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UM Bishop Appoints UM Pastor to Planned Parenthood to Advocate Abortion


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Planned Parenthood gets full-time chaplain

By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times staff reporter


The Rev. Monica Corsaro doesn't look like a stereotypical minister.

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Corsaro was recently appointed Planned Parenthood's chaplain for the state, making her the first full-time, statewide chaplain in the national organization.

As such, she will provide pastoral counseling to patients and staff, act as liaison with the religious community and lobby on issues of reproductive rights. Perhaps more importantly, she will play a pivotal role in the organization's public-relations battle against what its leaders say is a false perception that most religious organizations are opposed to Planned Parenthood.

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The portrayal of religion's position on women's reproductive health, family planning and the abortion issue has been "distorted because of the heated and very vocal nature of the real extreme anti-choice members of the clergy," said Robert Harkins, executive director of the state organization's network of regional affiliates.

Corsaro's appointment comes at a time when Planned Parenthood leaders say the Bush administration is trying to chip away at women's reproductive rights.

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After receiving a master's degree in divinity from the Iliff School of Theology at the University of Denver, she served as associate minister at Audubon Park United Methodist Church in Spokane, where she also chaired the local Planned Parenthood's clergy advisory committee. Most recently, she served as minister of community outreach at University Temple United Methodist Church in Seattle's University District.

In January, Methodist Bishop Elias Galvan appointed Corsaro to the Planned Parenthood chaplaincy. The church is generally considered friendly to the pro-choice position.

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"This is a minister who, from the get-go, agrees with Planned Parenthood's philosophy," said Genevieve Wood of the Family Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit foundation.

"We would encourage women to seek counsel from their own ministers, not just take Planned Parenthood's word for it."

The Family Research Council also takes issue with Planned Parenthood's characterization of having broad-based religious support.

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