- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2000

Want a condom with your French fries?
In Ohio, Planned Parenthood is offering just that in the form of a bright yellow coupon redeemable for free condoms and a McDonald's gift certificate.
"They are taking aim at families and children in a way that they would never dare to in the same neighborhoods their doctors occupy," says the Rev. Richard Welch, president of Human Life International (HLI), a pro-life group headquartered in Front Royal, Va. "Offering condoms with Big Macs. What's next?"
An HLI associate, Malia Blom, found the promotional bag with a bright yellow coupon while visiting friends in a poor black neighborhood in Akron, Ohio, in June. The coupon is redeemable at Planned Parenthood offices in three Ohio counties for a dozen condoms and a $5 McDonald's gift certificate.
Aided by a grant from Planned Parenthood headquarters in New York, the Akron affiliate bought the certificates and held them for redemption at their local offices. Each bag came with literature on sexually transmitted disease prevention, gynecology exams and contraception, a pen, mirror, notepad and condom-case key chain containing a bright green condom. All the items are printed with Planned Parenthood phone numbers.
"We'd been out for the day, and when we got back, my friend's mother had this bag, which she found on her doorstep," Miss Blom says. "She was surprised."
"I called the number for Akron's Planned Parenthood, and they connected me to an educational department. I asked about the bag, and the way they identified which bag I had was by the type of bag and the coupon on top," Miss Blom says.
The woman she contacted told her that it wasn't being distributed across all of Akron, and she "implied that the different bags were from different areas and different waves," targeting different neighborhoods. Not all the promotional bags had the McDonald's coupon offer.
Miss Blom says that "for relatively obvious reasons, I did not identify who I was calling from."
HLI issued a press release about the matter, which Akron Planned Parenthood Executive Director Roberta Aber proceeded to rip apart.
"That is absolutely false," she said. "No one talked to me. We do not have different types of bags. We did not target only low-income neighborhoods, and we did not leave any bags on doorknobs. All our bags went into the hands of adult women.
"This was a routine promotion. Our mission is to make sure that all women have access to contraception regardless of their economic status," Mrs. Aber said. "More than half of all pregnancies are unintended, and we wanted people to know that our services are available to help them."
Father Welch blasted the targeting of low-income, minority neighborhoods with the promotional bags, calling it "the racism inherent in promoting abortion and contraception in primarily minority neighborhoods," and attacking Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger:
"Having sprung from the racist dreams of a woman determined to apply abortion and contraception to eugenics and ethnic cleansing, Planned Parenthood remains true to the same strategy today."
Planned Parenthood's public relations office shot back: "Attempts to discredit the family planning movement because its early 20th-century founder was not a model of late 20th-century values is like disavowing the Declaration of Independence because its author, Thomas Jefferson, bought and sold slaves. Margaret Sanger was not a racist or a eugenicist."
"That sounds like Planned Parenthood," says the Rev. Johnny Hunter, national director of the black pro-life Life Education and Resource Network in Virginia Beach, Va. "They go into a community and pretend that they're there to help. Years ago, the Black Panthers saw that [Planned Parenthood was] a racist organization from the get-go. And people have realized that the Black Panthers were right; they have no reason to be in black neighborhoods. They have succeeded in fooling a lot of people, but a lot of people are waking up now."
McDonald's Corp. has refused to take sides in the dispute.
"We are a hamburger company," spokesman Walt Riker said, "and we would never get involved in a political issue like this."

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