Pro-Life Group Urges YMCA Not to Rent to Planned Parenthood

Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:04pm EDT
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( - A pro-life group is urging the YMCA to "keep the 'C' in YMCA" by refusing to rent its facilities to Planned Parenthood, an abortion provider.

The American Life League's STOPP International, including Pro-Life Wisconsin - an American Life League associate group - are among the latest organizations to protest the YMCA of Greater St. Paul, Minn., for its decision to open its doors to Planned Parenthood.

"It is appalling that the Young Men's Christian Association - an organization that openly trades on its professed Christian heritage - decided to rent its Camp St. Croix facility in Hudson, Wis., to the nation's single largest abortion provider," said Ed Szymkowiak, national director of STOPP International, in a statement Thursday.

The YMCA defended its decision by describing itself as an all-inclusive organization.

"The YMCA is a community service organization, is open to all, and does not discriminate," said a recent press release from the YMCA of Greater St. Paul.

But STOPP International challenged that statement, saying the YMCA would certainly not rent facilities to hate groups.

"If you take the YMCA's statement at face value, would the YMCA be willing to rent its facilities to neo-Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan?" asked Szymkowiak.

"Of course not," he said. "It's absurd to believe any organization like the YMCA would offer support to such extremists that have not respect for human life. Their anemic justification in this case is equally absurd."

STOPP International pointed to the YMCA's mission posted on its official website: "To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all."

A recent statement by the YMCA on the Planned Parenthood controversy said, "The YMCA has not and will not take an official stand on the issue of abortion," and that it's only "because of their opposition to an element of the broad Planned Parenthood agenda," that groups opposed to the move have asked that the contract be cancelled.

Szymkowiak disputed the YMCA's theory.

"First of all, we do not oppose an element of Planned Parenthood's agenda. We oppose everything for which Planned Parenthood stands. Planned Parenthood has aborted more than 3.2 million children since 1977," he said.

"The YMCA needs to realize that it cannot fulfill their mission to build the bodies, minds and souls of community members when it insists on working with an organization that is the antithesis of that very mission," Szymkowiak said.

"The pro-death mission of Planned Parenthood, built around a contraception and abortion mentality, kills children, injures women and destroys families," he concluded.

STOPP International plans to protest the YMCA's contract with the abortion provider in Hudson, Wisc., on Saturday.

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