Friday, February 03, 2012

Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood

By now, I'm sure most have heard the uproar over the Susan G. Komen Foundation pulling its funding of Planned Parenthood, specifically for breast cancer screenings.

In so doing, the Komen Foundation has taken an unending blast of vitriol and heat from the left, Planned Parenthood and its backers. At first glance, it does seem like a curious thing to do if the dollars being given were strictly being used for breast cancer screenings. These screenings save lives, and poor women typically can't afford to have one done at the doctor's office or clinic.

I also heard from a left-leaning friend and former radio colleague that the Komen Foundation doesn't fund research adequately, and for that reason she always held the Foundation in some question. While my friend and I no doubt disagree over many political issues—including abortion rights—I do respect her very much. We had fun working together in radio all those years ago, so I can't just dismiss what she says out of hand. If it's true that research funding is limited, I'd like to know the reasons for it. This has not been a huge area of personal research for me, although I have given to the Komen Foundation from time to time anonymously. I have had loved ones suffer and eventually die from metastatic breast cancer. To put it mildly, it is not a fun way to go. It's horrible.

The difficulty here lies with Planned Parenthood itself, in my view. It's the nation's largest provider of what they call "reproductive health services." Right-to Life groups and others say it's the nation's largest provider of abortions, and I've seen the debate on that go back and forth for years, with Planned Parenthood saying abortions are only a part of what they do. I'll leave the dispute over the percentage of abortions aside for this discussion. Personally, I am troubled by the dubious background of the organization, founded by eugenics proponent Margaret Sanger. Google eugenics if you are not familiar with the term. One could argue that the Planned Parenthood of today is not the same organization as founded by Sanger, but I wrestle with doubts on that one. When you consider Sanger's attitude toward people of color, and realize that abortion is rampant among women in that ethnic group, it is chilling to think that anyone might have a motivation to encourage abortions instead of giving birth to a live, healthy baby. Whether it's purely from a profit motive, a secretly-held prejudice, or even well-intentioned motive to "help" women in a crisis (misguided in my view), it still chills my blood.

Donations to Planned Parenthood have surged since this story broke, and we have to see this as a politically-driven issue being fanned largely by abortion-rights advocates. The Komen Foundation has the right to fund what it chooses to fund. I think both sides need to ask themselves a serious question. Does attacking each other accomplish the stated objective of helping women in need, especially when the attacks result in funding losses for an organization that does genuine good? What's more important? Abortion or saving the lives of living women from a terrible, deadly disease?

I think it's food for thought. I stand on the side of life. For everyone.

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