Saturday, February 4, 2012
This week, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s leading breast cancer charity, came under fire for its decision to defund America’s leading abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. Komen states it made the decision solely based on a new policy not to provide funding for organizations undergoing investigation. Planned Parenthood, no stranger to controversy, is being investigated for its practices and handling of taxpayer money.
Komen has a history of aiding and advancing women’s health since 1982, but that didn’t stop Planned Parenthood and others from publicly criticizing and questioning the motives of the organization that has willingly given to them over the years. This is the thanks they receive, apparently. Most logical people understand that a private charity has a right to do whatever it chooses with its funds. It seems unconscionable that after Komen provided grants to Planned Parenthood in the amount of about $700,000 annually, Planned Parenthood would take it to task for choosing—whatever the reasons are—not to donate at this time. The audacity and sense of entitlement are glaring.
Komen has since reversed its decision, and of course, Planned Parenthood praises the new decision. Isn’t it rather telling that Planned Parenthood accused Komen of denying funds based on supposed political pressure but then lauded Komen’s reversal—a decision which clearly appears to be a response to actual political pressure? Various Democrats publicly came out against Komen, even taking to the House floor to do so. So who exactly is playing politics here? Hopefully, this pressure and its ensuing reversal do not set a precedent for organizations or elected officials strong-arming private organizations.
As controversial as this entire situation has become, there is definitely a lesson to be learned here, and I want to highlight it. Planned Parenthood reportedly was the recipient of an outpouring of public support after Susan G. Komen for the Cure first announced its decision not to fund it. It didn’t take long at all for Planned Parenthood supporters to respond, as they made the decision to give from their own personal finances. This is precisely how these things ought to work. Private charities and willing individuals have every right to give to organizations such as Planned Parenthood. The allocation of federal funds, however, is a different matter entirely.
For years, many Americans have voiced disapproval of their dollars going to Planned Parenthood via the federal government. This is particularly a bone of contention now when America is broke and needs to rein in spending. Every federal dollar counts, and Planned Parenthood has just shown us that it has the means to raise its own money from individuals who choose to give to them, rather than receiving most of its multimillion dollar funding from the U.S. government. Even New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has gotten involved in the situation, pledging to donate and accusing Komen of basing the decision—the decision of how to spend its money—on politics. This is further evidence that there’s no lack of willing financial support. So then why should those whose consciences rail against giving to an organization dogged with too many questions—and too many abortions—be forced to give to Planned Parenthood through their tax dollars?
We all care about women’s health, and we long to see women receiving optimal care. Many are just not totally at peace with some of the practices Planned Parenthood employs and are, therefore, not at peace with giving money to it through federal funding. So where does that leave us? I do believe Planned Parenthood and its supporters--unintentionally, of course--have provided us a lesson on how things should be done.