'I Had An Abortion' T-shirts Outrage Pro-Life Groups

( [email protected] ) Jul 29, 2004 08:32 PM EDT

A new “fashion” t-shirt sold online by Planned Parenthood, which shamelessly reads “I had an abortion,” has outraged pro-life groups and even offended several Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortions provider, clinics nationwide.

"Once again, the callousness and insensitivity of Planned Parenthood provides another example of just how out of touch they are with the reality of abortion and the impact it has on women," said Olivia Gans, director of American Victims of Abortion, an outreach of the nation’s largest pro-life organization, National Right to Life.

"It is pretty clear that Planned Parenthood puts promoting abortion above concern for women,” she said.

The $15 t-shirt is sold on Planned Parenthood’s Web site, which posted an excerpt under a picture of the t-shirt, reading: "They have finally arrived! Planned Parenthood is proud to offer yet another t-shirt in our new social fashion line: ‘I Had an Abortion’ fitted T-shirts are now available. These soft and comfortable fitted tees assert a powerful message in support of women's rights.”

Gans is not amused at the statement on the t-shirts which attempts to de-stigmatize a practice that she believes has harmful consequences.

"Every abortion not only ends a life, but it can leave a woman emotionally wounded," said Gans.

Lisa Arnold of A Woman's Choice Resource Center, a pro-life organization in Louisville, told a local NBC TV station that women who are wearing those T-shirts are convincing themselves it was okay to get an abortion.

Arnold who had an abortion when she was young said, "I wouldn't advertise that I was proud of having an abortion.” She went through with the abortion because she was felt “very pressured” like most women do.

Upon seeing the shirt, a woman interviewed by the same station said, "That's horrible, that's absolutely horrible."

Although the national office of Planned Parenthood made the decision to sell the t-shirt, which was designed by an independent artist, several local offices of Planned Parenthood object to the move.

"This is going beyond pro-choice," Brian Lewis of Mebane, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Health Systems, told The Charlotte Observer. "We're offending people.”

Lewis, who represents Planned Parenthood affiliates in Charlotte and six other Carolinas locations, sent a formal e-mail on July 27 to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America office in New York, expressing the objection of the group's Carolinas affiliates.

Rebecca Poedy, Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood chapter in Idaho shared similar reactions as Lewis regarding the T-shirt. "Very disappointed, I think the issue to focus on here is the effort that Planned Parenthood goes to, to prevent unwanted pregnancy. I think this is just a poor decision and we are just not supportive of it," she said in an article posted on KBCI TV’s Web site.

The sale of the "I had an abortion" t-shirts on Planned Parenthood's website has become so controversial that Planned Parenthood temporarily removed the item from their online store on July 27. The t-shirts were later re-posted.

Gans concluded in a released statement, "The experience of abortion is traumatic and devastating and I am appalled that Planned Parenthood would exploit the tragic experience of women like myself to further their agenda."