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Planned Parenthood -- for all your holiday gifts

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I can be one hard gal to shop for, and I've been known to exchange, re-gift and return gifts. I can't help it -- which means many of my exhausted family members and friends have simply given up and retreated to the faithful standby of gift cards and certificates.

Haters say the cards or certificates are generic and thoughtless, but not me. I say bring 'em on -- that is, until Planned Parenthood got in on the game.

That's right: Planned Parenthood gift certificates. The certificates are for sale in Indiana and Illinois, where they come in $25 increments and cover all services, including abortion. It's the gift for the person who has everything -- including, perhaps, genital warts or an unplanned pregnancy.

So...what about Colorado?

I called the local headquarters and was told the certificates aren't available here -- and that if I had any other questions, I should call the national office. The person there referred me to branches in Illinois and Indiana, which haven't returned my calls. That's not surprising. After all, conservative groups across the country have protested the entire concept. This can't be their favorite subject.

Before they got so shy, Planned Parenthood execs said the certificates were created in response to the large number of newly unemployed and uninsured women seeking an array of services. They don't think the gift certificates will be used for abortions, but for other services, like breast exams.

And yes, Planned Parenthood does offer other services, like PAP and breast exams, birth control and STD checkups. But, um, those aren't good gifts, either.

How do you even give one as a gift? Do you say, "Honeybunch, don't ask me how I knew about your crabs, but here, this is for you," or "Sweetie, before we go to that Christmas play about the birth of Jesus, let's use that gift card to stop a baby of our own."

What's next, little memberships cards you put on your keychain for discounts? Or a buy-one-get-one-free offer? I'm here to tell you that something has gone horribly wrong with communication if you're getting a Planned Parenthood gift certificate.

And if you're wondering what I want this year, I'm not that hard (or knocked) up for fancy things. A robe will do just fine. Just save the receipt. -- Elena Brown

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