Planned Parenthood Gift Certificates Draw Reaction

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A recent conversation about gift certificates being offered by a Midwest branch of Planned Parenthood stirred strong opinions among the Tell Me More audience. Hear feedback about that initiative, and one listener's criticism about another recent discussion.


And now it's time for BackTalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the Tell Me More blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is here. Hey, Lee, what's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Now I know the Barbershop guys just talked about this, but before today we hadn't even had a conversation about this on the program. An Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at President Bush last weekend, and that inspired listener Robert to write to us with a song.

ROBERT: (Singing) Pardon me, boy, is that the cat that threw the two shoes? Don't send him to jail. We'll all pay for his bail.

HILL: Well, actually Robert, Tell Me More won't be picking up the tab on that one, but nice rhymes. And now Michel, let's get to the real meat of BackTalk, shall we say. We asked listeners to give us feedback on our conversation this week with Cecile Richards. She's president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Now the Indiana chapter of the group caused a dustup because they decided to offer gift certificates for services offered by the organization. Now, it took all of about two minutes after the segment aired to get listeners writing to us and calling us on the line. Here's Damon.

DAMON: The biggest challenge personally that I have with Planned Parenthood is not these services that everyone would agree with in terms of health care. We all want that. That's a given. The common ground really has to be one that respects universally human life, both the quality of life of women and the life itself of children.

MARTIN: Thank you, Damon, for calling. We also heard from Lori(ph) who has a different take.

LORI: I started going to Planned Parenthood when I was 17 years old. Not only that, but I sought them out when I was in my 40s because I felt that they provided the most up-to-date nonjudgmental health care services for women that I had experienced. I think that the gift certificate idea is a wonderful idea, and I hope that other women are helped by that program.

MARTIN: Thank you, Lori. Moving along, we also did some reporting on the wage gap, the persistent gap between the average earnings of men and women even when both work full time. At the end of the conversation, we asked listeners to tell us if they believe the disparities are the result of bias against women or more the result of personal choices women make about their careers. Well, Cindy(ph), a teacher and a social scientist, said that that's irrelevant.

CINDY: In some ways it's very misleading to ask people what their perception is. Instead it's better, as you did actually, to ask the experts because any one person's perspective is going to be just that one person's perspective. And the expert opinion is different. And so I guess I would appreciate it if that was made more clear.

HILL: Thanks, Cindy. And finally, we spoke with two artists shaking up the comic book scene. Andre Campbell and Tyran Eades. Now, Michel, you asked the guys why women in comic books are drawn with such large breasts. Fair question. But here's a response to your observation posted on our Web site by Caleb. And for the parents out there, just a warning, his comment may be a little too graphic for some younger listeners. Caleb writes, "male characters are just as dramatically endowed as female characters. The male demographic likes breast. The female demographic likes muscles and penises. After all, comics aren't meant to replicate reality. Yes, they are meant to explore various social issues. But they are, above all, meant to be entertaining."

MARTIN: Hey, it was a little too graphic for me. OK, Caleb, I'm not sure that everybody will share your observation about what people want to see, but we asked for your opinion and you were good enough to give it to us. Thank you for that. And thank you, Lee. And happy holidays.

HILL: Same to you, Michel. Happy holidays.

MARTIN: Remember, with Tell Me More, the conversation never ends. To tell us more about what you think, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. That number again is 202-842-3522. Remember to please leave your name. And of course, you can also go to the Tell Me More page at and blog it out.

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