a t-shirt proclaiming “I had an abortion.”
The shirt offer has sparked an outcry from women who have had abortions, who believe that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation, is sending the wrong message to young women.
"When I saw the shirt, I thought they are simply trying to mainstream abortion,” said Georgette Forney, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness campaign. The campaign was launched by women who have had abortions who regret their decisions and don’t want other women to make the same mistake.
“But then I realized the T-shirt’s message, ‘I had an abortion,’ is a response to the Silent No More Awareness Campaign’s message, ‘I Regret My Abortion,’ so I guess I could look at it as a backhanded compliment," Forney explained. "They have noticed our campaign and they feel it needs a response."
Olivia Gans, director of American Victims of Abortion, who had an abortion in 1981, says, in response to the t-shirts, “Having an abortion is a heartbreaking experience. It is not something to boast about."
But Planned Parenthood defends the decision to sell the controversial shirts. Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt said the shirts let women "stand up for choice."
"It’s a heart-wrenching decision, but women don’t need to be ashamed of it," said Feldt.
Planned Parenthood has been advertising the t-shirts with the blurb: “They have finally arrived! Planned Parenthood is proud to offer yet another t-shirt in our new social fashion line. These soft and comfortable fitted tees assert a powerful message in support of women’s rights..”
At one point, the t-shirts, which sell for $15, were apparently pulled from the online display, only to later reappear.
In recent years, greater attention has been paid to the effect that abortion has on women.
Groups such as Silent No More talk about the harmful aftereffects of abortion, while “Rachel’s Vineyard” offers retreats for women who are suffering the loss of a child due to abortion.
In many areas of the country, women who have undergone abortions have become leaders of the pro-life movement.
Actress and Cover Girl model Jennifer O’Neill, a spokeswoman for Silent No More, has talked about the real-life nightmare she endured as a result of her abortion — a nightmare which included multiple miscarriages, broken relationships, and intense psychological pain.
O’Neill and other women who have undergone abortions say they share their stories in the hope of helping other women avoid the pain that they have experienced — or to find healing and hope, after an abortion has already taken place.
According to the Silent No More website, “The emotional and physical pain of abortion will no longer be shrouded in secrecy and silence, but rather exposed and healed. This effort is a key to make abortion unthinkable and persuade society that women deserve better than abortion.”
However, Forney notes that, with its t-shirt campaign, Planned Parenthood appears to be trying to sell women on abortion — without explaining the potential fallout from such a life-changing decision.
“What concerns me is that selling a shirt like this is really a subtle form of exploitation,” Forney said. “Planned Parenthood is exploiting women to promote abortion with their wearable ‘messages’ when they are well aware of the consequences — physical, emotional and spiritual–that women experience after an abortion,” she added.
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