Planned Parenthood Backs Out of Event With Wisconsin YMCA

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 4, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Planned Parenthood Backs Out of Event With Wisconsin YMCA

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
March 4, 2004

St. Paul, MN ( — Planned Parenthood of Minnesota/South Dakota has backed out of a rental agreement with YMCA of Greater St. Paul’s Camp St. Croix in Hudson, Wisconsin. The abortion business had planned to hold a retreat for parents and children at the YMCA facility Saturday.

"Planned Parenthood canceled the rental agreement for the retreat scheduled for March 6," Bette Fenton, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for YMCA of Greater St. Paul told "The reason we were given is that their collaborative partner for the retreat canceled."

Tina Smith, Planned Parenthood vice president of public affairs, told the Hudson Star-Observer newspaper on Tuesday that her organization canceled the agreement because a community partner in the event, the St. Paul Urban League, backed out.

But, the St. Paul Urban League told that they were not a partner in the event, but that an individual employed by the group had volunteered on their own time and initiative.

Smith was surprised by the Urban League’s response.

"There must be some confusion at the St.Paul Urban League," she told "We have a signed contract and check from them in support of the events."

Planned Parenthood of Minnesota/South Dakota did not return phone calls from to confirm its allegation.

"The YMCA was totally prepared to honor that rental agreement," Fenton told the Star-Observer. "We routinely rent to other groups. We are open to all and we do not discriminate."

Fenton also said that the Y’s decision to rent their facilities did not imply affiliation or partnership with the renting organization or its agenda. The YMCA, she said, rents out its unused facilities for additional income.

"Without a policy change, nothing will change at the YMCA — including the acknowledgment Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin could walk in next week and make the same rental agreement," Darla Meyers, organizer of a prayerful protest scheduled for Saturday told

Meyers said she organized the protest because Planned Parenthood is anti-life and anti-family, stating that the organization promotes sexual promiscuity and opposes parental involvement in minor’s lives.

Dominick Washington, media relations manager in Planned Parenthood’s Minneapolis office, called the charges baseless.

"Not only are those accusations not true, mainstream Americans just don’t buy that type of rhetoric," Washington said. "They know what Planned Parenthood is about. They know that Planned Parenthood’s services are largely designed to prevent unintended pregnancy and abortion."

William Poehler of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life disagrees with Washington. His organization believes that Planned Parenthood of Minnesota has aided minors in obtaining abortions without parental notification.

"Planned Parenthood knows judges that will approve a judicial waiver," said Poehler. "We have a bill in the works to provide info on how the law is being implemented. We suspect it is becoming a ‘rubber stamp’ process.’"

Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the U.S., routinely challenges parental notification laws across the country, and explains to teens on its website for adolescents how to avoid such laws by seeking "judicial bypass waivers" or going to another state. In some cases, pro-life advocates have reported that Planned Parenthood employees and attorneys have aiding girls in obtaining abortions without parental consent in those states.

In Michigan, state Rep. William O’Neil (D-Allen Park) introduced legislation to tighten his state’s parental consent laws, after he said local judges told him abortion advocates look for pro-abortion judges and funnel their waiver requests through them. Planned Parenthood was a clear opponent of the legislation.

According to the Michigan State Court Administrative Office, as many as 800 bypasses were applied for annually, and approximately 90% of those judicial bypass waivers were granted.

According to the YMCA of the USA website, the Chicago-based organization is a supporting organization to the independent associations nationwide. The local YMCAs are obligated by the national YMCA constitution to pay dues to the YMCA of the USA, adopt a non-discrimination policy, and uphold the mission "To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all."

"The YMCA makes a serious mistake in trying to placate the largest abortion organization in the United States," Meyers told "In order for the YMCA to impart those Christian principles, the child needs to be born. The YMCA is discriminating against the most defenseless among us, the unborn baby, by allowing an extremist organization like PP to rent their facilities."

In addition to a protest on-site, Meyers is asking those opposed to the arrangement to contact contributors to the YMCA and ask them to demand refunds for their contributions, as well as promise not to contribute in the future.

"If all the babies were born that Planned Parenthood kills by abortion, they would have enough membership to cover their costs," said Meyers.

According the YMCA of Greater St. Paul’s 2002 annual report, 39.7 percent of their income comes from memberships, and 27 percent comes from Child Care fees. Approximately 14 percent of their income is from contributions and endowment gifts.

All together, the over 2,000 YMCAs nationwide form the largest non-profit community service organization in the United States.

Related Sites:

YMCA of Greater St. Paul and YMCA of Minneapolis –
YMCA National Headquarters –
YMCA Camp St. Croix Information Page –