Friday, February 3, 2012

Komen Caves To Right Wing, Cuts Off Planned Parenthood

Outrage against the breast cancer advocacy organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure continues following its decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood. Though Komen’s grants went toward breast cancer screenings, many for underprivileged women, and not for abortion services, right-wing groups criticized the support. After its decision, Komen offered the flimsy reason that it cannot support a group under investigation; Planned Parenthood, constantly under Republican attack, is being investigated by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). Yet John D. Raffaelli, Koman board member and Washington lobbyist, acknowledged that an investigation does not necessarily mean that the charges are justified. Regardless, Komen already indicated its direction by appointing a senior vice president who is hostile to abortion rights:

The organization’s longtime support of Planned Parenthood had already cost it some support from anti-abortion forces, Mr. Raffaelli said. But the board feared that charges that Komen supported organizations under federal investigation for financial improprieties could take a further and unacceptable toll on donations, he said. “People don’t understand that a Congressional investigation doesn’t necessarily mean a problem of substance,” Mr. Raffaelli said. “When people read about it in places like Texarkana, Tex., where I’m from, it sounds really bad.”

...Mr. Raffaelli disputed assertions that were widely circulated on the Web on Wednesday that the decision was made or influenced by Karen Handel, Komen’s new senior vice president for public policy, a Republican who ran for governor of Georgia in 2010. During that campaign, Ms. Handel wrote, “Since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.” Ms. Handel was hired to urge state governments to spend money on breast cancer screening, and having a Republican deliver that message could help in many states, Mr. Raffaelli said.

...Foes of abortion and Web sites critical of it have criticized the Komen foundation’s financing of Planned Parenthood for years. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis and several bishops in Ohio issued statements last year raising concerns about donating to the Komen foundation. In December, LifeWay Christian Resources, which is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, said it was recalling a pink Bible it was selling because a dollar per copy was going to the Komen foundation.

It is disheartening to witness this move by Komen, supposedly dedicated to women's health. Join the surge of support for Planned Parenthood by donating whatever you can.

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