28 February 2008

Outrage and a roll of the eyes

**UPDATED 3/1/08: See comments at the bottom of this post**

As someone who used to work for a nonprofit foundation, I am familiar with the rules of donations, and this not only shocked me, but also made me say "This is classic Planned Parenthood". It's a lengthy post, but I wanted to copy the entire article from http://www.idahostatesman.com/ in case it ever becomes unavailable. See the original here. As of this posting, there were 257 online comments on this article.

Response to caller 'a serious mistake,' says Planned Parenthood of Idaho
They also criticized The Advocate for trying to discredit employees with recorded phone calls

Autumn Kersey of Planned Parenthood in Boise: Good afternoon, this is Autumn.
Donor: Hello, Autumn, I'm interested in making a donation today.
Kersey: Fantastic!
Donor: What about abortions for the underprivileged minority groups?
Kersey: Oh, absolutely. We have, um, in fact, uh wonderful, fantastic news. We just received a very generous donation to our women in need fund.
Donor: Wonderful. I want to specify that abortion to help a minority group - would that be possible?
Kersey: Absolutely.
Donor: Like the black community for example?
Kersey: Certainly.
Donor: OK, so the abortionI can give money specifically for a black baby, that would be the purpose.
Kersey: Absolutely. If you wanted to designate that you wanted your gift to be used to help (an) African-American woman in need, then we would certainly make sure that that gift was earmarked specifically for that purpose.
Donor: Great. Because I really face trouble with affirmative action, and I don't want my kids being disadvantaged, you know, against black kids. I just had a baby; I want to put it in his name, you know.
Kersey: Mmhmm, absolutely.
Donor: So that's definitely possible.
Kersey: Oh, always, always.
Donor: So I just wanna - can I put this in the name of my son?
Kersey: Absolutely.
Donor: Yeah, he's trying to get into colleges, and he's going to be applying, you know, he's justwe're just really bighe's really faced troubles with affirmative action.
Kersey: Mmhmm.
Donor: And we don't, you know, we just think, you know, the less black kids out there the better.
Kersey: (Laughs) Understandable, understandable. ... Um David, let me, if I may, just get some sort of specific general information so we can set this up the right way. You said you wanted to put it in your son's name, and you would like this designated specifically to assist (an) African-American woman who's looking to terminate a pregnancy.
Donor: Exactly, and yeah, I wanna protect my son, so he can get into college.
Kersey: All right. Excuse my hesitation, um, um, this is the first time I've had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I'm excited, and I wanna make sure I don't leave anything out.
Transcript released by The Advocate


BY SANDRA FORESTER - sforester@idahostatesman.com
Edition Date: 02/28/08

Planned Parenthood of Idaho officials apologized Wednesday for what they called an employee's "serious mistake" in encouraging a donation aimed at aborting black babies.
They also criticized The Advocate, a right-to-life student magazine at the University of California-Los Angeles, for trying to discredit Planned Parenthood employees in seven states in a series of tape-recorded phone calls last summer.
The call to Idaho came in July to Autumn Kersey, vice president of development and marketing for Planned Parenthood of Idaho.
On the recording provided by The Advocate, an actor portraying a donor said he wanted his money used to eliminate black unborn children because "the less black kids out there the better."
Kersey laughed nervously and said: "Understandable, understandable. ... Excuse my hesitation, this is the first time I've had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I'm excited and want to make sure I don't leave anything out."
On Tuesday, The Advocate released transcripts and audio recordings of this phone call and another to fundraising representatives in Ohio.
The student editor-in-chief of The Advocate said she's not surprised by Planned Parenthood's response and that the unedited recordings speak for themselves. The activist students think Planned Parenthood targets minorities and minority neighborhoods.
On Wednesday, Planned Parenthood of Idaho "firmly and unequivocally" denounced racial bias, admitted making a mistake and said the group had taken corrective action.
"A fundraising employee violated the organization's principles and practices when she appeared to be willing to accept a racially motivated donation," said CEO Rebecca Poedy in a written statement. "We apologize for the manner in which this offensive call was handled. We take full responsibility for the actions of the fundraising staff member who created the impression that racism of any form would be tolerated at Planned Parenthood. We took swift action to ensure that each of our employees understands their responsibility to communicate clearly with donors about the fact that we believe in helping all individuals, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation, make informed decisions about their reproductive health care."
A spokeswoman for the organization would not say whether further disciplinary action was taken against Kersey, saying that was a personnel matter.
A longtime anti-abortion activist and conservative lobbyist - Idaho Values Alliance Executive Director Bryan Fischer - called Kersey's response in July reprehensible and said she should have been fired.
"It turns out that blatant racism is alive and well in Idaho, but it's not coming from the Aryan Nation types - it's coming from way-left organizations like Idaho's own Planned Parenthood," Fischer said. "They should have stridently rebuked that donor for being a racist and a bigot and refused to take that money."
The national Planned Parenthood office did not return phone calls Wednesday, but local officials denounced the editor of The Advocate as "a known anti-choice extremist."
"While the actions of our staff member were unacceptable, it's also unacceptable for opponents of abortion to use racist, deceptive tactics to smear Planned Parenthood," Poedy said. "The race-baiting tactics on display in this case are not news 'exposes,' but rather the product of the most cynical form of politicking."
Lila Rose, the UCLA student who led the Planned Parenthood investigation as The Advocate's editor-in-chief, said it is sad that the organization would focus on what the students did.
"They do not change their ways," Rose said. "They attack the whistleblower."
Nationwide, Planned Parenthood received about $902 million in revenue in 2005-06, according to its annual report. Private donations made up about 24 percent, or $212 million.
"It is unacceptable for a nonprofit to accept donations that target specific races," Rose said.
The Advocate is waiting for responses from Idaho and Ohio before releasing recordings from Planned Parenthood organizations in several other states, she said. In the meantime, the magazine is calling for UCLA to cut its ties with Planned Parenthood.
It is legal in Idaho for someone who makes a phone call to secretly tape it.

I think you all can probably guess my main opposition to Planned Parenthood, but I should clarify what is so disturbing about PP's actions in this specific instance. Not only is it ludicrous that they would accept donations specified for the abortion of a baby of a certain race, but does it strike anyone else as odd that they would even have a fund specifically for African American women? We're so used to seeing things like this that we don't notice the irony. We don't notice how "racial inequality" is being perpetuated by the very act of pointing it out. Think about all the scholarship funds, tv shows, magazines, etc. specifically created for black people. Could we replace the word "black" in their titles with "white" or "indian" or "asian" and not create an uproar? I do *not* advocate ignoring racial differences, but rather recognizing that God made every man in his image, "red, yellow, black or white" and therefore every person is worthy of respect, equally.

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