The Komen Fiasco's Silver Lining
Editor's note: This is not today's only article on Komen and Planned Parenthood. In addition to our news report, you might also enjoy Albert Mohler's argument that there is "no neutral ground when it Comes to Planned Parenthood," Matthew Lee Anderson's examination of "The Politics of Breast Cancer," and Russell Moore's warning on "the wrong lessons to draw from the Komen-Planned Parenthood debacle."
When news broke that breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure was halting its partnerships with Planned Parenthood affiliates, abortion opponents cheered. The relationship had been a sticking point that limited donations from those who wanted to help fight breast cancer but didn't want to support Planned Parenthood, a $1 billion organization that performs more than 300,000 abortions a year.
Even though Komen grants to Planned Parenthood were relatively small, working out to $680,000 last year, its supporters were enraged. Planned Parenthood fans filled up social media sites with complaints against Komen's heresy. An unrelenting media and political blitz began. Within two days, Komen backtracked.
So what began as a victory in the fight against abortion ended in what seemed a particularly cruel defeat, a reminder of how much elite culture is aligned in defense of abortion and its largest provider. But there is a silver lining to the disaster, and not just for textbook writers looking for case studies in catastrophic public relations failures.
Now everyone knows that Komen funnels money to the abortion business. For years, pro-life activists had been attempting to alert Komen donors to its entanglement with Planned Parenthood. Progress had been made in recent years, with Komen acknowledging and attempting to downplay its association. But now, only those who don't watch the nightly news, read a newspaper, or have a Facebook account are oblivious to Komen's relationship with the abortion business. The media pushed the line that declining to fund Planned Parenthood is political, but they may be surprised to find out that funding Planned Parenthood is also viewed as political.
Planned Parenthood's lack of mammogram services has been exposed. In March 2011, Congress was debating budget cuts. Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards gave an interview where she claimed these cuts would hurt Planned Parenthood's ability to offer mammograms. Pro-life activist Lila Rose released a video documenting that Planned Parenthood facilities don't offer mammograms. While Planned Parenthood clinics do offer referrals to medical facilities that offer mammograms, Komen's initial grant policy revision indicated that such "pass-through facilities" are less effective than facilities that actually test and treat breast health. The Komen kerfuffle also reminded Americans that Planned Parenthood is the country's largest abortion provider. Planned Parenthood likes to present itself as a benevolent provider of women's health services, downplaying the 300,000-plus abortions it performs annually. Until the Komen media frenzy, many people probably believed Planned Parenthood did much more than offer prescriptions for mammograms.
Any pretense of media objectivity on the abortion issue has been destroyed. The week preceding Komen's announcement, abortion opponents who attended the annual March for Life Washington were ignored, as per usual. And while some in the mainstream media mentioned the Obama administration's mandate that Catholic and some other religious charities be forced to choose between serving the poor and violating deeply-held beliefs on abortion, birth control and sterilization, others didn't mention it, even after dozens of bishops addressed the issue.