Wednesday, 01 February 2012

Facing Pro-Life Pressure, Komen Cancer Fund Cuts Ties to Planned Parenthood

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Following months of high-profile pressure by pro-life groups concerned over its ties to the abortion industry, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, one of the nation’s largest breast cancer charities, announced that it was halting its long-time funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider. As reported by the New York Times, the long-anticipated move will cut funding to 19 of Planned Parenthood’s 83 franchises, which have received money from Komen since 2005.

Planned Parenthood claimed that the cuts will place at risk the low-income women who supposedly accessed the 19 clinics for breast cancer screening. “Anti-choice groups in America have repeatedly threatened the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for partnering with Planned Parenthood to provide these lifesaving cancer screenings,” complained a Planned Parenthood press release announcing the funding cut.

The abortion giant’s president, Cecil Richards, said that she was “alarmed and saddened” that Komen had “succumbed to political pressure.” She expressed her hope that the cancer charity would reconsider and “recommit to the partnership on which so many women count.”

“It’s hard to understand how an organization with whom we share a mission of saving women’s lives could have bowed to this kind of bullying,” Richards told the Associated Press. “It’s really hurtful.”

In explaining the funding cuts, Leslie Aun, a spokeswoman for Komen, indicated that the move was not directly tied to pro-life pressure. Instead, reported the AP, “Aun said the cutoff results from the charity’s newly adopted criteria barring grants to organizations which are under investigation by local, state, or federal authorities. According to Komen, this applies to Planned Parenthood because it’s the focus of an inquiry launched by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) seeking to determine whether public money was improperly spent on abortions.”

The concerns over funding to Planned Parenthood from such groups as Komen, explained pro-life observers, is that because the contributions are fungible, money supposedly given for breast cancer screening ends up indirectly (or even directly) benefiting the group’s real moneymaking enterprise — abortion. Additionally, critics of Planned Parenthood noted that with annual income in the neighborhood of $405 million (2008-2009 numbers), the nearly $700,000 Planned Parenthood received from Komen in 2011 amounts to little more than pocket change that the abortion provider could easily get elsewhere.

In a statement announcing its split with Planned Parenthood, Komen said: “While it is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees … we must continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the women we serve and most fully advance our mission.”

Aun insisted that the move in no way meant that Komen thought Planned Parenthood had done anything wrong. “We want to maintain a positive relationship with them,” she told AP. “We’re not making any judgment.”

Melinda Henneberger, one of the Washington Post’s resident feminists, who mans its “She the People“ blog, dutifully decried the loss of dollars to Planned Parenthood, but informed her readers that the abortion company “has reportedly already raised $250,000 on news of Komen’s decision. And it will likely end up recouping its losses quickly.”

While abortion activists such as Henneberger were busy expressing their anger and “sadness” over the small funding loss to their cause, pro-life leaders and organization applauded Komen for its sensible split with the nation’s premier killer of pre-born babies. The Alliance Defense Fund’s Steven Aden noted that “in a civilized society, we should protect innocent lives: victims of breast cancer and abortion alike. We applaud Komen for seeing the contradiction between its life-saving work and its relationship with an abortionist that has ended millions of lives.”

Bradley Mattes, executive director of Life Issues Institute, responded to Komen’s announcement by declaring that the “collective efforts of the pro-life movement have paid off. Our work to educate Komen donors to the reality that the organization has financially supported the nation’s largest chain of abortion mills has caused Komen to halt the financial hemorrhaging. Evidently, Komen had to choose between political ideology and financial viability. They made a good choice.”

Eric Scheidler of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League said that his group took part in the effort to convince Komen to cut ties with Planned Parenthood. “I know that hundreds, even thousands, of people reached out to Komen to request they stop giving to Planned Parenthood,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “That was constant over the years. Pro-life people object because Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion chain. Every dollar they take in facilitates their operations.”

And in a statement, Lila Rose of Live Action said that following “a slew of scandals at Planned Parenthood, and the opening of a Congressional investigation, Komen is wise to distance itself from the corrupt abortion giant.”

Over the past year, Live Action’s undercover probes into Planned Parenthood facilities revealed what Rose said was a false claim by the abortionist group that it provides mammograms to women. “In reality, our undercover investigation revealed that not a single Planned Parenthood clinic even has the equipment to do a mammogram,” Rose charged. “Komen realizes that their money to detect, prevent, and cure breast cancer is better spent elsewhere.”

Last October, Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, penned a column criticizing Komen’s connection to the abortion provider. “If Komen’s mission is to find a cure for breast cancer, why are they giving huge sums of money to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider?” she wrote. “…. Komen says the grants are used to fund breast exams and mammograms. However, numerous reports confirm that Planned Parenthood doesn’t do mammograms. What Planned Parenthood does do is abortion.”

Last December, as reported in The New American, the Southern Baptist Convention’s LifeWay publishers pulled a special Here’s Hope Breast Cancer Bible it had produced in cooperation with Komen after receiving a tidal wave of criticism from pro-life activists and concerned Christians. In a statement of apology for its “mistake,” the publisher explained: “When our leadership discovered the overwhelming concern that some of Komen’s affiliates were giving funds to Planned Parenthood, we began the arduous process of withdrawing this Bible from the market. Though we have assurances that Komen’s funds are used only for breast cancer screening and awareness, it is not in keeping with LifeWay’s core values to have even an indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood.”