California lawmakers angry over Planned Parenthood Valentine condoms

Jocelyne ZABLIT
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State Senator Mike Morrell's office received condoms as part of a 'goody bag' from Planned Parenthood on Valentine's Day

State Senator Mike Morrell's office received condoms as part of a 'goody bag' from Planned Parenthood on Valentine's Day (AFP Photo/-)

Los Angeles (AFP) - Several conservative California lawmakers are up in arms over a "goody bag" they received from Planned Parenthood on Valentine's Day that included condoms and a message they deemed obscene and threatening.

"Returning to my desk from last weekend, I found a 'Valentine' Planned Parenthood distributed to our office," Republican State Senator Mike Morrell said in a statement sent to AFP.

"Among the items included in the bag were condoms in wrappers printed with the words 'Don't f*ck with us. Don't f*ck without us.'"

Morrell and other lawmakers said they felt the message on the pink condoms was not only vulgar but also intimidating.

"It is a veiled threat and a strong-arm tactic -- something I don't appreciate, particularly when it appears to also be directed at our staff," Morrell said.

"Communicating such an overtly crude and sexualized message is inappropriate in any workplace, including here at the Capitol."

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez also weighed in, posting a message on Facebook along with a photo of the gift.

"This is the 'goody bag' Planned Parenthood dropped off at my office," she wrote. "Stay classy PP. Stay classy."

Senator Shannon Grove expressed shock, saying in a message on Twitter: "Good thing I stopped a group of kids from grabbing this bag of candy in my office."

Apart from the condoms, the "goody bag" included chocolates and a card that read: "Roses are red, violets are blue, Planned Parenthood promotes safe sex, now your office can too!"

Not all lawmakers were offended with some saying they appreciated the gift.

"Valentine's day vibes from #PlannedParenthood," tweeted Democratic lawmaker Evan Low. "Thank you for the amazing work you do."

A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health services, including abortions, told AFP that the small packages were delivered to all legislative offices -- Democrats and Republicans -- and in no way were intended to intimidate.

"We used the day as an opportunity to highlight the importance of safe sex, something we think all members of the legislature can support, especially to help reduce the epidemic levels of STDs (sexually transmitted disease) in the state," said Jennifer Wonnacott.

"Planned Parenthood is proud to advocate and promote safe sex, and we will continue to highlight the importance of sexual and reproductive health care with all legislators, especially in light of federal attacks," she added.