- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 9, 2010


While the noble mission of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation is to save lives and rid the world of breast cancer, there has been a great deal of concern recently over the foundation’s growing relationship with the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The multitude of Komen’s pro-life sponsors are questioning how Komen - a group dedicated to preserving life - could align philosophically and financially support Planned Parenthood (PP), a group that boasts of taking the lives of 342,008 children annually, according to its latest records.

Komen admits to donating more than $730,000 to Planned Parenthood in 2009 and approximately $3.3 million from 2004 to 2009. In reaction to this news, Komen has lost support from pro-life advocates and has received numerous letters questioning this partnership.

Komen has posted a letter responding to pro-life supporters’ concerns on its website. In it, Komen states that money donated to Planned Parenthood pays solely for breast cancer screening, education and health programs. It also assures supporters that Komen is closely monitoring the grants.

While it is true that Komen is financing breast-cancer-related activity, in choosing the nation’s largest abortion provider to act as the recipient of these funds, Komen is subsidizing PP’s overhead: equipment, salaries, etc., thereby freeing funds that can be used for abortion - which indisputably is Planned Parenthood’s main business.

Komen additionally states that Planned Parenthood is located in remote and low-income areas where other breast-cancer-screening opportunities are not readily available. However, Komen could develop mobile screening units and/or partner with other local health facilities that affirm life at all stages (diseased or otherwise). In doing so, Komen actually would provide a further service, beyond breast cancer education, by building the capacity of local organizations. This would stand in stark distinction from contributing to the already hefty profit Planned Parenthood takes in: $85 million, according to its latest annual report.

Komen further names two Catholic ethicists, Ron Hamel and Michael Panicola, who, it states, “examined the moral implications of our funding decision” and concluded that it is morally permissible for the church to be involved. This statement is confusing and inaccurate in that the ethicists in question do not officially represent the Catholic Church. Rather, they are merely issuing their personal opinions. The fact that they are Catholic gives them no standing to speak for the church itself.

Moreover, these men have represented a well-known organization that frequently has been incompatible with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, most recently regarding the question of abortion funding and health care.

Finally, there have been a number of studies recently (some conducted by abortion advocates) showing a strong connection between abortion and a propensity for breast cancer. While this topic is sometimes hotly debated, a group dedicated to ridding the world of breast cancer would be wise to take every necessary precaution, including erring on the side of caution, when creating financial and medical partnerships.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s tireless work and commitment to ending breast cancer should be applauded. But its decision to begin and remain in a financial relationship with Planned Parenthood at best lacks prudence and at worst advances the very cause it is fighting against.

Jeanne Monahan is director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council.

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