According to the October 13 Daily Caller, Komen spokesman John Hammarley claims that only 20 of 122 of the foundation affiliates are responsible for the money sent to Planned Parenthood, and those funds are used only for treatment, education, and screening programs relating to breast cancer that happen to be affiliated with Planned Parenthood.
Pro-life advocates are still wary, however. Even though those funds are audited bi-annually, and Hammarley maintains that “The $7.5 million is less than one percent of the entire amount of community grant funding that affiliates around the country contribute,” those who oppose abortion contend it is the principle that counts, not the amount.
The Caller continued, “Dorinda C. Bordlee, Executive Director of the Bioethics Defense Fund, speculated to The Daily Caller that one of the main reasons for Komen’s support of Planned Parenthood is the fact that Komen’s founder, Nancy Brinker, was a supporter of the organization, acting as an advisory board member of Planned Parenthood’s North Texas affiliate."
In addition to the principle of the situation, the irony noted by pro-lifers is that both abortions and oral contraceptives increase the risk of breast cancer.
The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer has posted on its website several reports outlining the link between abortion and breast cancer, examining even the World Health Organization’s reports that oral contraceptives are carcinogenic.
Karen Malec, president and co-founder of the Coalition on Abortion/ Breast Cancer, told The Daily Caller, “Their gifts to Planned Parenthood are comparable to the American Lung Society giving funds to Brown and Williamson Company [an American tobacco company now merged with R. J. Reynolds] ... to screen for lung cancer.”
Eric Winer, M.D., the Komen Foundation's chief scientific advisor, refutes these claims in an open 2009 letter:
Another piece of misinformation being spread by many who criticize Komen for the Cure for its Planned Parenthood grants is that abortion causes breast cancer. Well-conducted research consistently fails to support this claim.... We agree with the bulk of scientific evidence — from the National Cancer Institute, Harvard, a rigorous study in Denmark and from Oxford University — that there is no conclusive link between breast cancer and induced abortion or miscarriage.
Life News.com, an independent agency devoted specifically to reporting news affecting the pro-life community, notes that another problem for pro-life advocates is that Planned Parenthood is reducing the number of breast cancer screenings while increasing its abortions. According to Planned Parenthood's 2008 annual report, its breast cancer services decreased by 4 percent and abortion procedures increased by 6 percent.
Notwithstanding the amounts of donations to Planned Parenthood, or whether the donations come directly from the Komen Foundation or through an affiliate, or even what factors increase breast cancer risks, pro-life advocates are likely to exercise caution when considering gifts to the Komen Foundation if any of those donations end up in the coffers of Planned Parenthood.