By Liz Townsend
To the outrage of women who have experienced the pain of abortion, Planned Parenthood is selling t-shirts that proclaim, "I Had an Abortion."
"Once again, the callousness and insensitivity of Planned Parenthood provides another example of just how out of touch it is with the reality of abortion and the impact it has on women," said Olivia Gans, director of American Victims of Abortion, an outreach of National Right to Life. "It is clear that Planned Parenthood puts promoting abortion above concern for women."
Gans said rather than falling off, the storm created by PPFA's initial decision to sell the shirt and subsequent decision to continue even though many people objected has only grown more intense.
"Not a day goes by that I don't receive calls from outraged people," she said. "This gross insensitivity has touched a raw nerve."
Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt told CNN that the t-shirts support the view that "the decision to have a child or not is one of the most profound and personal that any of us make."
Pro-lifers, however, argued that a t-shirt is not the appropriate venue to advertise such an admittedly "personal" issue. "Every abortion not only ends a life, but it can leave a woman emotionally wounded," said Gans. "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 its agenda."
Even some Planned Parenthood affiliates have spoken out against the sale of the shirts. "This is going beyond pro-choice," Brian Lewis, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Health Systems of North Carolina, told the Charlotte Observer. "We're offending people. This is not what America needs."
Controversy about the shirts has exploded since the first news stories appeared. Gans said that the reaction against them demonstrates what pro-lifers know to be the truth: "You can't normalize or trivialize the most profoundly life-changing event," she told NRL News. "Women themselves see it for what it is - - a permanent life-or-death decision. You can't rationalize away something that hurts so bad."
And that is precisely what Planned Parenthood refuses to confront: the fact that abortion is not a routine event that can be boasted about on a t-shirt. "It touches much deeper notes in the human heart than Planned Parenthood wants to admit," said Gans, who has over 20 years of experience working with women who are healing from their abortion experiences. "But Planned Parenthood apparently neither cares about nor is aware of what the authentic reaction of women after an abortion is. I have never met a woman who would be willing to trumpet her abortion in such a way."
The shirts also point to a larger truth about the pro-abortion establishment. "Planned Parenthood's willingness to promote this t-shirt indicates one major objective: to make themselves and what they do every day to 4,000 women and children acceptable," Gans insisted. "It's an attempt to justify something that doesn't make sense. And it never will."