Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Scandal of "The Cure"

Mitchell here, for the first time in a while.

Most of you probably know this already, but as we approach Mother’s Day it bears repeating.

Mother’s Day has, over the years, become a sort of unofficial celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness. With it, we’ve seen a proliferation of pink ribbons blossom across the landscape, the most prominent of which belong to the organization known as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, formerly the Susan G. Komen Foundation. And it's almost impossible to go anywhere at this time of the year without being assulted by the Komen campaign.

The Race for the Cure is probably the best known of the Komen activities, and if you haven't already been asked, it's likely that someone running in one of the Mother's Day races will be hitting you up for a contribution at some point in the next couple of weeks. But that's not all: retailers offer a percentage of their sales to Komen, Major League Baseball donates funds to Komen based on the number of home runs hit on Mother's Day, pink accessories appear in jewelry and clothing stores, each one carefully designed to allow the wearer to make a political statement about fighting breast cancer. The whole thing has become a cottage industry.

What none of them want to talk about, of course, is the dirty little secret - the relationship between Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood, the number-one provider of abortions in the United States.

According to Komen, their grants to Planned Parenthood are specifically for breast cancer testing. However, as anyone with experience in the charity world knows, organizations such as Planned Parenthood operate on a budget, which means that any money specified for one area (such as breast cancer testing) frees up money which can be used in other areas – and we all know what those areas are. Various sources put Komen’s contribution in grants to Planned Parenthood in 2003 alone at more than $475,000. That means $475,000 was freed up for some of Planned Parenthood’s “other” activities.

(And even if one were to accept Komen's explanation, it's a little harder to understand some of the other "relationships" into which local Komen chapters enter, such as the Denver afiliate's past funding for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community (GLBT) Center of Colorado.)

The Bioethics Defense Fund page offers an excellent synopsis of Komen’s relationship with the pro-abortion movement over the years. Among the highlights:

  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure awarded 72 grants to Planned Parenthood afflilates during the years 2000 through 2005.
  • Nancy Brinker, Komen Founder, was listed as an advisory board member in the 2002 annual report of Planned Parenthood of North Texas, the fifth largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in the nation.
  • Despite Komen's assertion that the grant money is for breast services only, Planned Parenthood’s own records show their breast services are declining while their abortion numbers are increasing
Unfortunately, it seems that you can't go many places without being assulted by the Komen campaign. Thankfully, not everyone is taken in by Komen’s campaign. For example, Curves, the women’s fitness franchise, stopped supporting Komen events because of their involvement with Planned Parenthood. In 2007, the Archdiocese of St. Louis adopted a policy of non-support because of Komen’s ties to Planned Parenthood. Pro-life groups have called supposedly pro-life Congressmen on the carpet for supporting Komen's activities.

What’s also interesting about this is that Komen, in supporting Planned Parenthood, completely ignores the ongoing examination of the relationship between abortion and breast cancer. While the National Cancer Institute, in a 2003 study, concluded that there was no relationship between the two, this has by no means been universally accepted. The outstanding pro-life organization American Life League thinks the issue is still in doubt; the Polycarp Research Institute feels likewise. Komen may not want to talk about it, but the jury's still out.

You know, there’s an old saying about how when you lie down with dogs, you get fleas. The fact is that nobody doing business with Planned Parenthood, no matter how good intentioned they might feel it is, escapes the taint of the evil that they do.

If a friend asks you to make a pledge for the Race for the Cure, tell them the history of Komen's association with Planned Parenthood. Most successful propaganda agencies depend on the work of useful idiots, and it's just possible your friend doesn't know about Komen's agenda. Be polite, but firm. They may not understand, but if you handle it right they'll probably respect you. They might even thank you.

If your favorite retailer dedicates a portion of their sales to support Komen, stop buying from them. But don't stop there - tell them why you're not buying from them. Retailers are just as susceptible to being fooled as individuals are. They also tend to get concerned when people stop buying their wares, especially when they find out why. And if they don't care about your concerns, tell them you don't care about their products. And that you'll tell your friends.

If you hear others discussing Komen, don't hesitate to point out the facts to them. I've just included a few of them here - a quick Google will give you more information than you could possibly ask for. Don't be surprised if they find what you have to say hard to believe, for the idea of an organization fighting breast cancer providing support to an abortion provider has no inherent logic to it. Maybe they'll listen to you and maybe they won't, but you can never go wrong standing up for the truth.

And that's the key to all this - standing up. Too many times we sit back and let others do all the standing, and they run right over us. Komen may not stand on the hilltops and shout the news of their association with Planned Parenthood, but they haven't made a secret of it either. And frankly I think there are a lot of good, decent people with their hearts in the right place who would be shocked and outraged to hear about it. You owe it to them to be a witness to the truth. Seek out the many breast cancer groups that don't give to Planned Parenthood, or other abortion providers, and support them. Let Komen know they can't play everyone for a fool. For God's sake, you can do no less.

It's ironic that Komen has chosen Mother’s Day as the focus of their activities; for, in supporting the work of Planned Parenthood, they are only seeing to it that fewer and fewer women will have reason to celebrate the day.


Cross-posted to Our Word and Welcome to It
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