The Christian company Thirty-One Gifts has been the subject of considerable controversy this week because it is involved in funding organization that are partners with the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
Abby Johnson, the pro-life former Planned Parenthood abortion facility manager, first exposed the connections between Thirty-One Gifts and Planned Parenthood partners in a LifeNews blog post and Susan Michelle Tyrrell of the Bound4Life youth pro-life organization followed up with more information on the connections.
“Among its contributions to Planned Parenthood affiliated organizations are the YWCA, consistently on the Life Dynamics Planned Parenthood funding list, Girl Scouts, which has close ties to Planned Parenthood and some very explicit sexual teaching, and the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio which not only funds Girl Scouts but also brags about its Planned Parenthood funding,” Tyrrell said. “Without question Thirty-One Gives is funding places that provide abortions.”
Now, Thirty-One Gifts has responded with a statement responding to the criticism.
Recently questions have been raised about Thirty-One and our philanthropy initiative, Thirty-One Gives. Thirty-One believes in celebrating, encouraging and rewarding women. Thirty-One Gives is our philanthropic initiative that ensures this mission is carried out through the celebration and empowerment of women and girls by strengthening their belief in themselves and strengthening their families … actions that lead to purposeful and thriving lives.
We support initiatives that align with this mission, which is why we focus our giving on organizations that support leadership and economic independence for women and girls such as Salvation Army, Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, Dress for Success Worldwide, Girls Scouts and YWCA of Central Ohio.
Thirty-One Gives has not provided any direct funding for Planned Parenthood or any other activities outside the scope of our mission.
Thirty-One Gives supports HER, no matter her circumstances, no matter where she’s been or where she’s going. We want to be there in her greatest time of need and in her greatest time of joy. We empower HER.
Here are some of our amazing partners:
- Dress for Success Worldwide
- GOGO Gives: Get One Give One Gives
- Safe Horizon
- Domestic Violence Intervention Services
- YWCA of Central Ohio
- Girl Scouts
- Salvation Army
- Project Woman
- Interfaith Hospitality Network
- The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio
- ROX Ruling Our Experiences
But Tyrrell calls the statement a “funding shell game” that provides indirect support for Planned Parenthood.
“This funding shell game has been an issue for pro-lifers for a long time. Recently the biggest public appearance of it was with the Susan G. Komen foundation funding Planned Parenthood,” she said. “All along, Komen has asserted it gives money to the abortion provider for breast cancer screenings, not abortions. We have reported on the issue of fungibility of funds many times. It’s impossible, of course, to donate money to a place that provides abortions and not add to their funding. That’s the shell game; move it around a bit and put it in the right accounts, but the nature of funding is the more money someone has for one thing the more it frees up money for another thing.”
Tyrrell says Thirty-One’s founder, Cindy Monroe, according to its own site, sits as an honorary member of the Ohio’s Heartland Girl Scout Council even though the Girl Scouts has connections with Planned Parenthood.
And another group, the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, directly donates to Planned Parenthood, Tyrrell indicates.
“The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio is an agency that, according to its own information has recently funded a grant at Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio. This link, also from the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s own website, shows that it regularly funds Planned Parenthood, and this year $20,000 has been pledged. A look at its most recently available IRS Form 990 tax return (WFCO 2010 990) for charitable organizations shows the same information,” she said. “The average early abortion costs about $451. Just for comparison’s sake, the $20,000 the Women’s Fund gives them each year pays for about 44 abortions.”
“Of course, 1) we don’t know how much Thirty-One actually gave to the Women’s Fund to make a comparison, just that they admittedly did and 2) I don’t think that Thirty-One Gives is giving money to anyone for the expressed purpose of abortion either, but when you play around a fire, smoke gets on you. It’s impossible to give money to places that help fund Planned Parenthood and call yourself innocent of abortion,” she added.
Tyrrell also profiles an email the company is sending supporters claiming that claims published at LifeNews and other blogs are “untrue” and that Thirty-One Gifts is not directly funding Planned Parenthood, which is not the basis of the complaints from the pro-life advocates.
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Kristi Burton of Live Action drives that point home in a new column she wrote today.
“Not one of the pro-life organizations or people who have called Thirty-One out have claimed that they directly funded Planned Parenthood. That was never an issue. The issue, as of yet unaddressed by Thirty-One, is that its foundation does directly fund an organization who directly funds Planned Parenthood and is quite public about it,” she said.
Burton continues, “But Thirty-One, after hearing pro-lifers’ call on them to stop supporting Planned Parenthood’s friends, calls The Women’s Fund “amazing.” They also call the Girl Scouts and the YWCA, other known supporters of Planned Parenthood “amazing.” How can a Christian company say that an organization who donates to the biggest abortion giant in America is “amazing”?”
“Since the breaking of the news about Thirty-One’s partner organizations, many Christians have objected to the public outcry which has been raised without even acknowledging how wrong it is for a Christian company to support abortion in any way, shape, or form. I shouldn’t have to explain how any support of Planned Parenthood is support of abortion, and I won’t. Are we as Christians really so desensitized to the horror of abortion that we don’t even bother to object because we like a purse company so much,” she asked.
ACTION: Contact Thirty-One Gives at email@example.com