A callous response from the Indiana Commission for Women

March 28, 2014

an update from Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter

Did You Receive a Callous Response from the Indiana Commission for Women?

On March 5, the state’s Indiana Commission for Women bestowed the “Torchbearer Award” on Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky’s CEO, Betty Cockrum. Ms. Cockrum oversees the destruction of more than 5,000 unborn lives each year as she manages Indiana’s largest abortion business.

The Torchbearer Award is a prestigious honor. That’s why we are outraged that Ms. Cockrum received the award. In fact, on March 19 we announced a petition to the Indiana Commission for Women, asking that Ms. Cockrum’s award be rescinded. Her receiving of the award is simply offensive and not representative of Hoosier values. (Click here to read and sign the petition.)

Since the petition launched, more than 675 concerned citizens have added their names, thus demanding the award be rescinded. Shockingly, the response that signers are receiving from the Executive Director of the commission is nothing short of callous.

The response upholds award winners, including Ms. Cockrum, as “outstanding” and having “shown courage and perseverance.” The commission counts Ms. Cockrum among the great women of Indiana. Furthermore, the response fails to acknowledge petition signers’ concerns. A mere, “we take your concerns seriously,” could have gone a long way. Don’t forget, the commission was instituted by your elected officials and it’s run with your taxdollars.

Clearly, the Council of Judges, past Torchbearer Award winners who selected Ms. Cockrum, doesn’t care that Ms. Cockrum’s organization dismembers and discards thousands of Hoosiers through abortion each year. Given that half of the unborn victims are likely female, there’s a distressing irony in the fact that Ms. Cockrum received an award from an agency that wants to advance opportunities for women. How did the unelected, unappointed and unaccountable judges who selected Ms. Cockrum fail to see a problem with this?

If you haven’t signed the petition to the Indiana Commission for Women yet, please do so here. Soon you will receive your own response from the Commission. But, if you just can’t wait, here is the reply in its entirety.

Thank you for your email. For the past ten years, the Indiana Commission for Women (ICW) has hosted the annual Torchbearer Awards Program to honor women who have shown courage and perseverance. The Torchbearer Award recipients are selected each year by a panel of past Torchbearer Award recipients. These women, referred to as the Council of Judges, represent diverse geographic regions and professional backgrounds and make their decision based on nominations received from the public.  Nominated women are scored based on several criteria and must receive a unanimous decision in order to be selected. This year we had the honor of selecting 14 outstanding women and we are proud of the Council of Judges and the ICW Commissioners for their work on the 10th Anniversary Torchbearer Awards program. We look forward to continuing to honor and support the great women of Indiana.

Kristin Garvey, Executive Director

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